Please note that the HireNow program has received very high demand from employers and no new employer pre-registrations are being accepted at this time. If additional funding is made available for the program, pre-registrations for new employers will reopen at a date to be determined.
Employer and employee registration will be available on April 25, 2022, to businesses that pre-registered before April 21, 2022. Pre-registered businesses will be notified via email and prompted to register employees and upload employer verification documents. In the meantime, you can proceed with recruiting, hiring, and training new employees according to HireNow guidelines. Please be sure to check your spam filter and ensure that emails from email@example.com are received.
The HireNow program provides resources to Massachusetts employers (private or non-profit) to assist with hiring new workers by offsetting the cost of onboarding or training new hires. Employers have flexibility to request funding from the program to:
HireNow provides funding to eligible Massachusetts employers who hire and retain Massachusetts residents. Funding is awarded at a flat rate of $4,000 for each eligible newly hired employee. The goal of HireNow is to address hiring challenges experienced by Massachusetts employers because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
HireNow provides resources to enable Massachusetts employers to broaden their recruiting practices to include workers who do not meet traditional qualifications but can fulfill job requirements with additional training upon hire. Employers are encouraged to rethink hiring practices, minimum qualifications, and onboarding processes to consider candidates with qualifications that may differ from traditional standards to increase staffing levels in a tight labor market.
Yes, eligible newly hired employees must earn between the minimum and maximum wage requirements including commissions paid.
The requirement for this program is that any eligible newly hired employee’s work schedule must average 30 hours per week for a minimum of 60 days. If unscheduled leave time is necessary (e.g. sick leave), resulting in less than 30 hours worked in a week, it should be documented. As long as the newly hired employee’s work schedule otherwise averages 30 hours per week, it is acceptable.
Eligible employers include any for-profit or non-profit Massachusetts employer who is in good standing with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Employers should be up to date on all obligations to the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance and the Massachusetts Department of Revenue. Employers that have been debarred from doing business with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or the federal government are not eligible to apply.
Local, state, or federal government employers are not eligible to apply.
Eligible employers must have a Massachusetts business location. Please note that employees’ homes are not considered Massachusetts work locations in any scenario (e.g., even under remote work). The employer must have a physical business location in Massachusetts, but the employer is not required to be headquartered in Massachusetts.
Eligible hires are limited to those scheduled to work a minimum of 30 hours weekly on an ongoing basis.
Eligible new hires must earn between the minimum and maximum wage guidelines posted below to qualify for a payment.
Minimum wages allowed: Wages for eligible hires must be no less than $14.25 / hour for hourly employees, except for tipped employees (see below). Wages for eligible hires must be no less than $684 / week ($35,568 annually) for exempt (i.e., salaried) employees.
Tipped Employees: Wages for eligible hires must be no less than $6.15/hour for tipped employees.
Maximum wages allowed: Wages for eligible hires must be no more than $42.50 / hour for non-exempt (i.e., hourly) employees. Wages for eligible hires must be no more than $85,000 annually for exempt (i.e., salaried) employees.
Eligible hires must be payroll employees (i.e., W2 employees). Temps and contractors are not eligible.
Eligible hires must be Massachusetts residents and must be working in Massachusetts. Accordingly, state payroll taxes for eligible hires must be paid to Massachusetts. All others are ineligible.
Eligible hires are limited to employees hired between March 23, 2022, and December 31, 2022, who were retained for a minimum of 60 days.
A single individual may be enrolled as an eligible new hire only one time during the life of the program, per employer. Even if the employee leaves the company and is re-hired later, an employer may only apply for HireNow funds once for this individual.
To qualify, eligible employers must provide a Primary Contact. This is the person in the employer’s organization who is responsible for administering the grant. They must be authorized to agree to terms and to provide all required information.
No third parties may act as Primary Contact. The Primary Contact for each applicant must be a payroll employee (W2 employee) of the employer applying for the grant.
The Primary Contact name and contact information are considered public information and may be shared publicly.
If a grantee is selected for audit, the Primary Contact is expected to provide documentation, upon request, including, but not limited to personnel records, payroll records, banking information, tax records, or any other materials required to substantiate information submitted by a grantee.
An employer can use the funding reimbursement in a flexible way to support hiring and retention. Some employers may increase on-the-job training so they can hire someone with less experience than normal. Others may choose to pay for additional training from a community college or some other training experts. Some may choose to offer a sign-on bonus to candidates or offer tuition reimbursement benefits. The goal is to facilitate hiring without unnecessary red tape.
Grant funds will only be approved if the employee is retained for 60 days or more.
If all other requirements are met, this could be an eligible new hire that qualifies for funding.
Yes. Eligible employers must have a location of operation in Massachusetts. This can be an individual’s home, if the home is an official business operation location of the organization. The business location must be verifiable via public records.
This program is funded by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
HireNow is a program of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development. The program is administered by the Commonwealth Corporation, a quasi-public state agency based in Boston.
You are still eligible to participate even if you participate in other grant programs.
Funds are awarded for new hires made between March 23, 2022, and December 31, 2022, or until funds are exhausted.
Employers must meet the eligibility requirements. Funds will be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis. Employers will not be awarded funds until an eligible new hire has been retained for at least 60 days and all required information is received. Partial completion of requirements will not result in the disbursement of funds. Because funds are distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis, we highly recommend acting quickly. Funds are likely to be exhausted before the end of the year.
Once an employer creates a HireNow Account and registers a newly hired employee, $4,000 in funds will be reserved. However, reserved funds will not be awarded until all requirements have been met, including business registration, retaining the newly hired worker for at least 60 days, and providing banking information for EFT payment. Failure to complete any part of the process or meet any requirement(s) will result in reserved funds being canceled and used for other applicants.
Employer and employee registration is not yet available. The HireNow account portal is currently under construction and is expected to be ready for your information in early April. In the meantime, you can proceed with recruiting, hiring, and training new employees according to HireNow guidelines. As soon as HireNow Account Portal testing is complete you will be notified via email and prompted to register employees and upload employer verification documents. Please be sure to check your spam filter and ensure that emails from firstname.lastname@example.org are received.
Companies may receive as little as $4,000 for one eligible hire or as much as $400,000 for one hundred eligible hires.
Yes, upon receiving the funds, the employer may choose to use the grant funds for any use that meets program criteria.
There are no size restrictions. Any Massachusetts employer can apply as long as all requirements are met.
Eligible employers must have a Massachusetts business location. Please note: Employees’ homes are not considered Massachusetts work locations in any scenario (e.g., even under remote work). The employer must have a physical business location in Massachusetts. The employer is not required to be headquartered in Massachusetts.
Yes, eligible employees must be Massachusetts residents at the time they are hired.
The receipt of a government grant by a business generally is not excluded from the business’s gross income under Internal Revenue Code and therefore is taxable. However, grant recipients should consult with their tax advisors to determine tax liability for their organization.
Yes, non-profit organizations are eligible to apply.
Yes, for-profit organizations are eligible to apply.
No, governmental entities are not eligible for this grant program.
Yes, public schools are considered government institutions and are therefore ineligible for HireNow funding. Private education institutions should be eligible if all other requirements are met.
Yes, if all other requirements are met, this could be an eligible new hire that qualifies for funding. Note they would need to be hired as a W2 employee to work a minimum of 30 hour per week and retained for a minimum of 60 days.
Please use the “Help & Support” form below to submit questions or request support. Monday through Friday from 9 am – 5 pm you may call (617) 789-8573 for live support.