FILE - West Virginia state flag

The West Virginia state flag flies.

(The Center Square) – Unemployed West Virginians who return to work might receive a $500 bonus funded by the state in a plan that has received mixed feedback.

Although no plan has been finalized, Gov. Jim Justice announced the state is working on an incentive plan to get West Virginians back to work. In his latest update, he said this could be a $500 bonus for people who are unemployed, but get hired and stay at their jobs. A person would not be eligible if he or she is switching jobs.

Justice’s new plan deviates from his original plan, which would have been a $1,000 bonus if matched by an employer. Under the new plan, employers would not need to match the funds.

Steve Roberts, the president of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce, said the idea was interesting but did not comment in detail about the plan, which has yet to be finalized.

“We will want to see details and are looking at options to help people return to work,” Roberts said.

Some groups are less optimistic about the plan. Garrett Ballengee, the executive director of the free-market Cardinal Institute, told The Center Square the plan seems well intentioned but is misguided.

“The better idea would be to end the additional unemployment benefits immediately,” Ballengee told The Center Square. “Taxpayers who are currently working should not be forced to further subsidize those capable, yet unwilling, to work because of the enhanced unemployed benefits that are in place.”

According to the National Federation of Independent Business, many employers are having trouble filling open spots throughout the country. One cause of this, the organization believes, is caused by the government increasing unemployment benefits during the pandemic. The NFIB is the largest small business association in the country. 

Similar incentive plans have been established in four states. Other states are working on creating similar plans.

Staff Reporter

Tyler Arnold reports on Virginia and West Virginia for The Center Square. He previously worked for the Cause of Action Institute and has been published in Business Insider, USA TODAY College, National Review Online and the Washington Free Beacon.