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Based on feedback from employers and job seekers, some requirements for the Maine’s “Back to Work” program are being modified. The $1,500 payment is being extended for the duration of the program through July 25.

The program will now also retroactively cover part-time workers who are working at least 20 hours a week for a single employer and are no longer receiving unemployment benefits. This is based on feedback from those who were working too many hours to be eligible for an unemployment benefit, but not enough hours to be considered full time. If working part-time, the grant amount would be $750, half of the full-time grant.

Commissioner of the Maine Department of Labor, Laura Fortman, said:

As awareness of the program increases, interest and participation from employers is gaining momentum… By extending the $1,500 grant through the end of the program, we hope that more employers are able to offer this payment to their newly hired employees.

The updated eligibility qualifications for the program are now as follows:

For the $1,500 grant, full-time new hires must:
-Have received unemployment benefits for the week ending May 29, 2021.
-Have started one full-time job (at least 35 hours per week) in Maine between June 15 and July 25, 2021.
-Be employed for at least eight weeks, at an hourly wage of less than $25.
-Not receive unemployment benefits during their period of employment.

For the $750 grant, part-time new hires must:
-Have received unemployment benefits for the week ending May 29, 2021.
-Have started one part-time job (at least 20 hours per week) in Maine between June 15 and July 25, 2021.
-Be employed for at least eight weeks, at an hourly wage of less than $25.
-Not receive any unemployment benefits during their period of employment.

More information on the “Back to Work” program, and the application for employers, can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/covid19/back-to-work-grants

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