Which States Are Offering Return-to-Work Bonuses?

As vaccination rates increase and the U.S. economy rebounds, many employers are struggling to fill vacancies. To encourage Americans to return to work, some states have begun providing return-to-work bonuses to unemployment insurance beneficiaries who leave unemployment rolls and reenter the workforce.

Here, we show you which states are offering return-to-work bonuses, and under which conditions. Note that some of the states offering return-to-work incentives are withdrawing from federal pandemic unemployment programs ahead of their expiration on September 6, 2021, and replacing unemployment benefits with one-time bonuses for labor market reentrants who meet certain conditions. Others are continuing to pay enhanced unemployment benefits but rewarding those who exit the programs.  


ZipRecruiter has been updating information related to unemployment throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. For details on unemployment benefits in your state, click here. To find out when the $300 federal unemployment supplement will end in your state, click here or read the information below. For information on work search requirements in your state, click here.


Details are up-to-date as of publication on July 3, 2021. Updates will be made periodically.

States Providing Return-To-Work Bonuses

State Governor Bonus/Incentive Who Is Eligible? Date $300 Federal Benefits End
Alabama Kay Ivey (R) 6/19/21
Alaska Mike Dunleavy (R) 6/19/21
Arizona Doug Ducey (R) Arizona Back To Work Plan

$2,000 full-time; $1,000 part-time
Individuals collecting unemployment benefits as of 5/13/21, who find work for 10 weeks and earn up to $25/hour or $52,000. Work must begin by 9/6/21. 7/10/21
Arkansas Asa Hutchinson (R) 6/26/21
California Gavin Newsome (D) 9/6/21
Colorado Jared Polis (D) Colorado Jumpstart Incentive

$1,600 for beginning work in May; $1,200 for beginning work in June
Individuals who received unemployment benefits between 3/28/21 and 5/16/21 and find full-time work for a minimum of eight weeks. 9/6/21
Connecticut Ned Lamont (D) Back To Work CT Program

$1,000
Individuals who filed an unemployment claim for the week immediately prior to 5/30/21 and work full-time for 8 weeks prior to 12/31/21. Open to first 10,000 people. 9/6/21
Delaware John Carney (D) 9/6/21
District of Columbia 9/6/21
Florida Ron DeSantis (R)  –  – 6/26/21
Georgia Brian Kemp (R)  –  – 6/26/21
Hawaii David Ige (D) 9/6/21
Idaho Brad Little (R)  –  – 6/19/21
Illinois J. B. Pritzker (D) 9/6/21
Indiana Eric Holcomb (R)  –  –  TBD
Iowa Kim Reynolds (R)  –  – 6/12/21
Kansas Laura Kelly (D) 9/6/21
Kentucky Andy Beshear (D) Back To Work Incentive 

$1,500
Individuals who were collecting unemployment as of 6/23/21 and complete at least 120 hours of work between 6/24/21 and 7/30/21. Incentive will be paid to the first 15,000 people who qualify. 9/6/21
Louisiana John Bel Edwards (D) 7/31/21
Maine Janey Mills (D) Back To Work Grant Program

$1,500 for full-time; $750 for part-time 
Open to individuals who received unemployment benefits the week ending 5/29/21, accept a full-time or part-time (20 hrs or more) job that pays less than $25/hour, and remain in the job for at least eight consecutive weeks. The program begins 6/15/21 and will accept applications through 7/25/21. 9/6/21
Maryland Larry Hogan (R) TBD
Massachusetts Charlie Baker (R) 9/6/21
Michigan Gretchen Whitmer (D) 9/6/21
Minnesota Tim Walz (D) 9/6/21
Mississippi Tate Reeves (R) 6/12/21
Missouri Mike Parson (R) 6/12/21
Montana Greg Gianforte (R) Return-to-Work Bonus initiative

$1,200
Individuals collecting unemployment insurance as of 5/1/21 who then complete 4 weeks of paid work. 6/27/21
Nebraska Pete Ricketts (R) 6/19/21
Nevada Steve Sisolak (D) 9/6/21
New Hampshire Chris Sununu (R) Summer Stipend Program

