With the economy as it is many people are finding it difficult to get a job. Having a criminal record makes that process even harder. But why should you hire a felon?
Many felons have found that even if they’ve paid their debt to society, no one wants to take a chance on them. But until they find job they can’t start building a future for them and their families. Having no job is one of the main reasons felons re-offend. And with recidivism rates reaching as high as 79% it’s time we did something about this.
Any business that hires a felon can get paid up to $2,400 in tax breaks
So, hiring a felon will help rehabilitate and create opportunities for someone to start a new life. But that’s not the only reason you should think about doing it. The US Army is just one of many employers have found that felons often make the best employees. And yes, as our headline suggests, there’s also a financial reward for companies that hire felons.
The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) was introduced to help more felons find work. As a result more and more companies are beginning to open their doors to people with a criminal record.
How does it work?
You get a maximum tax credit of $2,400 for every adult felon you hire. There is no limit to the number of felons a company can hire.
It works like this. You get 25% of the first‐year wages, or $1,500, for those people employed for at least 120 hours. You get 40%, or $2,400, for those employed 400 hours or more.
The employer qualifies for a government bond of between $5,000 and $25,000. This gives employers reassurance. It also reduces any risks you might feel are involved.
Hire a felon to claim your $2,400
You’re probably not going to pick up the phone right now and hire a felon today (Or maybe you are?). But there are a few conditions you need to meet if you do hire a felon and want to claim your $2,400.
- The ex-felon should be hired no more than one year after their release from jail. Or a year after the conviction if there wasn’t a prison sentence.
- The employee is part of a family earning less than 70% of the lower living standard income level.
- They must have been unemployed during the 60 days prior to starting work. But they can have worked fewer than 40 hours for someone else during the prior 60-day period.
Pretty straightforward. But there are a couple of caveats. The person you hire can’t be a relative. And you can’t just fire a current employee and hire a felon to take advantage of the tax break. Of course, if the original employee quit or was fired for a good reason then that’s not a problem. (I think it’s fair to say firing people for no good reason is a bad idea – not to mention illegal.)
We appreciate that if you’ve never hired a felon before it can feel like you are taking a risk. But thousands of companies are hiring felons every day. And enjoying the benefits. And by benefits we don’t just mean the $2,400 tax break. A recent study of the US Army showed that felons are more likely to get promoted faster. And many companies that hire felons say that they are the most hard-working and loyal workers.
You can tell us what you think about hiring felons in the comments below.
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