Mills has no plan to end federal unemployment benefits early

Updated: Jun. 16, 2021 at 4:46 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - Gov. Janet Mills says she has no plan to get out of the federal unemployment assistance program before it’s current fall end date.

Some see it as a barrier to keeping people from getting back to work.

Unemployed Mainers are eligible to receive $300 in unemployment benefits weekly.

That’s on top of state benefits.

The federal benefits will continue until September.

More than two dozen states have opted out of the program - hoping that will make people rejoin the work force.

We asked the governor why she was opposed to following suit.

“I don’t think that’s going to be a successful tactic in other states either. It’s become a partisan issue which is unfortunate. We are doing a number of things to get people back into the workforce one of the big barriers is child care still. To let those parents get back into the workforce that is one of the big barriers that we are hearing about. The other measures that I’ve already mentioned are more realistic and more productive and getting people back to work,” Mills said.

Just Tuesday Mills launched an incentive program offering a $1,500 payment to qualified Mainers those rejoining the work force.

The governor says women in lower paying jobs have been among those hit hardest in the pandemic.

Mills is calling on the Maine legislature to beef up what it does to help those that offer child care, use it and train those that provide it.

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