$1,000 full-time; $500 part-time
Individuals receiving unemployment benefits as of 5/18/21 who return to work for eight weeks at a job that pays $25/hour or less. First come, first served beginning on  5/18/21, out of a $10M fund. 6/19/21
New Jersey 9/6/21
New Mexico 9/6/21
New York 9/6/21
North Carolina 9/6/21
North Dakota Doug Burgum (R) 6/19/21
Ohio Mike DeWine (R) 6/26/21
Oklahoma Kevin Stitt (R) Return to Work Incentive

$1,200
Incentives will be paid to the first 20,000 individuals receiving unemployment benefits as of 5/15/21, who work 32 hours a week or more for 6 weeks with the same employer. The program will run through 9/4/21. 6/26/21
Oregon Kate Brown (D) 9/6/21
Pennsylvania Tom Wolf (D) 9/6/21
Rhode Island Daniel McKee (D) 9/6/21
South Carolina Henry McMaster (R) 6/30/21
South Dakota Kristi Noem (R) 6/26/21
Tennessee Bill Lee (R) 7/3/21
Texas Greg Abbott (R) 6/26/21
Utah Spencer Cox (R) 6/26/21
Vermont Phil Scott (R) 9/6/21
Virginia Ralph Northam (D) Return To Earn Grant Program

$1,000
Virginia will match up to $500 that small businesses (less than 100 employees) pay to new employees to offset the ongoing costs of child care, transportation, or other barriers to re-employment. Match is eligible for up to 25 new hires per business. Jobs must pay $15/hr or more, begin after 5/31/21, and qualify for a W-2. 9/6/21
Washington Jay Inslee (D) 9/6/21
West Virginia Jim Justice (R) 6/19/21
Wisconsin 9/6/21
Wyoming Mark Gordon (R) 6/19/21

 

 

FAQs About Unemployment Benefits by State

Will a return-to-work incentive be provided in Alabama?

Not currently. Governor Kay Ivey (R) announced on May 10, 2021 that Alabama will end pandemic-related federal unemployment benefits on June 19, 2021. No return-to-work benefit has been announced.

Will a return-to-work incentive be provided in Alaska?

Not currently. Governor Mike Dunleavy’s (R) Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner, Dr. Tamika L. Ledbetter, announced on May 14, 2021 that Alaska will end pandemic-related federal unemployment benefits on June 12, 2021. No return-to-work benefit has been announced.

Will a return-to-work incentive be provided in Arizona?

Yes. Governor Doug Ducey (R) announced on May 13, 2021 that Arizona will end pandemic-related federal unemployment benefits on July 10, 2021. Funds will be used for Return-To-Work bonuses for Arizonans who were collecting unemployment insurance prior to the announcement. One-time payments will be $2,000 for individuals who rejoin the workforce at a full-time job and $1,000 for part-time. Each will be paid out after completing a minimum of 10 weeks of work. To qualify, recipients must also make $25 per hour or less, equivalent to a yearly salary of $52,000, at their new job, and must begin working by September 6, 2021.

Will a return-to-work incentive be provided in Arkansas?

Not currently. Governor Asa Hutchinson (R) announced on May 7, 2021 that Arkansas will end pandemic-related federal unemployment benefits on June 26, 2021. No return-to-work benefit has been announced.

Will a return-to-work incentive be provided in California?

Not currently. Pandemic-related federal unemployment benefits are due to continue until September 6, 2021. No return-to-work benefit has been announced.

Will a return-to-work incentive be provided in Colorado?

Yes. In addition to pandemic-related federal unemployment benefits being due to continue until September 6, 2021, Governor Jared Polis (D) announced on May 19, 2021 that Colorado will use the Colorado Jumpstart Incentive to provide $1,600 to individuals beginning work in May and $1,200 to individuals beginning work in June. The incentive is available to individuals who received unemployment benefits between 3/28/21 and 5/16/21 and find full-time work for a minimum of eight weeks.

