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State encourages businesses to utilize Work Share program as they begin to reopen

State encourages businesses to utilize Work Share program as they begin to reopen
Posted at 9:31 AM, May 27, 2020

The State of Michigan is reminding businesses to use the state's Work Share program as they begin to reopen amid the coronavirus outbreak. The program helps employers experiencing economic pain to retain their workforce and bring employees back.

“As we begin the safe reengagement of our economy, our job providers can use Work Share to save money and help more people return to work faster,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a release. “The program can give business owners the resources needed to retain or bring back employees as their customer and business capacity ramps back up. As we continue to phase in sectors of our economy, we must continue to do our part on behalf of the heroes on the front lines of this crisis, including our medical workers, first responders, and other essential workers who are putting their lives on the lines for us every day. We will get through this together.”

The program allows employers to bring employees back with reduced hours while those employees collect partial unemployment. Employers can also utilize the flexible program.

Under the program, a worker gets a reduced salary but is given a percent of their state benefits – plus the extra $600 in federal payments.

“Work Share offers employers solutions to fit their specific business needs by allowing multiple plans with different reduction levels and the ability to choose how many of their workers will participate,” Dept. of Labor and Economic Opportunity Director Jeff Donofrio said. “The program is great for workers too. For the next two months, the federal government provides an extra $600 to employees on workshare providing wage replacement and incentives to return to work from unemployment. The federally funded program also helps workers by preserving the State’s Unemployment Trust Fund to keep their safety net solvent.”

So, if a worker's weekly wages are $1,000 but the employer needs to reduce their salary and hours by 30%, the work share program would give them 30% of their state unemployment benefits plus the extra $600 in federal money through July 2020.

Employers can visit Michigan.gov/WorkShare for a tutorial on how to sign up, FAQs and other resources to participate in the program,