July 20, 2021 | Lansing, MI | AMN – Today, Governor Whitmer signed Senate Bill 501, which allows workers temporarily laid off due to a manufacturing shutdown to continue to receive unemployment 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. SB 501 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.
“Manufacturing workers are the backbone of Michigan’s economy, ” said Governor Whitmer. “This bill will help Michigan come back to work stronger than ever by ensuring that skilled manufacturing workers can stick with their employers during a temporary manufacturing shutdown, such as the shutdown caused by the global chip shortage. In addition to signing this bill, I will continue to urge President Biden to continue his efforts to address this critical shortage both in the short and long term. It’s clear that we need to do everything we can to boost domestic semiconductor manufacturing, especially of auto-grade wafers, to ensure we’re getting at the root of the problem and protecting the hundreds of thousands of hard-working union members and their families that support this vital industry.”
The bill also requires individuals to register for work through a Michigan Works! agency.
“The global chip shortage is a huge hurdle for our manufacturers and their employees right now. With my bill, workers on extended layoff are protected and manufacturers aren’t losing their workforce before they can begin production again,” said Senator Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth. “It’s also important we restart registering for work at our local Michigan Works! Offices where they have a proven record connecting people with jobs and job training.”
“We are very happy to have been able to work with the policy team at the Unemployment Insurance Agency and with Sen. Horn to craft a solution that will empower manufacturers who face a supply shortage to keep their employee eligible for benefits during short-term layoffs,” said Dave Worthams, Director of Human Resource Policy for the Michigan Manufacturers Association. “This will, in the long term, help keep people employed and Michigan’s economy strong. Additionally, we appreciate being able to continue the work that Michigan Works! agencies do to bring more people back to the workplace by helping them with their job searches.”
SB 501 was sponsored by Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, and a copy of the bill can be found here.