Unemployment requirements are now reverted back to the way it was before the pandemic hit Michigan. Temporary expansions in unemployment eligibility and cost-sharing applicable to state unemployment claims established by Gov. Whitmer’s Executive Order 20-76, and temporarily codified in statute, expired on March 31, 2021. The last week that the flexibilities apply was the week ending March 27, 2021.
This reversion includes relaxed eligibility requirements for the Work Share program. Employers must meet and maintain the traditional requirements for Work Share plans established on or after March 28, 2021. These requirements include:
- Employee hours may be reduced by a minimum of 15% up to a maximum of 45%.
- Experience account balance must have a positive reserve.
- The employer must have paid wages for at least 12 consecutive calendar quarters prior to the date of their work share application.
- The number of affected workers in a unit that would be impacted by layoffs must be at least 15%.
- Workers are required to have been employed in the affected unit for at least three months prior to the date of the employer’s work share plan application.
This reversion, however, will not impact employers who have an approved work share plan prior to the expiration of the temporary flexibilities. Yet, when the current work share plan based on those flexibilities expires, any renewed plan must meet the traditional statutory requirements for qualification.
In addition, COVID-19 related reasons for regular unemployment claims are no longer applicable as of March 28, 2021. An individual will no longer be considered to have left work involuntarily for medical reasons if that individual leaves work for any of the following reasons:
- Being under self-isolation or self-quarantine in response to elevated risk from COVID-19 due to being immuno-compromised.
- Displaying at least one of the principal symptoms of COVID-19, which are a fever, atypical cough, and atypical shortness of breath.
- Having contact in the last 14 days with someone with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19.
- Caring for someone with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19.
- Having family care responsibilities as a result of a government directive.
This situation applies to separations on claims established with an effective date of March 28, 2021 forward. If a claimant has already been determined to be eligible under the previously existing provisions based on a claim filed prior to March 28, 2021, they will continue to be eligible for benefits.
Employees who are affected by COVID-19 might be denied regular unemployment insurance (UIA), but may be eligible for pandemic unemployment insurance (PUA).
Starting March 28, employers will again be charged for any unemployment benefits that were exempted because of the pandemic. Any benefits paid to a claimant who is laid off or placed on a leave of absence will be charged to the account of the involved employer or employers.
Furthermore, claimants on a leave of absence or who quit work for one of the previously allowed COVID-19 related reasons will be disqualified or ineligible for benefits on a state claim due to the expiration of the statutory provision. Depending on the specific COVID-19 related reason; however, the individual may be eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). If an individual is on a leave of absence effective March 28, 2021, that individual will be considered employed as provided for in Section 48(3) of the Michigan Employment Security Act.
Finally, the filing of a claim has to be done again within the traditional 14 days. A new, additional, or reopened claim for unemployment benefits filed within 28 days of the last day the claimant worked will no longer be considered to have been filed on time. However, this requirement will not apply to PUA claims.
Source: State of Michigan 3/30/21, Mlive 3/31/21