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Coronavirus Impact: How to Reduce Impact on Employees

detroit employer coronavirus decisionsThere does not seem to be any industry or part of life that has not been impacted by the now global pandemic known as Coronavirus.  With all the state and federal mandated closures, so many small and medium sized businesses are impacted by the virus, and have been faced with either curtailing, or abruptly stopping operations.  Employers with hourly employees, or employees who cannot work remotely due to the nature of the job, are faced the difficult decision of terminating employees.

In an attempt to mitigate the number of terminations in the State of Michigan, and to preserve rights under yet to be finalized Federal rules, the State through the Unemployment Insurance Agency, has offered some guidance that may be helpful in enduring this uncertain time.

Work Share.  Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency’s Work Share Program allows “employers to maintain operational productivity as business declines instead of laying off workers.”[1]  Under the plan, the “eligible employees work a reduced number of hours in the work week, and receive a portion of weekly unemployment benefits. By participating in Work Share, employers are able to retain trained employees.” In turn, unemployment benefits are based on a percentage of the reduced hours of work and pay.

Lay-offs or Temporary leave. The State is also encouraging employers to place employees on temporary leave and advise the worker if they are expected to return to work within 120 days. This allows employees to remain eligible for unemployment benefits through the state, as well as protections provided under new federal laws enacted to deal with the impact of the virus.

Both of these options allow Employers to reduce payroll costs and keep their skilled workers; still allow employees to keep their job (to return to eventually), and collect unemployment benefits, as well as other benefits during this time period.

If you would like to know more about the programs, and how to navigate through the agencies, do not hesitate to contact us.

[1] https://www.michigan.gov/documents/uia/156_-_Shared_work_fact_sheet_letter_426209_7.pdf


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