In an effort to address the labor shortage in the US, some states are opting out of the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation Program (FPUC) ahead of the September 6, 2021 expiration date. Even as states remove other obstacles to returning to normal, many employers are finding that they are unable to resume normal operations because they are unable to fill the open positions that they have. The State Workforce Agencies are listening to employers and are adopting a multi-pronged approach to filling these much needed jobs. The states are:
- Reinstating Work Search Requirements
- Urging employers to report any Job Refusals
- Some states are opting out of the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program early to remove what some believe is a disincentive to return to work
- State are even exploring offering "Return to Work Incentives"
In the recent weeks, we have seen a number of states announcing that they will end their participation in the FPUC program as they believe that the benefits received under this program can be greater than what an individual would earn working full time and may be a disincentive to returning to work. The programs that are being withdrawn from include:
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
- Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
- Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)
- Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC)
- Emergency Unemployment Relief for Governmental Entities and Nonprofit Organizations
- Temporary Federal Funding of the First Week of Compensable Regular Unemployment for States with No Waiting Week
Additional Return to Work Incentives
In a few states, there may be additional incentives for claimants to return to work. As states withdraw from the FPUC program and/or enact legislation to offer return to work incentives, we will update the information on the chart below as it becomes available.
|State||Work Search Required as of Date||FPUC Benefit Expiration Date||Return to Work Incentives|
|AZ||5/23/2021||7/10/2021||One-time bonus of $2,000 for full-time employment ($1,000 for part-time) for people who leave the unemployment program and work at least 10 weeks at a new job. It will be offered on a first-come basis. The state will also provide three months of child care assistance for people on unemployment who have children and who return to the workforce.|
|CT||5/30/2021||A one-time $1,000 incentive will be paid to workers who:
The program is being administered by the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services. In the coming days, the department will create a form on its website for individuals to apply. The first applications will be accepted eight weeks from the start date of the program. Workers will be eligible to receive only one incentive payment.
(The Florida AFL-CIO petitioned Governor Ron DeSantis to reverse his decision to stop the $300 weekly federal unemployment supplement. If the Governor does not, the union said it would consider legal action against DeSantis.)
|ID||4/25/2021||6/19/2021||Expired -Applications closed 8/14/2020 $250-1500|
|IN||6/1/2021||Reinstated by Court Order. Indiana Attorney General has appealed but no hearing date has been set (Was 6/19/2021)|
(Judge Lawrence P. Fletcher-Hill of the Circuit Court for Baltimore issued a preliminary injunction Tuesday ordering that immediate action be taken to ensure Maryland residents continue to receive "any and all" expanded unemployment benefits available to them through federal programs.)
(A MO Judge refused to reinstate benefits on August 31, 2021 saying the court “would not substitute its judgment” for that of the governor.)
|MT||6/27/2021||6/27/2021||$1,200 payments to individuals receiving unemployment benefits as of May 4, 2021, who subsequently accept employment and complete at least four paid weeks of work. Individuals eligible for the bonus will be contacted by the Department of Labor and Industry and informed of their eligibility, as well as more information about how to ensure they receive the payment after they complete four weeks of employment.|
|NH||5/23/2021||6/19/2021||Starting 5/25/2021, unemployed workers who find full-time jobs will get $1,000 bonuses after completing eight weeks of work, and part-time workers will get $500 until the $10 million fund is depleted. The stipends will be available for those earning $25 or less per hour.|
(A Cleveland-based law firm filed a lawsuit, which aims to force Gov. Mike DeWine to rescind a decision to terminate the state's participation in the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) programs.)
Reinstated August 6, 2021 by Court Order. OESC appealed to the State Supreme Court and are currently awaiting a Ruling.
Initially ended 6/26/2021
|A $1,200 return-to-work incentive is for claimants currently receiving PUA, PEUC or UI between May 2 through May 15, and to have completed six consecutive weeks of employment of 32 hours a week or more with the same employer. The time frame for eligibility for the incentive starts May 24 and will be ongoing through Sept. 4. Claimants can begin uploading their information along with six weeks of pay stubs starting June 28. Payments will begin dispersing mid-July, and the incentive is limited to the first 20,000 approved applicants.|
|RI||5/23/2021||Pending Legislation - Provides 13 weeks of benefits to persons returning to work of $150 per week prorated plus additional compensation up to $1,950 prorated with benefits expiring on January 1, 2022.|
|SD||8/1/2020 unless claimant is on temporary layoff with a return to work date||6/26/2021|
(Class Action lawsuit has been filed however, Gov. Lee is not backing down from his decision to discontinue these benefits)
(More than 30,000 people are suing Texas Governor Greg Abbott over his early cessation of $300-per-week supplemental federal unemployment payments for state residents during the pandemic.
The groups also filed a temporary restraining order to postpone the halt in benefits while their suit was underway, but a judge rejected it on 6/25 while also remarking that he had concerns regarding the group’s standing to sue.)
|Thomas & Company - 07/01/2021|
(1) Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), and Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) will continue for the time being and are set to expire on September 6, 2021.
(2) As Florida opted out of the FPUC program, the U.S. DOL is requiring that Florida end its participation in the Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) effective June 26, 2021. The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) will continue for the time being and are set to expire on September 6, 2021.