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New York launches $35M program to promote restaurant hiring despite the tight market

Qualifying restaurants will be granted a $5,000 tax credit, payable ahead of their tax filing, for every net new position they add.
Photograph: Shutterstock

New York has uncorked a $35 million aid program aimed at encouraging restaurants in the state to quickly expand their staffs.

For every net new hire, a qualifying establishment will get a $5,000 credit off their 2021 state taxes, up to a maximum of $50,000 per operation. The money will be forwarded to employers ahead of filing their 2021 tax returns to defray the cost of the staff additions and provide working capital.

The program is limited to independently owned restaurants in New York City and other areas of the state that were particularly hard hit by the pandemic. To qualify, establishments have to prove both a loss of sales from the pandemic and the addition of at least one full-time staffer.

The Restaurant Return-to-Work Tax Credit Program does not include an incentive for potential recruits to accept a job offer from a restaurant. Its launch comes as many operators are struggling just to restaff to pre-pandemic levels.  Many say they’re unable to find enough staff to capitalize on a surge in sales across the business.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo indicated in a statement announcing the program that he sees no disconnect. “This will support the much-needed hiring of workers by these establishments to meet their increased demand," Cuomo said.

New York was one of the states hit hardest economically during the early days of the pandemic, and its restaurants were seen as paying a particularly high cost in lost sales. The Empire State now enjoys one of the lowest rates of new COVID-19 infections.

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