Entrepreneurs Heavily Back Tougher Penalties for Unemployment Fraud

In recent years, the unemployment rate has been extremely high in comparison with historical norms, and only recently began to reach pre-recession levels thanks to ongoing economic improvement. However, many small business owners are likely also concerned about the risk of fraud within that system, given what they pay into it, and want to see more done to stamp out that type of crime.

In fact, many entrepreneurs think there should be much stiffer penalties for committing unemployment insurance fraud, according to a survey of small business owners in Oklahoma from the National Federation of Independent Business. Further, nearly 19 in 20 say that this type of crime should carry similar sentences to when people are caught committing fraud for workers’ compensation.

“Unlike most business groups, NFIB bases its public-policy positions solely on the input of its members, and our Member Ballot is a critical part of that process,” said Jerrod Shouse, state director of the NFIB in Oklahoma. “When we asked about increasing the penalty for unemployment fraud, the answer from our members was loud and clear. We simply can’t afford for a handful of individuals to cheat the system.”

Owners oppose other changes
Meanwhile, there has been at least some legislative push at the state level across the country to prevent companies of all sizes from asking people about their criminal history until they get relatively close to obtaining a job, the report said. And while privacy concerns might still linger, nearly 89 percent of respondents say they oppose that type of legislation, while only 5 percent support it. This is based largely upon the fact that restarting an interview process could be rather costly for smaller firms in particular, in terms of both man-hours and actual expenses.

Finally, more than 3 in 4 entrepreneurs polled also believe that Congress should do more to pass an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would mandate a balanced federal budget, the report said. Only 5.5 percent were opposed to the idea.

Entrepreneurs who want to improve their own standings while these issues are being worked out by lawmakers may want to consider the benefits of finding ways to cut their costs. That could include seeking out more affordable small business insurance, such as policies for errors and omissions insurance, as a means of saving thousands of dollars per year.