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Michigan’s Work Share program saves state trust fund millions

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Posted at 5:42 AM, Aug 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-20 05:42:50-04

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Work Share program has played an important role in helping Michigan’s economy and preserving the State’s unemployment trust fund as businesses continue to reopen.

According to data reported by the U.S. Dept. of Labor, Michigan leads the nation in Work Share participation with more than 18% of all national Work Share participants. The most recent data was released for week-ending July 18.

The federally funded program has provided $450 million in benefits; witnessing tremendous growth. The program has helped more than 2,500 Michigan employers keep their workforce on the job as well as help people become re-employed.

Work Share allows employers who are still experiencing decreases in customer demand to bring back laid-off workers with reduced hours while employees collect partial unemployment benefits to make up for the lost wages. Employers have also utilized the Work Share program to retain their skilled workforce while avoiding layoffs.

“Work Share has been a win-win for employers and employees as the economy continues to struggle from the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses of all sizes have taken advantage of the program to reopen or keep operations going while saving thousands of dollars on payroll,” said Dept. of Labor and Economic Opportunity Director Jeff Donofrio. “More importantly, Michigan workers have been able to return to work with partial unemployment benefits making up for lost wages. Work Share can continue to be a creative solution for Michigan businesses during this crisis.”

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Executive Order offered employers greater flexibility as they restarted their business and brought employees back from unemployment by allowing most employers to qualify for the program.

Before the pandemic started, just 40 Michigan employers and 437 workers participated in the program.

Since the passage of the CARES Act, the Work Share program has been 100% federally funded. The program allows employees to earn both a percentage of state unemployment benefits and the additional $600 in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation-even though the $600 federal payment ended on July 25.

“The Chamber has been a strong proponent of Michigan’s Work Share program to help businesses navigate the ongoing challenges of the constantly changing COVID-19 crisis. As businesses adjust to changing demand and staffing needs during this uncharted pandemic, we encourage them to utilize proven tools to help alleviate some of their economic burden during an already difficult time,” said President and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber Sandy K. Baruah.

Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly.

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