Restart Operations While Retaining Employees with Work ShareMay 26, 2020
The State of Michigan recognizes that while the public health crisis unfolds, an economic crisis is happening simultaneously. That’s why Michigan is preparing resources to help businesses retain employees amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Friday, the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Tele-Town Hall answered businesses’ questions about the state’s Work Share program. Darryl Hunter, director of Michigan Unemployment Insurance Tax and Employer Services, joined Brad Williams, vice president of Government Relations for the Chamber, to discuss the program.
Restart and Retain
The goal of the program is to allow businesses to restart operations and avoid layoffs. Instead, employers can keep employees working but at reduced hours while they collect unemployment benefits. This can help businesses bring back workers to restart operations.
“You can bring employees back at a reduced rate,” explained Hunter.
Employees on the program work reduced hours and therefore earn a reduced salary. The employee receives a portion of the company’s unemployment insurance benefits in addition to $600 a week in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance through July under the CARES Act.
To qualify, businesses must:
- Have an unemployment insurance account number
- Obtain approval from applicable collective bargaining unit representatives
- Not modify employee fringe benefits
To qualify, employees must:
- Meet the monetary eligibility to file an unemployment claim
- Discontinue previous unemployment insurance claims
The program gives employers flexibility with their employees. They can adjust hours based on business demand or the amount of work available. Instead of issuing mass layoffs, employers can retain employees with Work Share and bring them back when able to, instead of needing to find and hire new employees.
Employers can reduce hours up to 60% with Work Share, and only two employees are required per plan. For businesses that aren’t prepared to resume operations all at once and need a more gradual alternative, Work Share can provide that flexibility.