State and Federal Programs give Small Businesses Two Reasons to Start Hiring

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Two government programs are currently giving businesses incentives to hire, train and retain employees before they file their 2011 tax returns.

1. The Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act

This tax benefit under the federal act that was signed into law on March 18th, 2010 is especially good for small businesses because it applies to newly created positions. (New hires filling existing positions only qualify if the former employee left voluntarily or for cause).

The incentives:

A 6.2% payroll tax cut (or the employer’s share of Social Security Taxes) on wages paid between March 18, 2010 and December 31, 2010

A business tax credit of 6.2% of wages paid – up to $1,000 – for each worker retained for at least one year (52 weeks)

In exchange the government asks these small businesses to help the other economic underdogs: the unemployed. To receive the benefit the new employees must have been:

Unemployed (or only working part-time) for at least 60 days

Hired between February 3, 2010 and January 2011

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2. The On-the-Job-Training (OJT) Program

Backed by $2.8 million in federal funds under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the OJT program offers businesses up to $50,000 in grants to offset the cost of training new employees, with a maximum of $5,000 per trainee. The State reimburses 30% of the new employee’s pay until the training period is over, with an additional 20% if the trainee has been unemployed for a long period of time.

The program applies to companies operating at a physical business location in New York State. Private sector, for-profit and non-profit businesses are eligible to apply, as well as intermediaries that represent a business membership. The new hires must be training to work full-time (35 hours or more) and be paid at least $10.00 per hour.

For more information, send an e-mail to the New York State Department of Labor at Put your contact information in the body of the e-mail, with “Intent to Apply” in the subject line.