The state of Connecticut will give $1,000 to people who have been without a job for at least two months and secure employment.
“I want work to pay. I want people to have a real incentive when they go back to work,” Gov. Ned Lamont, a Democrat, told a press conference this week.
“You see the big athletes get a signing bonus. Why don’t you get a signing bonus as well?” he added.
Approximately 65,000 job openings exist currently in the state, which had an unemployment rate of 8.3 percent in March, the latest numbers officials have released.
The job openings and a decline in the percentage of the working-age population that are looking for jobs prompted the program, which will cost an estimated $10 million.
Applicants must have been without a job for at least eight weeks and must keep their new job for at least two months to get the bonus.
The program starts on May 24 and will give money to 10,000 people.
Applicants can sign up on the state Department of Labor website once they find a job.
The funding is coming from a federal stimulus pool.
“I’m doing everything I can to get people off of unemployment,” Lamont said, adding that the state will probably save money in the long-run by paying fewer people unemployment benefits.
About half of U.S. states have stopped giving federal funds to the unemployed in recent weeks. Congress approved additional unemployment aid throughout the pandemic, with the latest boost part of the Democrat-passed and President Joe Biden-signed package in February.
The governors of Indiana, Texas, and Oklahoma announced on Monday that they would halt the supplemental aid as they attempt to drive up the number of people looking for jobs.
Employers have said it is difficult to find workers because of how much money the unemployed get from state and federal aid.
Lamont did not think about joining the other governors. “It ends by itself in about four months,” he told reporters, adding that there still a lot of people “really scared about getting back to work” because of COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.
The state will on June 1 start requiring people who get unemployment aid to look for jobs.
Connecticut House Republican Leader Vincent Candelora said the new program does not make sense.
“Persuading people to give up one government benefit with promise of another one is a little like a dog chasing its tail. By gleefully proposing this bribe to work program the governor has not only ignored the role that enhanced unemployment benefits have played in employers’ inability to fill vacancies, but also the long-term economic impact of relying on what seems like a never-ending supply of federal money to fix our problems,” he said in a statement, calling on Lamont to halt the supplemental federal aid.