Reopening America bill proposes return to work bonuses

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) introduced the Reopening America by Supporting Workers and Businesses Act of 2020 today. Of passed. the bill is designed to help businesses rebuild their workforce quickly by turning unemployment benefits into a back-to-work bonus.

It is also hoped the bonus incentive will hasten the economic recovery.

Upon introduction of the legislation, Rep. Brady released the following statement:

Rep. Kevin Brady

“For us to rebuild our economy, we must make sure Americans can get back to work in a safe, healthy environment. Through a Return to Work Bonus – which would allow workers to keep up to two weeks of unemployment benefits if they accept a job offer – we can make sure these temporary job losses don’t turn into permanent ones.”

The expansion of benefits has presented a challenge for businesses trying to recall workers, especially employers in the Paycheck Protection Program under the CARES Act. Concerns have been raised that the additional $600/week in benefits could mean some workers receive more on unemployment than their paycheck, creating a disincentive to work. As more businesses re-open across the country, passage of this bill would mean employers would not have to compete with enriched unemployment benefits to bring workers back.

The bill includes:

  • Time limited back-to-work bonuses: Make work pay by allowing workers to keep up to two weeks of the supplemental federal unemployment benefits after accepting a job, comparable to a $1,200 hiring bonus. The bonus would be available to claimants beginning a week after the date of enactment and end July 31, 2020.
  • Return to work reporting: Strengthen program integrity by ensuring employers can report job refusals and that states provide clear notice to unemployment claimants about return to work obligations and good cause exceptions.

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