Bill converts pandemic UI into limited-time signing bonuses.

Today, U.S. Senator Ben Sasse, a member of the Senate Finance Committee who last year warned about the unintended consequences of emergency unemployment benefits paying more than work, introduced the National Signing Bonus Act. The legislation will convert existing pandemic unemployment benefits into limited-time signing bonuses for new hires. 

“Vaccines are up and running, but our economy isn’t keeping up. We just saw crummy job numbers way below expectations. We’ve been warning about this predictable crisis for a year now: Americans want to work, but the federal government is paying more for unemployment than for work. Well-meaning but stupidly-designed policy is holding Main Street back. This bill isn’t a perfect solution, but let’s at least turn unemployment checks into signing bonuses. Let’s help get Americans back on their feet and back to work.”


Too often, pandemic unemployment insurance pays more than work and creates a roadblock to American recovery.

Sasse’s National Signing Bonus Act fixes the broken system with an incentive to work by converting UI’s expanded benefit into a two-month bonus for anyone who gets a job. The National Signing Bonus Act will pay a signing bonus equal to 101 percent of existing pandemic UI benefits over the course of multiple payments for individuals who demonstrate new and continued employment.

Individuals who get a job by July 4, 2021, will receive a federal signing bonus equal to 101 percent of two months of the federal enhanced UI benefit to be paid over the course of multiple payments.

Last year, Senator Sasse introduced legislation that would have fixed the coronavirus emergency relief law’s perverse incentive to increase unemployment by capping unemployment benefits at full pay. Senate Democrats rejected that proposal.