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.

HireNow Program Guidelines

Eligible Employers

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.

Cannabis companies are not eligible employers for the HireNow program as it is funded through the federal government’s American Rescue Plan. For the purposes of this program, any organization that sells cannabis products that are prohibited under federal laws are considered a “cannabis company”.

Commonwealth Corporation will conduct random employer audits to ensure compliance with Hire Now program requirements.

Eligible New Hires

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 guideline posted below to qualify for a payment.

Minimum wages allowed: Wages for eligible hires must be no less than $14.25 / hour for non-exempt (i.e., hourly) employees, except for tipped employees (see below). Wages for eligible hires must be no less than $21,375 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.

Eligible Primary Contact

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.  Business owners/partners who are not W2 employees but can be affirmed as an owner/partner via public records, may act as a primary contact.  But if the individual cannot be affirmed as an owner/partner via public records, then they may not serve as the primary contact for this grant.

The Primary Contact name and contact information is 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.

Additional Requirements

Payment will only be made via EFT (electronic funds transfer). All participating employers must provide banking information via a secure online interface provided. Failure to comply with standard EFT requirements will disqualify an organization from receiving payment.

All participating organizations who are awarded grant funds are subject to audit. Employers who fail to substantiate claims made under this program may be subject to the clawback of funds awarded as well as additional penalties. False claims in the grant application process may be considered fraud and could result in referrals for civil claims or criminal prosecution. Grant recipients are required to retain related documentation for a minimum of seven years.

Application Process


Deadlines & Timeline

The first step for applicants is to create a HireNow account to gain access to the HireNow registration and application platform. We encourage any employer with an interest in this program to create a HireNow account as soon as possible. It can be created in just a few minutes and will ensure that you receive all relevant communications about this grant opportunity. You can click here to learn more and create a HireNow account.

Once a HireNow account has been created, your organization can begin the Employer Registration Process and New Hired Employees Registration Process

Please Note: This process has two critical deadlines:

  • You must register newly hired employees no later than 60 days after their first day of employment with your organization.
  • You must complete the Organization Registration Process and verify that an employee has retained employment for 60 days or more no later than 120 days after their first date of employment with your organization.

Grants are awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis for eligible new hires who start working on or after March 23, 2022. Grants will continue to be awarded for new hires made through December 31, 2022, or until funds are exhausted, whichever comes first. 

Examples of How Funds May Be Used

  • Grant funds could subsidize additional time spent shadowing more experienced colleagues or on extended on-the-job training during an onboarding period
  • Grant funds could be used to hire an external training provider to provide technical skills training
  • Grant funds could be used to incentivize hiring, allowing an employer to offer a sign-on bonus to job candidates if they accept an offer and remained employed for 60 days
  • Grant funds could be used to give the new hire a retention bonus following a certain number of days at the organization
  • Grant funds could be used to offer tuition reimbursement benefits.

How can we help?

Commonwealth Corporation is a quasi-public agency that was established in 1996 under the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development. 

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