MICHIGAN, USA — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called a proposed back-to-work incentive a "win-win-win" during a Monday press conference, saying it will "help employers, help people, help our economy.”
Eligible employers can use funds from the workshare program to give returning employees $300 a week through Sept. 4.
“This is how we encourage people to get back to work without paying a price or making false choices.”
“Normally a layoff prevention tool, now it’s an incentive to get people back into the workforce,” says Andy Johnston, head of Government Affairs for the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce.
He's referring to the governor's proposal to use money from the state's workshare program.
“What makes it a really good idea is that there’s already federal dollars set aside for the workshare program, so we won't be using any other stimulus dollars,” Johnston said.
Johnston says he appreciates the creativity of the proposal, but that it’s not going to make sweeping change.
“Nothing is going to be the end-all be-all silver bullet to end the talent crisis that we’re facing currently.”
Johnston hears about the need for more specific incentives that benefit workers in more direct ways.
“We hear about childcare, we hear about housing, we also hear about the federal $300, and removing those incentives.”
At the end of May, data from the job search site Indeed showed that when a state announced it would be prematurely ending the federal $300 unemployment, three days after that announcement, a state’s share of clicks on the site was up on average between 3 and 4%.
“So there’s a lot of barriers that we can break down," Johnston says, "and there’s other incentives we can create to help address this issue.”
Gov. Whitmer said she plans to work with the legislature to expand the workshare $300 to new employees soon. No official date has been announced for the start of the new incentive.
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