The Mills Administration launched a new program to boost the State of Maine’s economy by bringing workers to Maine employers in need and getting unemployed Mainers back into the workforce. Through the Back-To-Work Grant Program, eligible employers will receive a one-time payment of $1,500 for eligible workers who start jobs between June 15th and June 30th or a $1,000 payment for eligible workers who start jobs in July.
The first-come, first-served program utilizes $10 million in federal funding and is being administered by the Maine Department of Labor and the Department of Economic and Community Development. Applications will be accepted through July 25, 2021.
“We have worked hard over the last fifteen months to get the pandemic under control so that it’s safe for everyone to return to work,” said Governor Janet Mills. “Now COVID cases are down, vaccines are widely available, and jobs are plentiful. Employers across the state are looking to staff up, which means there are opportunities for everyone to work, earn a living and contribute to our state’s economic recovery. With this new program, we are providing another tool to accelerate peoples’ transition back into the workforce, protecting their health and their long-term financial stability.”
For a new hire to qualify, the individual must:
- have started one full-time job (at least 35 hours/week) in Maine between June 15, 2021, and July 25, 2021;
- have received unemployment benefits for the week ending May 29, 2021;
- not receive unemployment benefits during their period of employment;
- not be an unemployment claimant who has already reported a return to work date and/or has a work search waiver in place; and
- be employed for at least 8 weeks, making less $25/hour.
For a business to receive a grant, the business must:
- Be a private employer;
- enter the employee information and job details into the online application portal (once the individual has a start date);
- provide documentation of their wages for their first 8 weeks of work;
- provide a record of prompt payment to the employee (once the grant funds are delivered); and
- register with the State as a vendor and with Maine JobLink prior to making the grant payment (see Maine.gov’s program page for more information on JobLink).
There is no process for appeals if a worker is found ineligible.
Back-To-Work grants are taxable. The payment will be included in the grant recipient’s W-2. Employers will receive a 1099G. Grant awards will include an offset to cover the employee’s payroll tax obligation.
Any questions not addressed on Maine’s program webpage may be emailed to BackToWork@Maine.gov.
by Holly Ferguson, CPA
Holly Ferguson joined ARB in 1996 and has been a principal for the firm since 2012. Throughout her career, Holly has provided financial reporting consulting services, assisted with transactional accounting and consulting related to business acquisitions/sales, and analyzed implications and strategic implementation of new accounting standards. As the Practice Leader of ARB’s Accounting & Attest Services Team, she focuses primarily on related services for businesses, manufacturers, credit unions, and nonprofit organizations.