Joe Cunningham proposes $1,200 return-to-work bonuses

South Carolina News

Democratic U.S. Rep. Joe Cunningham speaks to the media and supporters during his Election Night partyTuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, in Charleston, S.C. Cunningham is running for South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Gubernatorial hopeful Joe Cunningham on Monday suggested giving unemployed people who return to the workforce — and stay employed for at least 30 days — $1,200 bonuses.

He says that the move would address the staffing shortage brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recently, Governor Henry McMaster took a starkly different step to address the same problem. He ended South Carolina’s participation in federal unemployment programs, claiming that people were not seeking work because they preferred accruing unemployment benefits.

Cunningham said that “there are numerous contributing factors to the current workforce shortage,” citing childcare issues, stagnant wages, and health concerns.

However, he continued, “the solution is not to carelessly rip away vital unemployment assistance to people who are out of work through no fault of their own.”

Cunningham proposed funding the program through the American Rescue Plan.

In his estimation, the one-time bonus would “help our workers get back on their feet after this historic public health crisis.”

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