Published On: Sat, Jul 31st, 2021

Arkansas Judge Restores $300 Pandemic Jobless Benefit Boost

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An Arkansas judge on Thursday ordered the state to resume paying the $300 supplemental federal pandemic jobless benefit that the state’s governor blamed for fueling a hiring crunch and decided to end early. In granting the plaintiffs a preliminary injunction that reinstates the federal jobless compensation boost, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Herbert Wright Jr. expressed “serious doubts” whether Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson had the authority to end the benefit early, according to a July 28 order (pdf). Hutchinson, a Republican, in May announced that the state would end its participation in the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program on June 26, citing business hiring difficulties. “The $300 federal supplement helped thousands of Arkansans make it through this tough time, so it served a good purpose,” Hutchinson said in a statement at the time. “Now we need Arkansans back on the job so that we can get our economy back to full speed.” …

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