"Work share" program could help curb layoffs

May 23, 2012

Some Michigan workers who get their hours cut would be able to keep working and draw partial unemployment benefits, under a bill approved by the state Senate. The legislation would create what's called a "work share" program - similar to ones in about two dozen other states.

The idea is to avoid layoffs, and help maintain a skilled workforce.

Dave Jessup is a lobbyist for the Small Business Association of Michigan. He says the program is a good idea. But there are some employers who draw more from the system than they pay in. Jessup says those companies should be disqualified from this program.

"That could have very negative consequences for the overall health of the trust fund for all Michigan employers," he said.   Michigan racked up a $3 billion debt to the federal government for loans it took out to cover its unemployment obligations during the recession. Jessup says it's important to avoid a repeat of that kind of situation in the future.