Chamber in the News

Senate Passes Unemployment Legislation, Begins Process to Move COVID-19 Business Liability Bills

Advocacy News – Oct. 8

The Michigan Senate advanced two issues the Michigan Chamber has been championing today.

Unemployment (UI) legislation unanimously passed by the Senate would continue “noncharging” employers for COVID-19 related UI benefits and continue increased flexibility for employers participating in the WorkShare program and ensure individuals filing an initial state claim for UI benefits could receive up to 26 weeks of benefits.  The bill specifies these provisions would apply through December 31, 2020—but the legislature could always pass legislation at a future date to continue these provisions further.

The UI legislation is needed after the Michigan Supreme Court issued a decision late Friday finding Governor Whitmer lacks the power to issue executive orders in response to the COVID-19 without consent from the Legislature.  These UI provisions were addressed in Executive Order 2020-72.  Without legislation, employers would be immediately charged for all COVID benefits and many employers would lose the ability to participate in WorkShare.  The 26 week provision is needed to ensure that Michigan is eligible for federally authorized extended benefits and those benefits are 100 percent federally reimbursed.

On a related note, the Senate added a “tie-bar” to the UI bills, specifying they cannot be signed into law unless the COVID-19 liability bills the Michigan Chamber has been pushing are also signed into law.  We feel this is an important development and will hopefully bring lawmakers and the Governor together to negotiate an agreement on the liability legislation.

The UI bills now go to the House for consideration.  We expect the COVID-19 liability bills to be fully debated in the Senate in the coming days.  All of the bills could be on the Governor’s desk sometime next week.

Please contact Wendy Block with any question at wblock@michamber.com.

Advocacy News – Oct. 8

The Michigan Senate advanced two issues the Michigan Chamber has been championing today.

Unemployment (UI) legislation unanimously passed by the Senate would continue “noncharging” employers for COVID-19 related UI benefits and continue increased flexibility for employers participating in the WorkShare program and ensure individuals filing an initial state claim for UI benefits could receive up to 26 weeks of benefits.  The bill specifies these provisions would apply through December 31, 2020—but the legislature could always pass legislation at a future date to continue these provisions further.

The UI legislation is needed after the Michigan Supreme Court issued a decision late Friday finding Governor Whitmer lacks the power to issue executive orders in response to the COVID-19 without consent from the Legislature.  These UI provisions were addressed in Executive Order 2020-72.  Without legislation, employers would be immediately charged for all COVID benefits and many employers would lose the ability to participate in WorkShare.  The 26 week provision is needed to ensure that Michigan is eligible for federally authorized extended benefits and those benefits are 100 percent federally reimbursed.

On a related note, the Senate added a “tie-bar” to the UI bills, specifying they cannot be signed into law unless the COVID-19 liability bills the Michigan Chamber has been pushing are also signed into law.  We feel this is an important development and will hopefully bring lawmakers and the Governor together to negotiate an agreement on the liability legislation.

The UI bills now go to the House for consideration.  We expect the COVID-19 liability bills to be fully debated in the Senate in the coming days.  All of the bills could be on the Governor’s desk sometime next week.

Please contact Wendy Block with any question at wblock@michamber.com.