A so-called "Get Back To Work Bonus" is being debated at the Massachusetts State House.
DAVID WADE: Get a job and get a bonus, that is part of a proposal here in the state to get people to go back to work. Other states are already trying it.
LISA HUGHES: Under the plan, the longer you're on the job, the more money you get. WBZ's Paula Ebben joins us live in studio now.
And Paula, this is not an insignificant amount of money.
PAULA EBBEN: No, Lisa and David. In this proposal that's being debated by state lawmakers right now, anyone who's currently collecting unemployment benefits, who gets a job and keeps it, will get $1,200. It would use funds from the American Rescue Plan to pay people $400 for securing a job, another $400 after six months of employment, and then a final $400 after a full year of work.
Several other states, including Connecticut and New Hampshire, have announced similar plans. Local legislators in favor of the bonuses hope this will be enough incentive to get people back into the workforce.
RYAN FATTMAN: We want not only to incentivize people to work, but we want to keep them employed. We don't want putting more of a burden on the unemployment trust fund, which businesses are just getting whacked with fees on right now after a year of being told that, you know, their workers had to be laid off and couldn't go to work. So what we're trying to do is get people off unemployment at $1,100 a week, incentivize it with the $1,200 bonus that's paid out over three payments.
PAULA EBBEN: Now, the unemployment rate here in Massachusetts is at 6.5%, which is slightly above the national average. In April, there were a record 200,000 job listings in the state. On June 15, the state will once again, Lisa and David, require people filing for unemployment to prove they're looking for work.