The City of Marquette will be implementing a Work Share program as a first line counter to anticipated budget shortfalls. Michigan’s Work Share program allows employers to keep employees working with reduced hours, while employees collect partial unemployment benefits to make up a portion of the lost wages. For example, an employee working a 40-hour workweek will be furloughed for eight of the 40 hours, or 20% of the week. The employee will be paid 80% of their salary for the week and collect 20% of the Michigan unemployment benefit they qualify for. The maximum weekly unemployment benefit from the State of Michigan is based on an employee being paid $17/hour regularly who would be entitled to $364 weekly. Our City staff would see 20% of the $364 or $72 weekly. Currently, anyone receiving unemployment benefits due to COVID-19 are also eligible to receive the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation of $600 per week in addition to their Work Share benefit. The City will be filing for benefits for each affected employee and will handle recertifying benefits on a weekly basis.
Excluding emergency responders (Police and Fire), each department will be required to furlough all full-time employees one day a week. The furlough will be one day every week until July 31 and will start next week (June 15). The furlough day can be any day of the week, but departments will be required to remain available to the public for the normal work week. Furlough schedules will be at the discretion of the Department Head.
This action will potentially save the City an estimated $183,000 through the end of July and will be a tremendous help in overcoming the estimated budget shortfall of $1M in the current fiscal year alone.
Taxes will not be withheld from the unemployment benefit payments you receive. Depending on your individual tax situation, you may owe money for taxes for 2020. Please talk with your tax advisor and consider putting some money aside for this purpose.
Payments will automatically be made to you via a Bank of America debit card unless you set up your direct deposit information with the Unemployment Insurance Administration (UIA). I would strongly recommend you go the direct deposit route. Instructions on how to do that are included in the attached guide. If you do not set up direct deposit, your benefits will be loaded on a Bank of America debit card. This is the default payment for your benefits and everyone will receive one of these cards; however, if you set up your direct deposit there will not be anything loaded onto it. Please be aware that there are fees for using the Bank of America debit card and it is highly recommended that you set up direct deposit.
Online Account Information:
When you create and log in to your UIA account online, the website will look the same as the regular unemployment landing page. Your weekly benefit amount for Michigan Unemployment will show, but the Federal benefit ($600) will not show until your claim has been certified by the City. There may be some other things you notice as well, feel free to reach out with questions, but just know that many of the links and things you see will be geared towards the typical unemployed person, not necessarily someone on the Work Share Program. You do not need to search for work at this time.
The attached guide explains how to set up an account and direct deposit. If you require assistance with this process, please make an appointment with me (firstname.lastname@example.org or 225-8104) and I will arrange a time to assist you.