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

Insert Question Legislature form in Legis only stories

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

taboola desktop

ABQjournal can get you answers in all pages


Questions about the Legislature?
Albuquerque Journal can get you answers
Email addresses are used solely for verification and to speed the verification process for repeat questioners.
'It's been a great ride': Longtime Balloon Fiesta executive ...
ABQnews Seeker
Longtime Balloon Fiesta executive director is ... Longtime Balloon Fiesta executive director is retiring
California is lone holdout in Colorado River cuts proposal
ABQnews Seeker
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) -- Six Western ... FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) -- Six Western states that rely on water from the Colorado River have agreed on a model to dramatically cut water ...
New Mexico faces a budget abyss if oil and ...
ABQnews Seeker
Report predicts $36 billion revenue deficit ... Report predicts $36 billion revenue deficit in 15 years possible
Senate panel, on party-line vote, approves bill increasing minimum ...
ABQnews Seeker
A push to increase the minimum ... A push to increase the minimum age to buy certain firearms from 18 to 21 cleared its first Senate hurdle Monday, after a heated ...
Bill aimed at bolstering NM's patchwork rural health care ...
ABQnews Seeker
A proposal to tap New Mexico's ... A proposal to tap New Mexico's revenue windfall to bolster health care services in rural parts of the state where residents frequently have to ...
New Mexico bill to restrict lobbyist ‘revolving door’ advances
ABQnews Seeker
A proposal moving through the Senate ... A proposal moving through the Senate would prohibit former legislators and appointees working under the governor from returning immediately to the Roundhouse as paid ...
New Mexico’s checkerspot butterfly placed on Endangered Species List
ABQnews Seeker
With more Sacramento Mountains checkerspot butterflies ... With more Sacramento Mountains checkerspot butterflies being raised at the ABQ BioPark than found in the wild, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is ...
No drama for birthday llama: ABQ llama celebrates 27th ...
ABQnews Seeker
'This llama is bringing everyone together,' ... 'This llama is bringing everyone together,' says family friend
Photos: UNM Lobos men's basketball team take on Air ...
ABQnews Seeker