Advocacy News – July 20, 2021
Small business owners, agricultural leaders, managers in retail, hospitality, manufacturing and nearly every industry sector across our state are struggling to find job applicants and available workers. The problem? There are too many people without jobs—and too many jobs without people to fill them.
While this is a multi-faceted problem that will not be solved by one bill or one policy change, Senate Bill 501, which was supported by the Michigan Chamber and recently signed by Governor Whitmer, should help. The legislation would require individuals to register for work with a Michigan Works! agency after the individual applied for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits and within the time period prescribed by the Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA). It is important to note that the “work registration” requirement has long been required by the UIA but has been on hold for the past 14 months due to the pandemic.
Work registration, when paired with work search requirements (which were reinstated by UIA on May 30), works to match people currently on UI with employers and current jobs openings as well as apprenticeship and other training opportunities. Michigan Works! offices also work to help break down other barriers to employability job seekers may be facing, including affordable childcare and reliable transportation options.
The legislation would also allow workers temporarily laid off due to a manufacturing shutdown for things like a global microchip shortage to continue to receive UI benefits without looking for a new job. Under current law, workers laid off more than 45 days ago are not eligible for a work search waiver. The legislation recognizes that, in the manufacturing context, certain events triggering a temporary layoff like an equipment retooling, a parts shortage, or a temporary production volume adjustment, can last more than 45 days. The legislation would make sure workers on these types of extended layoffs are protected and manufacturers aren’t losing their workforce before they can begin production again. Frankly, it doesn’t make sense to make them go through the motions on work search. It’s a waste of the employee’s time and a waste of other employers’ time because, in reality, these workers are going back to their auto-related job once the microchip issue is resolved and they are called back.
The Michigan Chamber worked to get this legislation across the finish line because it works to address two very real problems: the microchip shortage and return-to-work strategies.
Please contact Wendy Block with any questions at email@example.com.