A reader of the blog sends me to this article from SmartMoney:
Halloran says the former convicts are among his best employees. “They never miss a day, get drug tested and will work any shift,” he says.
Hiring ex-felons is an experiment that hundreds of business owners have tried — and one that state and federal governments have supported with tax breaks. Uncle Sam offers businesses a credit of up to 40 percent of income taxes on the first $6,000 of wages paid to each former inmate they hire, a deal similar to those offered for hiring from other targeted categories, like welfare recipients and the disabled….
For the most part, the ex-cons are humbled by circumstances and grateful for any job they can get. “‘Oh, thank you for giving me this job!’ isn’t something you hear from the general population,” says Karim Khowaja, who operates 16 Dunkin’ Donuts in downtown Chicago and has hired at least six ex-cons in the past 18 months. “They are very humble.” Apparently, working a coffee counter, sweeping floors or doing anything useful is better than being restricted to a half-way house — a step up from prison, but not a leap. What’s more, keeping a steady job is generally the only way an inmate can leave transitional housing and earn, say, a weekend pass to visit family.
. . .
Bob Strauss has owned Chicago convenience stores since the mid-1970s. Over the years, Strauss has hired as many as 80 employees qualified for the favorable tax treatment, including ex-cons. “It isn’t altruistic,” says Strauss; he’s reaped thousands of dollars in tax credits each year.
. . .
“You would be ridiculous not to [use] the program,” agrees Sherri Modrak. Modrak manages nine Chicago-area McDonald’s franchises; they employ about 15 tax-qualified employees a year in each of their restaurants and save, on average, $70,000 a year in payroll taxes. “It’s free money,” she enthuses.