Brady, Estes unveil bill designed to jumpstart workers’ return to jobs

To help hasten the nation’s economic recovery, U.S. Reps. Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Ron Estes (R-KS) on June 1 introduced the Reopening America by Supporting Workers and Businesses Act of 2020, which would help businesses quickly rebuild their workforce by turning unemployment benefits into a back-to-work bonus.

“For us to rebuild our economy, we must make sure Americans can get back to work in a safe, healthy environment,” Rep. Brady said on Monday. “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.”

“With so many businesses reopening in Kansas and throughout the country, it’s critical that employees are there to fill the job openings and restart our economy,” said Rep. Estes, who cosponsored the bill. “We need to move past the devastating effects of COVID-19 and temporary relief to robust growth and permanent solutions.”

The bill includes time-limited back-to-work bonuses that would allow 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, according to a bill summary provided by the lawmakers.

Additionally, the proposal includes return-to-work reporting, which would ensure employers can report job refusals and that states provide clear notice to unemployment claimants about return-to-work obligations and good cause exceptions.

Relief for non-profits also would be included in the bill, which would clarify that non-profits do not have to pay the full amount and wait for reimbursement, according to the bill summary. Instead, states could reduce the amount owed up-front.

“We need these workers,” Rep. Brady said. “Unless we can reconnect these workers with these Main Street businesses soon, that business may no longer be there. This proposal is an important part in preventing a prolonged recession.”