State of Michigan to participate in federal work share program to protect workers

LANSING — The state of Michigan has announced it would participate in the federal Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) Work Share program to help offset budget implications as a result of the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As part of this program, impacted state employees will take two temporary layoff days per pay period now until July 25 resulting in up to $80 million in decreased wage costs.

“As we continue to combat COVID- 19, it’s clear that we’re facing unprecedented challenges that will lead to serious budget implications for the state of Michigan,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “Utilizing this federal program keeps state employees working so they can continue to provide critical services to Michiganders and protects their paychecks so they can continue to support their families.”

This federal program allows the state to keep employees working with reduced hours, while employees collect partial unemployment benefits to make up a portion of the lost wages. State managers at the 17 level and above will not participate in Work Share but will take one layoff day every other pay period resulting in an approximate 5 percent reduction in gross pay. More than 31,000 state employees will be impacted.

Impacted employees will retain their health insurance and other benefits and will be automatically enrolled into the unemployment process to help ensure they have the support they need during this challenging time.

Last month, Governor Whitmer announced she was taking a 10 percent pay cut and directed her executive team and cabinet appointees to take a 5 percent pay cut for the remainder of the fiscal year. Additionally, the Executive Office of the Governor will participate in the Work Share program.

The layoffs do not impact anybody working on the front lines of the COVID-19 response. Law enforcement, the prison system, veterans’ homes, and other key health and human services all remain fully staffed with on-site employees. — G.G.