Will a return-to-work incentive be provided in Connecticut?

Yes. In addition to pandemic-related federal unemployment benefits being due to continue until September 6, 2021, Governor Ned Lamont (D) announced on May 17, 2021 that Connecticut’s Back To Work CT Program will provide $1,000 bonus payments to 10,000 individuals who filed an unemployment claim for the week immediately prior to May 30, 2021 and work full-time for eight weeks prior to 12/31/21.

Will a return-to-work incentive be provided in Delaware?

Not currently. Pandemic-related federal unemployment benefits are due to continue until September 6, 2021. No return-to-work benefit has been announced.

Will a return-to-work incentive be provided in the District of Columbia?

Not currently. Pandemic-related federal unemployment benefits are due to continue until September 6, 2021. No return-to-work benefit has been announced.

Will a return-to-work incentive be provided in Florida?

Not currently. Governor Ron DeSantis’ (R) Secretary of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Dane Eagle, announced on May 24, 2021 that Florida will end pandemic-related federal unemployment benefits on June 26, 2021. No return-to-work benefit has been announced.

Will a return-to-work incentive be provided in Georgia?

Not currently. Governor Brian Kemp (R) announced on May 13, 2021 that Georgia will end pandemic-related federal unemployment benefits on June 26, 2021. No return-to-work benefit has been announced.

Will a return-to-work incentive be provided in Hawaii?

Not currently. Pandemic-related federal unemployment benefits are due to continue until September 6, 2021. No return-to-work benefit has been announced.

Will a return-to-work incentive be provided in Idaho?

Not currently. Governor Brad Little (R) announced on May 11, 2021 that Idaho will end pandemic-related federal unemployment benefits on June 19, 2021. No return-to-work benefit has been announced.

Will a return-to-work incentive be provided in Illinois?

Not currently. Pandemic-related federal unemployment benefits are due to continue until September 6, 2021. No return-to-work benefit has been announced.

Will a return-to-work incentive be provided in Indiana?

Not currently. Governor Eric Holcomb (R) announced on May 17, 2021 that Indiana will end pandemic-related federal unemployment benefits on June 19, 2021. After a lawsuit was filed and the cancellation was delayed, a judge ordered on 6/25/21 that Indiana must continue paying the benefits. The state is appealing the decision. A return-to-work benefit has not been announced.

Will a return-to-work incentive be provided in Iowa?

Not currently. Governor Kim Reynolds (R) announced on May 11, 2021 that Iowa will end pandemic-related federal unemployment benefits on June 12, 2021. No return-to-work benefit has been announced.

Will a return-to-work incentive be provided in Kansas?

Not currently. Pandemic-related federal unemployment benefits are due to continue until September 6, 2021. No return-to-work benefit has been announced.

Will a return-to-work incentive be provided in Kentucky?

Yes. In addition to pandemic-related federal unemployment benefits being due to continue until September 6, 2021, Governor Andy Beshear (D) announced on June 24, 2021 that Kentucky’s Back To Work Incentive will provide $1,500 bonus payments to the first 15,000 individuals who qualify. To qualify, individuals must have been collecting unemployment as of June 23, 2021 and complete at least 120 hours of work between June 24, 2021 and July 30, 2021.

Will a return-to-work incentive be provided in Louisiana?

Not currently. Governor John Bel Edwards (D) announced on June 16, 2021 that Louisiana will end pandemic-related federal unemployment benefits on July 31, 2021. No return-to-work benefit has been announced.

Will a return-to-work incentive be provided in Maine?

Yes. In addition to pandemic-related federal unemployment benefits being due to continue until September 6, 2021, Governor Janey Mills’ (D) Labor Commissioner Laura Fortman  announced an update to Maine’s Back To Work Grant Program on July 1, 2021. The program will provide $1,500 to individuals who begin full-time work between June 15th-July 25th, and $750 to individuals who begin part-time (20 hours or more) during that time period. The program is open to individuals who received unemployment benefits the week ending May 29, 2021, accept a full-time or part-tome job that pays less than $25/hour, and remain in the job for at least eight consecutive weeks. The program begins June 15, 2021 and will accept applications through July 25, 2021.

