NewsCovering Louisiana


Mixed Opinions: Back-to-work bonus

Two state representatives speak to KATC about the potential incentive.
Posted at 10:05 PM, May 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-21 23:57:20-04

LAFAYETTE, La. — Republican House lawmakers are pushing a new proposal through the capitol to offer Louisiana residents who stop receiving unemployment extra cash to go back to work.

This barter, however, could mean no more unemployment benefits for a while.

If you decide to stop claiming unemployment assistance, you would receive $1,000 for landing a full-time gig and $500 for a part-time gig. But you’d be unable to collect unemployment for six months.

Republican District 51 State Rep. Beryl Amedée supports the new amendment added to a bill originally from Representative Rodney Lyons.

“This is simply an offer to help people to be incentivized to actually take a job and go back to work, if possible,” said Amedée.

She’s confident the bill will make it through all the steps it must take to become a law. She believes aside from this extra cash and the salary one could get from rejoining the workforce after the pandemic, getting up and going to work is simply good for you.

“Doing something fruitful and accomplishing something in a day’s time does wonders for your mental health and, in many cases, your physical health,” she said.

On the other hand, democrat Representative Tammy Phelps representing District 3, is against the bill. She says it might not make it through the Senate floor.

She says it’s borderline insulting to call it a back-to-work bonus, especially to those folks that simply can’t rejoin the workforce just yet. She also believes it’s not fair to assume that everybody on unemployment is sitting at home.

“I was kind of taken back that that was considered an initiative to entice someone to go return to work,” said Phelps. “I thought that was very, I guess I could say offensive. Like, how could that be enticing?”

She says it’s a gamble that most citizens would not take.

“If something was to happen, and they were laid off again or they were fired... You just don’t know if a business closes,” she said. “Putting someone in that predicament is worse off than returning to work when they’re able to.”

Rep. Amedée says she understands some people might be able to bring more money home by staying on unemployment rather than from returning to the workforce. Meanwhile, Representative Phelps says some businesses might want to look at themselves and ask why people wouldn’t want to work for them, fix any issues, and attract employees that way.

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