US NEWS

Which states are offering 'return to work' bonuses of up to $2,000?

As some states announce the removal of the $300 federal supplementary unemployment benefits, they are introducing a cash incentive to return to the workplace.

Which states are offering 'return to work' bonuses of up to $2,000?
FREDERIC J. BROWN AFP

Some states are offering residents a bonus of up to $2,000 for returning to work, coming as a number of Republican-led states announce they are ending federally-funded unemployment programmes.

An estimated 3.7 million people will be affected by the removal of the enhanced benefits which some business owners have blamed for a perceived labour shortage.

To further encourage unemployed Americans back to the workplace, a number of states are also introducing so-called ‘return to work’ bonuses, which offer a cash incentive for those who find employment.

Which states have introduced a ‘return to work’ bonus?

To date six states have already introduced the cash incentive for out-of-work Americans, with more believed to be considering implementing the measure. The amount on offer and the structure of the payments varies between states:

Montana – The Republican-held state was the first to introduce the ‘return to work’ bonus when state lawmakers passed the legislation in early May. Out-of-work residents will get a $1,200 cash incentive for completing four full weeks of paid work, but the state is removing the $300-per-week supplementary unemployment benefit.

New Hampshire and Oklahoma – The next two states to introduce the incentive were also Republican-controlled, and both also announced that they would be withdrawing from the enhanced unemployment benefits. Residents of New Hampshire and Oklahoma who return to work will receive bonuses worth $1,000 and $1,200 respectively.

Arizona – The most generous of the ‘back to work’ bonuses can be found in Arizona, where a maximum of $2,000 is on offer for jobless residents who complete 320 hours of full-time work. The state also offers $1,000 for those who complete 160 hours of part-time work.

Connecticut – The first Democratic state to provide a ‘back to work’ incentive was Connecticut, who will send a $1,000 payment to the first 10,000 residents classed as long-term unemployed who complete eight consecutive weeks of work before the end of 2021.

Colorado – The most recent state to authorise the incentive was Colorado, who gave $1,600 for unemployed people who returned to full-time work in May. The programme continues into June but the amount on offer has been lowered to $1,200, provided they complete eight full weeks of employment.

Which states will be next to introduce a ‘return to work’ bonus?

Although only six states have so far chosen to implement the incentive, other states are in the process of doing the same.

The North Carolina Senate has approved legislation which would provide up to $1,500 to unemployed residents who accept a full time job. The bill is still waiting to be passed by the state’s House of Representatives, after which point residents will have 30 days to collect the full $1,500. After that, they have an additional 30 days to find employment and pick up an $800 bonus.

On 1 June lawmakers in New York formally proposed legislation which would give unemployed residents $1,200 for completing four weeks of work, if passed. In Massachusetts Republican state senators introduced a bill that would provide $1,200 “sign-on bonuses,” which would be paid in three instalments over 12 months.