Whitmer: 31K state employees to take temporary layoff days

Coronavirus
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LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan said Wednesday that 31,000, or nearly two-thirds, of state employees will take temporary layoff days through late July as the state confronts a budget shortfall amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced that the state will participate in a federal “work share” program, allowing employees to work fewer hours but collect partial unemployment benefits to make up a portion of their lost wages. The furloughs — two layoff days per two-week pay period for non-managers — will start this Sunday and go through July 25.

Higher-level managers will not be part of the work share program but will take one layoff day every other pay period — a 5% pay cut.

The move will save the state up to $80 million.

“As we continue to combat COVID-19, it’s clear that we’re facing unprecedented challenges that will lead to serious budget implications for the state of Michigan,” Whitmer said in a statement. “Utilizing this federal program keeps state employees working so they can continue to provide critical services to Michiganders and protects their paychecks so they can continue to support their families.”

The layoffs will not affect state troopers, prison guards and others working on the front lines.