Maine Back to Work Grant Program

To help support Maine’s economy, especially during the busy summer season, the Back-to-Work Employer Grant Program offers grants to businesses to pay as hiring bonuses to qualifying new employees.

Eligible businesses will receive a $1,500 one-time grant for each qualifying employee with a start date in June 2021, and extended for each qualifying employee with a start date in July 2021.

See guidance below from the Maine Department of Labor with links for more information about the program and how employers can take advantage of this funding to support getting employees back to work.

Dear employer,

We wanted to let you know that the application for the new “Back to Work” program, along with FAQs, is now available: https://www.maine.gov/covid19/back-to-work-grants

The program, which runs from June 15-July 25, 2021, is aimed at getting unemployed Maine people back into the workforce by offering grants to businesses to pay as hiring bonuses to qualifying new employees.

The program provides employers a one-time $1,500 payment for eligible workers who start jobs between June 15 and June 30 or a $1,000 payment for eligible workers who start jobs in July to encourage unemployed Maine people to return to the workforce. The first-come, first-served program will utilize $10 million in Federal funding and could reach up to 7,500 Maine people.

To be eligible, people must:

  1. Have received unemployment compensation for the week ending May 29, 2021;
  2. Accept a full-time job that pays less than $25 per hour and remain in the job for a period of at least eight consecutive weeks, and;
  3. Not receive unemployment compensation during the eight week period of employment.

Once the employee has worked for eight weeks, the employer will provide documentation of the completion of the requirement and grant funds will be issued to the employer to be passed through to the employee.

To make the application process faster, employers can prepare by registering with the Maine JobLink here: https://joblink.maine.gov/

The program comes after the Maine Department of Labor tightened work search requirements for unemployment insurance recipients on May 23, 2021, reinstating pre-pandemic requirements. People receiving unemployment are required to actively look for work and to accept positions for which they are reasonably qualified. A refusal to accept an offer of suitable work is grounds for disqualifying a person for benefits, and can be reported here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ucbr/

Thank you,
The Maine Department of Labor