By Tom Latek
Gov. Andy Beshear on Thursday unveiled his incentive package – a one-time payment of $ 1,500 – to get Kentuckians back to work and cut the federal government’s $ 300-a-week pandemic unemployment assistance, as well as additional help for day care centers.
Governor Beshear resisted ending the unemployment assistance program because it injects $ 34 million into the state’s economy every week. But during a press conference on Capitol Hill, he said he wanted those who don’t face other obstacles to benefit from the PUA and announced his plan.
âI have set aside $ 22.5 million in coronavirus relief funds,â he said, âto provide a one-time payment of $ 1,500 to the first 15,000 insurance applicants- unemployed to return to work by July 30 and who are eligible for the incentive. “
â¢ Be the beneficiary of a PUA or a similar benefit on June 23 and not have a return to work date.
â¢ At least 18 years old.
â¢ A resident of Kentucky
â¢ Have an active and non-fraudulent unemployment claim.
â¢ Must be employed by a Kentucky company, commencing between June 24 and July 30, 2021.
â¢ Be among the first 15,000 to apply online after accepting a job, which the state is able to verify between August 1 and October 1.
Employers will also need to complete an online application verifying employment by July 30, 2021 and that the employee has worked 120 hours in the first four weeks after employment.
âI think it really brings the government and the private sector together in a way where we first try a carrot instead of a stick to solve this problem,â Beshear said. â$ 1,500 would equate to five weeks of those PUA payments and, given the current timing of the end of the federal government program, we think that creates a very strong incentive. “
Applications open on August 2. Click here to know more.
House Speaker David Osborne, R-Prospect, disagreed with the plan, saying it “is a classic government solution to a real world problem.”
“Not only is paying people $ 1,500 to get jobs extremely insulting to those who have worked throughout this pandemic, it defies the logic that they choose to do so as long as additional federal payments are available,” Osborne said in a statement. âThis is a classic government solution to a real world problem and problematic on many levels. The fact that there are over a hundred thousand jobs available, many of which already offer severance pay, should be a big incentive without a one-time payment. This is just another example of state government using taxpayer dollars to pick winners and losers. “
During the press conference, the governor noted that finding childcare services is one of the barriers to returning to work for some people. by the pandemic, which in turn will help families with young children.
Cabinet Secretary for Health and Family Services Eric Friedlander called it a lifeline for the state’s economy and for child care providers.
âOne of the biggest lessons we’ve learned over the past year is that child care is essential,â Friedlander said. âIt doesn’t just support children and families, it supports all other industries in this Commonwealth. It is time that we recognize this not only with our appreciation, but with support like that offered with this incredible funding.
The bulk of the funding, over $ 470 million, is for sustainability payments that will be distributed to child care providers statewide.
The second funding stream, $ 293 million of the Global Child Care and Development Grant (CCDBG), is intended to:
â¢ Increase supplier payments and payment policies.
â¢ Increase the salaries of educators and family daycares.
â¢ Increase the number of quality child care options for underserved populations.
Families can seek help through the Child Care Assistance Program. A preselection tool and an application tool are available kynect.ky.gov.