UIA programs help employers ease temporary layoffs for workers, retain skilled labor

A man wearing safety gear puts wood through a machine.

The following article was produced and distributed by the State of Michigan

With traditional temporary summer production shutdowns, the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) is proactively working with employers to identify which Agency programs their workforce can use to ease employee layoffs and help retain trained, skilled workers.

The Work Share program allows for reduced hours and partial unemployment benefits, the Employer Filed Claims program eases unemployment claim processing, and the Registration and Seeking Work Waiver program waives the requirement for workers to seek employment during their layoff.

When it comes time to bring workers back from layoff and there are additional jobs available, the federal Work Opportunity Tax Credit Program – administered by the UIA – helps businesses that are having difficulty finding qualified job candidates by offering incentives to hire workers that have traditionally experienced challenges landing a job.

“These programs will make it easier for Michiganders to get back into the workforce and incentivize businesses that are looking to hire and retain skilled workers,” said UIA Director Julia Dale. “Employers will find each of these programs allow them the flexibility to work through a temporary layoff without the worry that they will lose quality employees who have undergone the extensive training that is needed in many of today’s high-skill jobs. The UIA will work directly with employers to ease transition for workers as part of our Agency’s commitment to providing exemplary customer service. Our staff is ready to get to work with Michigan businesses to provide a seamless transition prior to layoffs and a successful return to work.”

“Participating in the Work Share program has enabled me to retain my valued employees by reducing rather than eliminating their work hours,” said Jay Champati, owner and director of Eager Minds Montessori in West Bloomfield. “In our small woman-owned Montessori childcare, our finances have been greatly impacted by the pandemic. My employees have been through many hours of training and have been with our small Montessori for years. Laying them off during the pandemic financial crunch would result in us going out of business, affecting society at large. Work Share has allowed me to keep our essential childcare service in business by keeping us all on the job with a stable income.”

Here are details about each program:

  • Work Share. Allows employers to restart their business and bring employees back from unemployment with reduced hours while employees collect partial unemployment benefits to make up a portion of their lost wages. Employers can also retain their current workforce and can choose which employees are part of a Work Share plan. Employees do not have to report or register for work while participating in Work Share.
  • Registration and Seeking Work Waiver. The waiver precludes employees from having to report, register for work, be available to perform suitable full-time work and seek new employment during the layoff period. This gives employers confidence their trained and skilled workforce is available to return to work when the temporary layoff ends.
  • Employer Filed Claims. Employers can submit unemployment claims information online on behalf of full-time workers who are temporarily laid off. This fast, secure way of transferring claims information allows the employer to better manage the accuracy of the information provided to UIA. Using EFC also means you will have an accurate record of all approved layoffs.
  • Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) The federal program, administered by the UIA, helps businesses that are having difficulty filling job openings by encouraging private, for-profit employers to hire workers from targeted groups that have traditionally experienced difficulty finding work. A tax credit of up to $9,600 is available for each worker employed from labor pools including veterans, ex-felons, persons who qualify for social programs, or those who live in Rural Renewable Counties or Detroit’s Empowerment Zone.

Director Dale has made it a priority to offer exceptional customer service for employers and claimants as well as fight fraud and prosecute bad actors who steal taxpayer money. In the eight months since her appointment as director of the UIA, Dale has:

  • Rebuilt the Trust Fund to $1.4 billion (and growing).
  • Launched a new, user-friendly public website at Michigan.gov/UIA.
  • Authorized 55,000 overpayment waivers – with more to come – and secured from the U.S. Department of Labor a temporary pause on certain collections for those who faced overpayments.
  • Implemented new policies for employees and contractors, including fingerprinting, criminal background checks and an updated ethics policy.
  • Collaborated with the Attorney General’s office to combat fraud at the agency and worked closely with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to bring bad actors to justice.

Questions about the employer programs can be directed to the Office of Employer Ombudsman at 1-855-484-2636. To learn more about services the UIA offers employers, go to the Employer Homepage at Michigan.gov/UIA.

Check out our Job Seekers page for more information about programs and services that can help you get back to work.