Will a return-to-work incentive be provided in Maryland?

Not currently. Governor Larry Hogan (R) announced on June 1, 2021 that Maryland will end pandemic-related federal unemployment benefits on July 3, 2021. After a lawsuit was filed and the cancellation was delayed, a judge ordered on 7/3/21 that Maryland must continue paying the benefits. The state is appealing the decision. A return-to-work benefit has not been announced.

Will a return-to-work incentive be provided in Massachusetts?

Not currently. Pandemic-related federal unemployment benefits are due to continue until September 6, 2021. No return-to-work benefit has been announced.

Will a return-to-work incentive be provided in Michigan?

Not currently. Pandemic-related federal unemployment benefits are due to continue until September 6, 2021. No return-to-work benefit has been announced.

Will a return-to-work incentive be provided in Minnesota?

Not currently. Pandemic-related federal unemployment benefits are due to continue until September 6, 2021. No return-to-work benefit has been announced.

Will a return-to-work incentive be provided in Mississippi?

Not currently. Governor Tate Reeves (R) announced on May 10, 2021 that Mississippi will end pandemic-related federal unemployment benefits on June 12, 2021. No return-to-work benefit has been announced.

Will a return-to-work incentive be provided in Missouri?

Not currently. Governor Mike Parson (R) announced on May 11, 2021 that Missouri will end pandemic-related federal unemployment benefits on June 12, 2021. No return-to-work benefit has been announced.

Will a return-to-work incentive be provided in Montana?

Yes. Governor Greg Gianforte (R) announced on May 4, 2021 that Montana will end pandemic-related federal unemployment benefits on June 27, 2021. Funds will be used for a $1,200 Return-To-Work Bonus initiative. Individuals who were receiving unemployment benefits as of May 4, 2021 and subsequently accepted employment will receive the payment after completing a minimum of four paid weeks of work.

Will a return-to-work incentive be provided in Nebraska?

Not currently. Governor Pete Rickets (R) announced on May 24, 2021 that Nebraska will end pandemic-related federal unemployment benefits on June 19, 2021. No return-to-work benefit has been announced.

Will a return-to-work incentive be provided in Nevada?

Not currently. Pandemic-related federal unemployment benefits are due to continue until September 6, 2021. No return-to-work benefit has been announced.

Will a return-to-work incentive be provided in New Hampshire?

Yes. Governor Chris Sununu (R) announced on May 18, 2021 that New Hampshire will end pandemic-related federal unemployment benefits on June 19, 2021. Instead, New Hampshire has established a ‘Summer Stipend’ program paying out $1,000 to individuals who rejoin the workforce at a full-time job and $500 for part-time. To qualify, recipients must have been collecting unemployment insurance as of May 18, 2021, take a job that earns $25 an hour or less, and stay at the job for at least eight weeks. The payments will be on a first come, first served basis, paid out of $10M fund.

Will a return-to-work incentive be provided in New Jersey?

Not currently. Pandemic-related federal unemployment benefits are due to continue until September 6, 2021. No return-to-work benefit has been announced.

Will a return-to-work incentive be provided in New Mexico?

Not currently. Pandemic-related federal unemployment benefits are due to continue until September 6, 2021. No return-to-work benefit has been announced.

Will a return-to-work incentive be provided in New York?

Not currently. Pandemic-related federal unemployment benefits are due to continue until September 6, 2021. No return-to-work benefit has been announced.

Will a return-to-work incentive be provided in North Carolina?

Not currently. Pandemic-related federal unemployment benefits are due to continue until September 6, 2021. No return-to-work benefit has been announced.

Will a return-to-work incentive be provided in North Dakota?

Not currently. Governor Doug Burgum (R) announced on May 10, 2021 that North Dakota will end pandemic-related federal unemployment benefits on June 19, 2021. No return-to-work benefit has been announced.

Will a return-to-work incentive be provided in Ohio?

