Bipartisan Meijer bill would incentivize Americans to return to work

U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer (R-MI) on June 17 introduced legislation that would provide a newly employed worker allowance designed to incentivize Americans to return to work.

“While the end of the pandemic is in sight and life is steadily getting back to normal for many people, our country is experiencing a serious workforce crisis that is severely hindering what could otherwise be a strong rebound from COVID-19 and the challenges it presented,” said Rep. Meijer. “I hear from employers across west Michigan nearly every day about the labor supply problem that is forcing businesses to either reduce hours or close because they can’t find willing employees.” 

Rep. Meijer joined bill sponsor U.S. Rep Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ) to propose the bipartisan Strengthening Unemployment Programs to Provide Opportunities for Recovery and Training (SUPPORT) for New Workers Act, H.R. 4015.

“The Biden administration’s enhanced federal unemployment benefits incentivize Americans to stay home rather than get back to work,” Rep. Meijer said. “I am proud to introduce the bipartisan SUPPORT for New Workers Act to create the Newly Employed Worker Allowance that would provide new employees with weekly payments totaling 60 percent of their previous $300 per week Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation benefits.”

The congressman added that lawmakers must tailor the administration’s “expansive unemployment benefits” while encouraging Americans to return to work.

“If we don’t take action now, our economy will continue to remain crippled by our labor shortages,” he said.

If approved, H.R. 4015 would create the Newly Employed Worker Allowance, which would provide individuals who have become employed after previously receiving unemployment insurance with weekly payments of $180 (60 percent of their previous $300 per week Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation benefit) from the time they become employed until the expiration of the federal unemployment benefit on Sept. 6, according to a bill summary provided by Rep. Meijer’s office.

Additionally, H.R. 4015 would require individuals who receive payments but then quit their job voluntarily within six weeks for non-COVID-19 related reasons to pay back their received payments as a condition of becoming eligible for a state or federal unemployment program, the summary says.

The bill is supported by the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce.