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Whitmer unveils plan to help return workers to jobs

gretchen whitmer at a press conference

As Michigan faces a more than 22% unemployment rate, Governor Gretchen Whitmer is encouraging business owners to call back workers even if it’s just part-time.

She says a state program allows employees to continue to collect partial unemployment benefits until they return to work full-time. It only applies to businesses that can operate under her shut-down orders.

“This gives flexibility to employers who are not able to perform at 100 percent capacity to retain their skilled workforce while savings costs in their payroll,” she said.

Whitmer says with the rate of new COVID-19 cases slowing down, it’s OK to let more businesses re-open.

“What I can say is if that because of where the numbers are headed, we feel confident that if it continues that we will be in that position to continue this re-engagement and stay re-engaged, and I know that’s what everyone wants,” she said.

The program is financed with federal dollars.

The governor also announced that she will testify next week before a congressional subcommittee on Michigan’s COVID-19 response and plans to re-open the state’s economy. She’s also expected to ask Congress to approve funding to help states facing budget shortfalls due to the effects of COVID-19.

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Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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