Virus Outbreak Colorado

Colorado Governor Jared Polis, front, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and Colorado Senate President Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, head into a news conference about the rapid increase in coronavirus cases in the state Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020, in Denver. Colorado lawmakers plan to draw up a package of financial aid for residents who have become unemployed because of the coronavirus during a special session set to convene at the end of the month. 

In an effort to move more people off unemployment benefits, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis Wednesday signed an executive order to give them up to $1,600 if they return to full-time work.

Dubbed the Colorado Jumpstart incentive program, it allows those who have received at least $25 in unemployment insurance benefits from March 28 to Sunday to earn up to $1,600 if they get back to work before the month is out. The program is being administered through the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE).

“More than a year after this pandemic swept through Colorado, we know that many Coloradans are not completely back on their feet just yet,” said CDLE Executive Director Joe Barela in a statement. “That’s why we are taking this important step to provide support to those who need it most as they transition back into the workforce. This won’t just help Coloradans, it’s going to help businesses to have a productive workforce, ready to power our economy and comeback.”

March’s unemployment rate stood at 6.4%, unchanged from February. Colorado’s unemployment rate remains above the national rate of 6%. The April rate is expected from CDLE soon.

Many employers in certain sectors, especially restaurants and service industry, have had a hard time filling open positions.

Jumpstart applicants will have to complete the ID.ME identification requirements. They’ll also have to stay employed for eight weeks. Those who return to full-time work in June will be eligible for a $1,200 incentive. All the eligibility requirements can be found on ColoradoUI.gov.

“Powering the comeback means supporting Coloradans getting back to work and our businesses as they expand,” said Polis in a statement. “We know that getting back to work doesn’t mean all the financial challenges Coloradans are facing just disappear, and we want to ensure that as more people are returning to the workforce, we are setting them up for success.”

Contract, self-employed or “gig” workers who were covered by the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program are not eligible for Jumpstart.

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