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Idaho will stop participating in pandemic unemployment programs

Idaho News 6

Gov. Brad Little announced Tuesday Idaho will stop participating in three federal pandemic unemployment compensation programs. A news release from The governor’s office says the decision is to help employers get people back on the job.

“Employers are telling me one of the big reasons they cannot recruit and retain some workers is because those employees are receiving more on unemployment than they would while working. We see ‘Help Wanted’ signs everywhere. Idaho has the strongest economy in the nation, and we are a top 10 state for best employment, but there is more we can do. It’s time to get back to work,” said Little. “My decision is based on a fundamental conservative principle – we do not want people on unemployment. We want people working. A strong economy cannot exist without workers returning to a job.”

[‘More competition’: Some employers struggle to fill jobs as the economy roars back to life]

What will end

On June 19, the following federal programs will end in the state:

  • Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation – provides an additional $300 weekly payment
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance – benefits those who would not usually qualify for unemployment, such as the self-employed and others
  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation – extends benefits once regular benefits have been exhausted

The release says Idaho was one of three states that chose to not participate in the Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation, an additional federal program that provided a $100 benefit to certain people.

Idaho recently reinstated the pre-pandemic work search requirements for unemployment insurance claimants. The work search requirement means those who are out of work and getting benefits must look for full-time employment. The requirement was lifted during the COVID-19 pandemic but was reinstated in April, according to the release.

Last year, Idaho used Back to Work incentives, which counteracted the federal payouts and incentivized the workforce to get back to work safely. The governor’s office says the federal government is now looking at the program as a way to help businesses now that jobs are coming back.

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