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Temporary Expansion of Unemployment and Cost Sharing

Temporary Expansion of Unemployment and Cost Sharing

The novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has all but brought the global economy to a halt, and perhaps no industry has felt it’s effects more than restaurant and hospitality. Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed Executive Order No 2020-10 to help provide relief to workers displaced due to the Coronavirus. Specifically the Order addresses the expansion of unemployment eligibility benefits and cost-sharing with employers. The Order specifies that:

  • Workers are to be considered to have left work involuntarily for medical reasons when leaving work due to self-quarantine; or self-quarantine due to a compromised immune system subjecting them to elevated risk with COVID-19; displaying symptoms of COVID-19; having contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 14 days; the need to care for someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19; or a family care responsibility as a result of a government directive.
  • An individual must be deemed laid off if they became unemployed for any of the aforementioned reasons and must seek a registration and work search waiver from the Unemployment Insurance Agency.
  • An individual on a leave of absence due to any of the aforementioned reasons must be considered unemployed unless already on sick leave or receiving a disability benefit
  • An individual who becomes unemployed for any of the aforementioned reasons and files a claim for unemployment benefits within 28 days of their last work day must be considered to have filed on time
  • An employer or employing unit must not be charged for unemployment benefits if their employees become unemployed as a result of an executive order requiring them to close or limit operations.

In addition, there are resources available through the Unemployment Insurance Agency that may be helpful to employers and employees during this time. The first is a program called Work Share. This program provides an option for employers to reduce employee hours as opposed to cutting workforce. It’s meant to help employers retain their skilled workforce and allow employees to remain attached to their job. Employees are able to work a reduced number of hours and receive a portion of their weekly unemployment compensation based on the percentage of reduced hours. There are certain eligibility requirements including that an employee’s hours must be reduced by at least 15% but not more than 45%.

The second resource is called Employer Filed Claims (EFC). EFC allows employers to submit unemployment claims information online on behalf of full-time workers who are temporarily or permanently laid off. This allows employers to better manage the accuracy of the information, as well has providing the ability to have a record of all approved layoffs to match against UIA charges.

As work is done to mitigate the economic effects of the Coronavirus there are ongoing developments. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and provide updates as they are made available.

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