A budget amendment offered by Sen. Bill Wielechowski would pay Alaskans to go back to work.
The budget intent language says, “It is the intent of the legislature that these funds be used to provide a one-time bonus of $1,200 for a resident of this state with an unemployment insurance claim as of May 19, 2021, who later accepts full-time employment of at least 30 hours a week in any industry in the state or $600 for a resident of this state with an unemployment insurance claim as of May 19, 2021, who later accepts part-time employment of at least 20 hours a week, but not more than 30 hours a week, in any industry in the state. It is the intent of the legislature that a resident may not be eligible for more than one bonus payment. It is the intent of the legislature that the bonus payments will be made upon completion of the resident’s fourth full week of employment.”
The budget appropriation item is for $10 million. The budget is now in Conference Committee, a special committee set up to iron out differences between the House and Senate versions of the budget. Evidently the measure has bipartisan support, since so many Alaskans simply won’t work.
The federal unemployment bonus payments ended May 31. Employers across the state say that the bonus payments were so generous and long-lasting that they can’t find anyone willing to work.