Not currently. Governor Mike DeWine (R) announced on May 13, 2021 that Ohio will end pandemic-related federal unemployment benefits on June 26, 2021. No return-to-work benefit has been announced.

Will a return-to-work incentive be provided in Oklahoma?

Yes. Governor Kevin Stitt (R) announced on May 17, 2021 that Oklahoma will end pandemic-related federal unemployment benefits on June 26, 2021. Funds will instead go towards a $1,200 ‘Return To Work Incentive’ for Oklahomans who were collecting unemployment insurance prior to the announcement. Payments will be distributed to the first 20,000 individuals who rejoin the workforce before September 4, 2021 and complete 6 consecutive weeks of employment of 32 hours a week or more with the same employer.

Will a return-to-work incentive be provided in Oregon?

Not currently. Pandemic-related federal unemployment benefits are due to continue until September 6, 2021. No return-to-work benefit has been announced.

Will a return-to-work incentive be provided in Pennsylvania?

Not currently. Pandemic-related federal unemployment benefits are due to continue until September 6, 2021. No return-to-work benefit has been announced.

Will a return-to-work incentive be provided in Rhode Island?

Not currently. Pandemic-related federal unemployment benefits are due to continue until September 6, 2021. No return-to-work benefit has been announced.

Will a return-to-work incentive be provided in South Carolina?

Not currently. Governor Henry McMaster (R) announced on May 6, 2021 that South Carolina will end pandemic-related federal unemployment benefits on June 30, 2021. No return-to-work benefit has been announced.

Will a return-to-work incentive be provided in South Dakota?

Not currently. Governor Kristi Noem (R) announced on May 12, 2021 that South Dakota will end pandemic-related federal unemployment benefits on June 26, 2021. No return-to-work benefit has been announced.

Will a return-to-work incentive be provided in Tennessee?

Not currently. Governor Bill Lee (R) announced on May 11, 2021 that Tennessee will end pandemic-related federal unemployment benefits on July 3, 2021. No return-to-work benefit has been announced.

Will a return-to-work incentive be provided in Texas?

Not currently. Governor Greg Abbott (R) announced on May 17, 2021 that Texas will end pandemic-related federal unemployment benefits on June 26, 2021. No return-to-work benefit has been announced.

Will a return-to-work incentive be provided in Utah?

Not currently. Governor Spencer Cox (R) announced on May 12, 2021 that Utah will end pandemic-related federal unemployment benefits on June 26, 2021. No return-to-work benefit has been announced.

Will a return-to-work incentive be provided in Vermont?

Not currently. Pandemic-related federal unemployment benefits are due to continue until September 6, 2021. No return-to-work benefit has been announced.

Will a return-to-work incentive be provided in Virginia?

Yes. In addition to pandemic-related federal unemployment benefits being due to continue until September 6, 2021, Ralph Northam (D) announced on June 11, 2021 that Virginia’s Return To Earn Grant Program will match up to $500 that small businesses (less than 100 employees) pay to new employees to offset the ongoing costs of child care, transportation, or other barriers to re-employment. Matches are eligible for up to 25 new hires per business. Jobs must pay $15/hr or more, begin after 5/31/21, and qualify for a W-2.

Will a return-to-work incentive be provided in Washington?

Not currently. Pandemic-related federal unemployment benefits are due to continue until September 6, 2021. No return-to-work benefit has been announced.

Will a return-to-work incentive be provided in West Virginia?

Not currently. Governor Jim Justice (R) announced on May 14, 2021 that West Virginia will end pandemic-related federal unemployment benefits on June 19, 2021. No return-to-work benefit has been announced.

Will a return-to-work incentive be provided in Wisconsin?

Not currently. Pandemic-related federal unemployment benefits are due to continue until September 6, 2021. No return-to-work benefit has been announced.

Will a return-to-work incentive be provided in Wyoming?

Not currently. Governor Mark Gordon (R) announced on May 12, 2021 that Wyoming will end pandemic-related federal unemployment benefits on June 19, 2021. No return-to-work benefit has been announced.

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