New Mexico offering cash to return to work - Albuquerque Journal

New Mexico offering cash to return to work

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, with Sen. Michael Padilla, D-Albuquerque, left, acting Workforce Solutions Secretary Ricky Serna, right, and others held a news conference June 11 to address plans to improve the New Mexico agency that handles unemployment claims. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

SANTA FE – New Mexico will deliver cash payments this summer to people on unemployment who return to work as part of a $10 million program backed by federal stimulus funds.

Participants will have to keep their new job through Aug. 28 to receive the payments, which range from $400 to $1,000, depending on how quickly they report a new job.

The nine-week program comes as New Mexico faces one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation – 8% in May, behind only Hawaii.

The timing of the supplemental pay – late August – is intended to encourage people to return to work before the expiration of expanded federal unemployment benefits, which end Sept. 4.

Earlier this week, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced expanded eligibility for child care assistance, another step intended to make it easier for New Mexicans to return to work.

The state on Thursday also lifted capacity restrictions on businesses imposed to limit the spread of COVID-19.

“The state will continue doing what it can to help workers and businesses get back on their feet,” Lujan Grisham said in a written statement.

Rob Black, president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, said the expansion of child care assistance, lifting of business restrictions and bonus payments address barriers that may have kept residents from returning to work.

“All of those things will be important to help people get back into the workforce,” Black said in an interview Friday.

Polling by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, he said, showed that $1,000 return-to-work bonuses would be a powerful incentive for people without a job. The state of Oklahoma, he said, also saw strong results from an incentive program.

New Mexico’s nine-week program will offer a $1,000 supplemental payment to anyone who’s now receiving unemployment benefits and reports a new job next week.

The size of the bonus will drop to $800 for new jobs the week of July 11, $600 beginning July 18 and $400 for jobs starting July 25.

More than 70,000 people are now receiving unemployment insurance in New Mexico, according to the Governor’s Office. The Department of Workforce Solutions estimates up to 15,000 unemployment claimants may take part in the new program.

The state will tap federal funding through the American Rescue Plan to pay for the return-to-work program – a potential point of contention with the state lawmakers. The Legislature and governor have been at odds for months over who has authority to allocate federal stimulus funding.

Republican lawmakers this week began circulating a petition that would allow legislators to declare an emergency and call themselves into session to take up the spending of federal stimulus funds.

To succeed, they would need support from three-fifths of each chamber – a particular challenge given that Democrats hold substantial majorities in the House and Senate.

Lujan Grisham, who’s up for re-election next year, is a Democrat.

In a written statement, Senate Minority Leader Greg Baca of Belen and Minority Whip Craig Brandt of Rio Rancho, both Republicans, said they met with Lujan Grisham on Friday but that she wouldn’t agree to call a special session herself.

“After today’s meeting with the Governor,” Baca and Brandt said, “it is clear we have some common agreement on how federal recovery funds should be expended. Where we continue to disagree is how those funds can be legally appropriated.”

The Lujan Grisham administration contends the authority to allocate federal stimulus funding lies with the executive branch, a contention its attorneys say is backed by court cases.

Home » Business » Careers/Jobs » New Mexico offering cash to return to work


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
Cannon PFAS destroyed longtime Clovis farmer's dairy
ABQnews Seeker
State estimates put the farm's revenue ... State estimates put the farm's revenue losses and increased expenses at more than $5.9 million
2
Tainted peanut butter nearly kills retired Sunport canine 'ambassador'
ABQnews Seeker
The Jif she had eaten was ... The Jif she had eaten was apparently contaminated with salmonella bacteria
3
Soundtrack to summer: The songs of Isotopes Park
ABQnews Seeker
Dozens of songs make up the ... Dozens of songs make up the soundtrack of Isotopes Park -- keeping fans engaged whether the home team is doing 'So good! So good!' ...
4
Study: Areas may be at risk of floods, ash ...
ABQnews Seeker
US Forest Service officials warn of ... US Forest Service officials warn of increased danger
5
Detectives looking for murder suspect
ABQnews Seeker
Man, 22, accused of gunning down ... Man, 22, accused of gunning down acquaintance last week
6
4 candidates vie for GOP nomination in Bernalillo County ...
2022 election
BCSO employs 458 staff, 305 ... BCSO employs 458 staff, 305 being sworn deputies; office is largest in the state
7
Crews gain 50% containment on Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak Fire
ABQnews Seeker
Crews mapped out hotspots, official says Crews mapped out hotspots, official says
8
Navajo sign water rights settlement with Utah and feds
ABQnews Seeker
Federal officials signed an agreement with ... Federal officials signed an agreement with leaders of the Navajo Nation on Friday that provides funding for clean drinking water infrastructure for reservation residents ...
9
Veterans celebrated with Honor Flight
ABQnews Seeker
25 to be taken on a ... 25 to be taken on a free trip to visit memorials