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Little says Idaho will offer unemployed workers $1,500 in ‘bait’ to return to jobs

Coronavirus

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BOISE (Idaho Statesman) — Gov. Brad Little announced Friday that the state will offer $1,500 to Idahoans who return to work.

“A strong economic rebound cannot occur without workers returning to a job, and the new Return to Work cash bonuses incentivize our workforce to get back to work safely,” Little said in a statement handed to reporters before a news conference Thursday.

Up to $100 million in federal relief funds will be available to Idaho workers eligible for unemployment benefits during the coronavirus pandemic.

Little’s plan includes one-time cash bonuses of $1,500 for full-time workers and $750 for part-time workers that will be given them after they return to work.

The Idaho Workforce Development Council will discuss the plan next week, and information on eligibility and how to apply will be provided soon, Little said.

He said workers will not lose any unemployment compensation for which they have qualified, even if they haven’t yet been paid because of the state’s backlog of applications that have raised eligibility questions. That has left thousands of laid-off Idaho workers without income as bills mount.

“They’ll get both,” he said.

With temporary $600 weekly federal coronavirus-aid supplements coupled with traditional state unemployment compensation, many workers earn more on unemployment than they did before they were laid off, Little said.

“We’re putting this out as bait to keep the economy going,” Little said at the news conference.

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