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Maine to Start Paying Back to Work Bonus

Olivia Gray waits for customers at the Rose Eden and Lobster restaurant on July 08, 2019 in Bar Harbor, Maine. Maine’s lobsters are the most valuable commercial fishery in the state and the largest lobster fishery in the United States. Studies indicate that since 1982, temperatures in the Gulf of …
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Maine’s Democrat Gov. Janet Mills announced the “Back To Work” program Monday, which will give people who join the workforce a one-time payment, administered by the state’s Department of Labor and the Department of Economic and Community Development.

The state’s program will be providing the employers the funds to give a “one-time $1,500 payment for eligible workers who start jobs between June 15 and June 30.” People who start a job in July will be receiving “a $1,000 payment for eligible workers” to help “encourage unemployed Maine people to return to the workforce.”

As the job market in Maine continues to recover from the Chinese coronavirus pandemic, the one-time payments attempt to entice the jobless Mainers to work. According to Mills, the payments are on a first-come, first-serve basis which “will utilize $10 million in federal funding and could reach up to 7,500 Maine people.”

“We have worked hard over the last fifteen months to get the pandemic under control so that it’s safe for everyone to return to work. Now COVID cases are down, vaccines are widely available, and jobs are plentiful,” Mills wrote in a press release.

Mills continued, “Employers across the state are looking to staff up, which means there are opportunities for everyone to work, earn a living and contribute to our state’s economic recovery.”

“With this new program, we are providing another tool to accelerate peoples’ transition back into the workforce, protecting their health and their long-term financial stability,” the governor said.

To be eligible, the employee must have been receiving “unemployment compensation for the week ending May 29,” in addition to having accepted a full-time job “that pays less than $25 per hour and remain in the job for a period of at least eight consecutive weeks” and can not of received “unemployment compensation during the eight week period of employment.”

Additionally, Arizona, ColoradoMontana, New Hampshire, and Oklahoma have also announced they will have some type of back to work program. These states have offered anywhere between $500 and $2,000 to return to work.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) said, “In Arizona, we’re going to use federal money to encourage people to work instead of paying people not to work,” when referring to this type of program.

Colorado Department of Labor and Employment Executive Director Joe Barela, when announcing their program, said, “This won’t just help Coloradans, it’s going to help businesses to have a productive workforce, ready to power our economy and comeback.”


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