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Providing Earnings Supplements to Encourage and Sustain Employment: Lessons from Research and Practice.

Publication Year: 
Personal Author: 
Martinson, Karin.
Hamilton, Gayle.
Briefing Materials
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This brief, published by MDRC, presents findings and lessons based on MDRC-conducted studies of five programs that provided earnings supplements (i.e., programs that provide additional income to low-income individuals after starting employment). Some findings from this initial evaluation are that the earnings substantially increased employment and income, the income earned increased the well-being of the families and children, and the effects of most the programs faded over time after funding ended. Such programs also influenced the number of hours that individuals decided to work, with some opting to work less hours but still earn the same wages due to the supplemental income. Supplement programs worked best when paired with employment services that helped individuals find and keep jobs. Overall, earning supplements provide an effective way to encourage poor individuals to become employed and increase their income, which may lead to benefits for all family members, including more parental time with children and partners. Such programs could be referred to couples via educational programming.

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