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More details available on Return to Work bonuses

BOISE - Additional program details were made available Wednesday on the Idaho Return to Work bonuses, Idaho's approach to counteracting enhanced federal benefits that disincentivize workers returning to jobs.

"All Idaho businesses are now able to open their doors safely, and jobs are coming back. The Return to Work bonuses are based on a fundamental conservative principle - we do not want people on unemployment. We want people working. We're responding to the needs of businesses, strengthening our workforce and economic rebound, and saving taxpayer dollars in the long run," Governor Brad Little said.

President Donald Trump, White House officials, and Congressional Republicans are looking to Idaho's Return to Work bonuses for similar programs on the federal level.

Employers apply for the bonuses on behalf of their employees. Eligibility requirements and information on how to apply are available at https://rebound.idaho.gov/return-to-work-bonuses/.

Little also signed Executive Order 2020-12 Wednesday, establishing the authority for the administration of the bonuses.

More than 60-percent of Americans who are out of work due to the coronavirus pandemic earn more with enhanced unemployment benefits than their normal wages.

Idaho set aside $100 million in federal coronavirus relief funds to cover the bonuses. One-time cash bonuses of $1,500 for full-time work and $750 for part-time work and will be provided to the worker after return to the workplace. The funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis (based on date of return to work) for qualified applicants. Submissions start July 13 for workers who returned from May 1 through June 14. A second wave of applications will open on July 20.

The Idaho Workforce Development Council approved program details last week and the Governor's Coronavirus Financial Advisory Committee approved them at its meeting Wednesday.

"A strong economic rebound cannot occur without workers returning to a job, and the new Return to Work cash bonuses counteract the federal payouts and incentivize our workforce to get back to work safely," Little added.

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