UPDATED: Highlights of the Latest Executive Order on Unemployment Benefits

By Rebekah Page-Gourley posted 05-08-2020 09:48

  

On Thursday, May 7, 2020, Governor Whitmer rescinded Mich Exec Order No 2020-57 and issued Mich Exec Order No 2020-76, effective for the duration of the declared state of emergency. The new order continues the temporary expansion of unemployment benefits during COVID-19 and includes all provisions outlined in the prior order. In addition, the new order temporarily suspends MCL 421.32(c) in order to allow the Unemployment Insurance Agency to review only an individual’s most recent job separation (the one causing their current unemployment) to determine the individual’s nonmonetary eligibility and qualification for unemployment benefits. Mich Exec Order No 2020-76 states that individuals are not required to have satisfied the requirements of subsections MCL 421.29(2) and MCL 421.29(3) as relating to base period employer separations other than the most recent one.

Mich Exec Order No 2020-76 otherwise continues the provisions outlined Mich Exec Order No 2020-57, which was largely the same as the previous orders with a few notable additions include the following:

  • Clarification of the language of a few of the COVID-19-related reasons for leaving work involuntarily. For example, instead of displaying “the symptoms of COVID-19,” the individual need only display “at least one of the principal symptoms of COVID-19, which are fever, atypical cough, and atypical shortness of breath.” The new order also defines “contact” with someone with a confirmed diagnosis for purposes of health care exposures.
  • Temporary suspension of strict compliance with MCL 421.29(5) so that workers unable to start a new position due to the pandemic after voluntarily leaving a job are not disqualified from benefits.
  • Temporary extension of deadlines to apply for benefits. Like the former order, it provides that an application is timely if it is filed within 28 days of the last day worked. It further provides that “a continued claim filed within 28 days of the last day of the period for which the claimant is instructed to report and has continued to report in a claim series [is] considered to have been filed on time.”
  • Expansion of the work share program. The new order allows temporary approval regardless of whether the employer has met the requirements of MCL 421.28c(1) and (2)(b), and temporarily suspends strict compliance with (1) MCL 421.28c(2)(f), provided that the application contains “a certification that it is in lieu of layoffs that would affect at least 10% of the employees and result in an equivalent reduction in work hours;” (2) MCL 421.28d(1)(b)(i) to allow approval of a shared-work plan “whether or not it includes as a participating employee an employee who has been employed in the affected unit for less than three months before the date the employer applies for approval;” and (3) MCL 421.28d(2)(a) “to allow the reduction percentage of a shared-work plan to be less than 15% and more than 45%, provided that it shall be no less than 10% and no more than 60%.”
  • Provides that MCL 38.68c , involving forfeiture of retirement allowances during state employment, temporarily does not apply to retirants who become employed by the Unemployment Insurance Agency or by the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration on or after the date of the order.

Be sure to follow the Unemployment Insurance Agency website for the latest updates.

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