Whitmer Expands Unemployment Benefits

Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive order today temporarily expanding unemployment benefit eligibility through April 14 in another response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Under the executive order, unemployment benefits are extended to:

  • Workers who have an unanticipated family care responsibility, like child care due to school closures or carrying for a loved one who becomes ill;
  • Workers who are sick, quarantined or immunocompromised and do not have access to paid leave time or are laid off; and
  • First responders in the public health community who become ill or are quarantined.

Ms. Whitmer also announced benefits would be extended from 20 to 26 weeks, the application eligibility period would be increased from 14 to 28 days and the normal in-person registration and work search requirements will be suspended.

Further, the order says an employer or employing unit will not be charged for unemployment benefits if their employees become unemployed because of an executive order requiring them to close or limit operations. Ms. Whitmer earlier today issued an executive order closing bars, restaurants other than for carryout and delivery, gyms, movie theaters and most recreational public spaces.

“While we work together to mitigate the spread of coronavirus, we must do everything we can to help working families,” Ms. Whitmer said in a statement. “This executive order will provide immediate relief to those who can’t go to work, and who rely on their paycheck to put food on the table for themselves and their families. I urge everyone to make smart choices at this time, and to do everything in their power to keep themselves and their loved ones safe.”

Ms. Whitmer has asked the U.S. Small Business Administration for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan Declaration for the state that would free up low-interest loans for small businesses.

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