Gianforte pulls Montana out of COVID federal unemployment programs, touts 'return to work' bonuses

Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte ended his state’s participation in federal COVID-19 unemployment programs and announced the start of a new state program to give people “Return to Work” bonuses.

Gianforte announced the move to pull his state out of federal pandemic-related unemployment assistance programs and returning to the “pre-pandemic” unemployment eligibility requirements by the end of June in a press release Tuesday.

“Montana is open for business again, but I hear from too many employers throughout our state who can’t find workers,” Gianforte said in a press release. “Nearly every sector in our economy faces a labor shortage.”

“Incentives matter, and the vast expansion of federal unemployment benefits is now doing more harm than good,” the governor continued. “We need to incentivize Montanans to reenter the workforce.”

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“Our return-to-work bonus and the return to pre-pandemic unemployment programs will help get more Montanans back to work,” he added.

The Montana governor also shared the announcement on Twitter, repeating his warning that Montana is facing a labor shortage.

According to the governor’s press release, the “Return to Work” bonus is a $1,200 payment to Montanans receiving unemployment benefits as of Tuesday.

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