FRANKFORT, Ky. (June 24, 2021) — Gov. Andy Beshear announced a new incentive plan today to pay as many as 15,000 Kentuckians on unemployment insurance a one-time $1,500 bonus to rejoin the workforce by July 30.
The Governor set aside $22.5 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds to pay for the program to incentivize more people to leave unemployment insurance and begin filling job vacancies throughout the commonwealth, to further ignite an economy that is beginning to lift off as Kentucky emerges from the pandemic with weekly job announcements and positive economic news.
“We want every Kentuckian working and participating as we sprint out of this pandemic with our economy booming,” Gov. Beshear said. “We wanted the right solution – not a red state or blue state solution – to thread this needle right to energize our thriving economy while looking out for those still trying to emerge from this once-in-a-lifetime pandemic who desperately need help. This is a step in the right direction for our people, our economy and our employers.”
“On behalf of Houchens Industries, its family of companies and the entire community, we applaud the Governor’s action taken today to incentivize employees to return to work,” said Spencer A. Coates, president of Houchens Industries Inc. in Bowling Green.
To qualify, an applicant must:
- Be a Kentucky resident;
- Be employed by a Kentucky business between June 24 and July 30, 2021; and
- Have an active unemployment insurance claim as of June 23, 2021.
Employers will be responsible for completing an online application verifying that employees accepted employment between June 24 and July 30, 2021. They must also verify that employees worked 120 hours in the four weeks following new employment.
A full outline of the criteria to qualify is available on the Back to Work Incentive website, teamkybacktowork.ky.gov. The application will be available beginning Aug. 1.
The first 15,000 people to successfully qualify will be approved for a $1,500 taxable incentive. The last day to file an application for the Team Kentucky Back to Work Incentive is Oct. 1, 2021.
The Public Protection Cabinet will administer the program and process applications.
The incentive plan is the latest effort from Gov. Beshear and his administration to continue the commonwealth’s economic momentum as the state builds back stronger following the effects of the pandemic.
Last week, Gov. Beshear announced Kentucky’s year-to-date private-sector new-location and expansion figures, which include over $2 billion in total planned investment and the creation of 4,000-plus full-time jobs across the coming years. Through May, Kentucky’s average incentivized hourly wage is $23.15 before benefits, a 4.7% increase over the previous year.
Last month, Moody’s Analytics published a positive economic outlook for Kentucky, noting mass vaccination as the driving force behind a sustained recovery in consumer services. The state’s recovery, Moody’s said, benefited from earlier reopening efforts and increased demand for manufactured goods over services. The report also found Kentucky’s manufacturing industry outperformed the nation’s since the national downturn last year.
Fitch Ratings last month improved the state’s financial outlook to stable, reflecting the commonwealth’s solid economic recovery. The state’s April sales tax receipts set an all-time monthly record at $486.5 million, as did vehicle usage tax receipts at over $64 million.
In March, Site Selection magazine’s annual Governor’s Cup rankings for 2020 positioned Kentucky atop the South Central region, and third nationally, for qualifying projects per capita. The commonwealth also placed seventh overall in total projects, the highest of any state with a population under 5 million. Site Selection also recently placed Kentucky in a tie for fifth in its 2021 Prosperity Cup rankings, positioning the state among the national leaders for business climate.