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Final numbers for Montana's "Return to Work" bonus program released

Montana Department of Labor and Industry
Posted at 9:34 AM, Feb 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-03 11:34:20-05

HELENA - The Montana Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) is detailing the final numbers from last year's Return To Work Bonus Program.

The program was part of a two-prong approach to incentivize people to return to the workforce that included the state opting out of additional federal pandemic unemployment benefits.

The Montana Department Of Labor's Final report on the state's Return to Work Bonus Program says the program paid out more than 3,000 bonuses totaling $3.6 million.

The program — which began in May of 2021 — was an initiative to get people in Montana back to work.

People receiving unemployment benefits as of May 4 could apply for a $1,200 incentive payment if they found a job and stayed with an employer for four weeks.

The state estimated that around 22,000 people were eligible for a bonus and by the end of the program, about 28% of those eligible had applied — about 6,100 people with just under 50% being approved.

DLI reported that most of the applications that were rejected were because the individual was ineligible or because they failed to verify re-employment.

Of the people who secured work and were paid a bonus, 14.5% found jobs in office support and administration followed by food service jobs at 14.3%.

DLI also said data indicated that those who took advantage of the program found jobs that paid better than their previous employment.

DLI allocated $15 million for the Return to Work Bonus Program.

The remaining $11.3 million will be reallocated to future American Rescue Plan Act initiatives in the state.