With many small businesses continuing to struggle to get the workers it needs to get their business – and state economies – back on track, some states are trying to recreate a work-favorable environment again. Montana governor Greg Gianforte is leading the way with a most creative approach to addressing the current labor shortage in Big Sky Country, back-to-work bonuses. Effective June 27, Montana will end the unemployment premium and replace it with a back-to-work bonus of $1200 for each unemployed individual after completing 4 weeks at a new job. The new bonuses will be paid from a $15 million appropriation on a first-come first-served basis through October of this year. Shooting for the same goal but with perhaps more stick and less carrot, Tennessee legislators this week overhauled the state unemployment insurance system and capped unemployment benefits at 12 weeks. By overwhelming majorities in both branches, the legislature increased the weekly maximum (currently the lowest in the nation) by $50 and tied the payout period to the state unemployment rate, all effective in December 2023. Under the legislation, which Governor Bill Lee is expected to sign, only if the unemployment rate increases, does the payout period extend.