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31,000 state workers will take furlough days

Gretchen Whitmer at a podium

The state has ordered 31,000 public employees to take furlough days temporarily to help deal with the impact of COVID-19 on the state budget.

Stay-at-home orders and business layoffs have reduced economic activity, which means less tax revenue. And the state is required to keep its budget balanced.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced the furloughs Wednesday.

“State employees do amazing work on behalf of the people of Michigan," Whitmer said. "These temporary layoffs are not a reflection of the importance of their work or a reflection of their dedication, but rather, the reality of how COVID-19 has impacted their ability to do their work.”

Whitmer says a federal program will help reduce the burden on state workers.

“This federal program allows the state to keep employees working with reduced hours while employees collect partial unemployment benefits to make up a portion of lost wages.”

The reduced hours will start next week and continue through July 25th. The state will save $80 million. Public safety and frontline health workers will not be affected. The governor says she and members of her cabinet will also return a portion of their paychecks to the state Treasury.

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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