As the state works to claw back hundreds of millions of dollars in overpaid unemployment benefits from the COVID-19 pandemic, House Democrats slipped a provision into their federal relief spending bill that would require the Baker administration to notify and make clear to recipients that they may qualify for a waiver from repayment.
The public awareness campaign spelled out in the House’s plan to spend American Rescue Plan Act funds falls short of the expansion of waivers sought by Rep. Joan Meschino and other advocates, but the Hull Democrat saw it as progress.
“I just took the inclusion of the workforce piece as real recognition that this is an issue and we need to be thoughtful about how we approach the waiver process, so I was actually really pleased,” Meschino said.
R.I. to help businesses find workers
Rhode Island plans to offer businesses struggling to find enough workers up to $5,000 to help them fill positions left vacant by the coronavirus pandemic, said Gov. Daniel McKee.
The Back to Business initiative will be funded with up to $4.5 million in federal coronavirus relief money. Businesses can use the money for sign-on bonuses for new hires, incentive payments for employees who recommend a successful new hire, and for other recruitment activities.
“Our administration has worked closely with the business community throughout the pandemic. We have listened to concerns from employers who are having trouble finding workers and believe the Back to Business initiative is an innovative approach to get Rhode Island back to work,” McKee said in a statement.
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