Work Share Program - May 21, 2021
To all employees:
While we have seen positive momentum as it relates to the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccinations, the impact of the pandemic on summer operations will once again be significant. As a result, the University will again participate in the Work Share program through at least August 1, 2021. Our participation in the program exemplifies our determined efforts to proceed in a way that minimizes the financial impact on our employees to the best of our ability.
What is Work Share?
The Work Share program is offered through the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA). Under Work Share, UIA will pay unemployment benefits to employees based on the 20 percent or 40 percent they will not be working.
Subject to eligibility requirements defined by the State, employees participating in Work Share will likely receive a federal supplemental benefit of $300 per week under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 in addition to partial unemployment compensation from the State. Although we cannot guarantee or promise any federal benefit, we believe we are doing what is required to ensure our Work Share participants are eligible for it.
We anticipate that, due to our expected involvement in the Work Share program, impacted staff members may receive federal and state benefits in addition to their University wages that, depending on their base pay, could more than compensate them for any decrease in wages during their participation in the Work Share program.
If I am placed on Work Share, must I file for unemployment benefits?
No. Individual employees will not need to file for unemployment benefits as part of this program. The Work Share program is entirely employer-driven. Once the UIA approves an employer’s Work Share application, employees are paid unemployment benefits by the UIA in accordance with the details included in the University’s application. According to the state, all employees participating in the programs should be automatically eligible to receive the federal $300 weekly supplement as well.
How will I know if I have been placed on Work Share?
Impacted personnel have been notified about the Work Share program by supervisors and divisional vice presidents over the past week. University leadership determined which functions would be impacted by Work Share based upon anticipated resource needs over the summer. Not all employees within specific bargaining units are being placed on Work Share. We appreciate the many questions that have been raised, as well as the overall understanding that these work reductions are necessary. Many employees also expressed appreciation for the steps the University is taking to manage this process in a way that supports employees to the degree possible.
Where can I find additional information?
The UIA has developed a helpful FAQ for employees participating in Work Share. University Human Resources is also developing its own FAQ, which will soon be available on the UHR website.
If you have any questions about the University's Work Share plan, please contact Dwayne Zuhlke, Director Labor Relations and HRBP Services, at firstname.lastname@example.org.