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State provides guidance to employers who considering potential layoffs

(WSAZ)
Published: Mar. 18, 2020 at 4:30 PM EDT
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The Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity has provided guidance to employers on how to avoid potential layoffs.

“We know that many families and businesses are and will experience economic pain as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said LEO Director Jeff Donofrio. “Through Governor Whitmer’s executive action and existing state programs, there are resources for employers affected by COVID-19. We are also strongly urging job providers facing work shortages to place their employees on temporary leave as opposed to termination, so that they may remain eligible for potential federal assistance.”

In terms of work share, the state said if employers are financially distressed but hope to continue operations by cutting back hours, they are encouraged to use the Unemployment Insurance Agency's

which allows employers to maintain employment levels and business operations during declines in regular business activity rather than laying off workers.

When it comes to temporary leave vs. termination, the state said employers are strongly urged to place employees on temporary leave and advise the worker that they expect to have work available within 120-days as opposed to termination. The state said there is no additional cost to employers, employees remain eligible for UI benefits through the state, and employees remain eligible for potential assistance.

The state said these are the steps employers should take when placing employees on temporary, unpaid leave:

• Do not terminate the employee – specify a temporary/indefinite leave with return to work expected that is within 120 days.

• Do not create a contractual obligation to bring the employee back to work – Let the employee know that the situation is fluid and subject to change.

• Provide the employee with a formal

Employers will need to provide their Employer Account Number and Federal Identification Number.

• Communicate to the employee about their rights. Under Governor Whitmer’s recent

workers are placed on leave, or are unable to work because they are sick, quarantined, immunocompromised, or have an unanticipated family care responsibility, are eligible for unemployment insurance benefits.

• Ensure employers are provided information on how to obtain unemployment insurance benefits. A factsheet can be found

• Get each employee’s up-to-date contact information.

• Let employees know if you will be putting updated information on the entity’s website or intranet, if applicable.

• Appoint a single, or limited number of individuals who will field questions, and communicate that information to employees.

• Keep a tally of all questions and answers. Periodically share with employees.

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