After this week’s disappointing jobs report, U.S. Senator Ben Sasse announced today that he will introduce legislation redirecting the expanded pandemic unemployment benefits to signing bonus payments for new hires. 

“A year ago, before we had vaccines, expanded unemployment benefits started to pay more than work. The emergency need was real, but the emergency plan was flawed. The emergency UI program is now penalizing people for going back to work. Now, as millions of Americans are vaccinated each day, we’ve got crummy job numbers – 7,400,000 jobs are available but fewer than 300,000 people returned to work last month. We’ve got to get America and Americans up and running. We need a pro-worker, pro-recovery plan. Next week, I’m introducing the National Signing Bonus Act. This bill converts the pandemic federal unemployment benefit into a two-month bonus equal to 101 percent of their current unemployment payment for anyone who gets a job. Go back to work, get your signing bonus, and get your paycheck. Let’s get America back to work.”


Currently, 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.

Sasse will introduce the National Signing Bonus Act when the Senate returns to session. 

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.