By JACOB KANCLERZ
Capital News Service
LANSING – To reduce layoffs during tough times, Gov. Rick Snyder, legislators and business groups favor a program that allows both businesses and the state unemployment insurance program to contribute to workers’ paychecks. The program, known as work sharing, allows businesses to keep employees during down periods in the economy by reducing their hours and wages. A part of the employees’ lost income is then made up through partial payments of unemployment insurance. The program is an alternative to full unemployment benefits paid to laid-off workers. Unemployment insurance is funded through payroll taxes on Michigan businesses.
By ALEX MITCHELL
Capitol News Service
LANSING— An employee on unemployment is a dent in a company’s finances that never goes away, according to small business owners. “My payments go up every time someone files for unemployment,” said Mick Raich, president of Vachette Pathology in Blissfield. Such dents have Michigan lawmakers scrambling to pay Michigan’s $3.1 billion federal unemployment insurance debt. The amount is second only to what California owes and is the largest one per capita in the nation. “Kicking the can down the road is no longer a viable option, and while there are no silver bullets to resolve the current crisis, doing nothing is a very expensive option,” Wendy Block, director of health policy and human resources for the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, testified at a recent Senate Finance Committee meeting.