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Michigan Works Share Plans Allow Expanded Unemployment Compensation for Employees

Business Law COVID-19 Employment Law

As a part of Michigan’s COVID-19 relief, Governor Whitmer expanded the reach of federal unemployment benefits to Michigan Work Share Plan participants under Executive Order 2020-57.  Work Share Plans allow Michigan employers to normally reduce employee hours and compensation by a set amount and affected employees can collect partial unemployment benefits at the same time while still employed and working reduced hours.

Under the new executive order employees who are still working and a participant under a Work Share Plan qualify for the federal CARES Act payment of $600 a week of supplemental unemployment.  Currently, federal supplemental payments are funded and authorized until July 31, 2020.  This is a fantastic opportunity for Michigan employers to retain active employees and simultaneously qualify them for federal supplemental benefits while those employees are still working.

A Work Share Plan application is filed through an employer’s unemployment insurance account online through the Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA).  Employers must certify that during the term of the plan, the employer will not lay off any covered employee.  A certification must also state that the plan is in lieu of layoffs that would affect at least 10% of employees and result in an equivalent reduction in work hours of at least 10% for covered employees.  Employers may choose how long the plan lasts and the extent of the wage and work hour reduction (from a range of 10% to 60%).  Employers may have multiple plans for different employee work units and plans may be modified at any time based on changed circumstances or the need to terminate the plan.

If you considering a Work Share Plan or are seeking to reopen your business during the COVID-19 pandemic, please contact the employment and business attorneys at Shinners & Cook, P.C. to assist you with resolving your issues.