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Chamber News Release

Greater Rochester Chamber to Address Benefits Cliff as Key Advocacy Priority

February 26, 2024

Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce has identified the Benefits Cliff as a key advocacy priority to address in 2024. The Benefits Cliff occurs when workers, especially those from vulnerable populations, receive raises that push their salaries past a certain threshold, resulting in the loss of crucial social support programs. As a result, their Net Financial Resources (NFR) diminish, impacting their ability to achieve financial stability, pay off debts, save, and cover living expenses.

The Benefits Cliff perpetuates cycles of generational poverty by trapping individuals in low-income positions and hindering their ability to pursue career advancement opportunities. When employees must forego promotions or raises to maintain their benefits, they miss out on long-term career growth and personal development prospects. This worsens workforce challenges in Greater Rochester and nationwide, contributing to labor shortages across a variety of industries.

Building on the groundwork laid by leaders in our region, Greater Rochester Chamber aims to partner with community members, private sector businesses, and government partners to amplify awareness around this critical issue. As the lead for talent strategy within the ROC2025 coalition, Greater Rochester Chamber is committed to tackling the Benefits Cliff as a means of strengthening our workforce pipeline, ensuring organizations have the talent they need to move the needle, and ensuring job-seekers have pathways out of poverty and opportunities to advance their career and socio-economic status.

To kickstart this initiative, Greater Rochester Chamber is launching an awareness campaign across digital and social media channels including a new landing page on The work will be shaped through community engagements and will evolve as viable solutions emerge.

Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bob Duffy said, “The Benefits Cliff has perpetuated cycles of poverty within our community for far too long. We are committed to leveraging our role as the regional voice of business to elevate this conversation here in the Finger Lakes region and beyond. We look forward to working with and supporting the ongoing efforts of Mayor Evans, County Executive Bello, RMAPI, ABC, and other community partners to advance a solution that alleviates the burden on our federal and state governments, while giving people meaningful opportunities to succeed and thrive.”

In the coming weeks and months, Greater Rochester Chamber will reignite key conversations with relevant stakeholders who have been involved in advocacy around the Benefits Cliff, including Wegmans, who is running a pilot program for a solution. Organizations working to address this issue or wishing to contribute are encouraged to contact Greater Rochester Chamber.

This advocacy priority falls in line with Greater Rochester Chamber’s broader 2024 Advocacy Agenda, which identified Workforce Development and Economic Development as key focus areas.

Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce is actively seeking business and community input on this issue and encourages those wishing to collaborate to reach out. If you would like to share how you have been impacted by the Benefits Cliff please contact Marc Cohen at


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