Michigan aims to save $80 million by temporarily furloughing 31,000 employees through July

click to enlarge Michigan aims to save $80 million by temporarily furloughing 31,000 employees through July
State of Michigan

The State of Michigan announced Wednesday that it would temporarily lay off more than half of all state employees to compensate for the state's growing deficit as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said that those 31,000 employees expected to be impacted — which do not include state-employed frontline workers, such as law enforcement, corrections officers, and those in veterans services — will take two furlough days off each bi-weekly pay period starting May 17 and will be active through July 25. The reduced hours will allow employees to collect partial unemployment, a federal program they will be automatically enrolled in.

The layoffs are expected to result in an $80 million wage savings for the state.

“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 press release. “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.”

Furloughed employees will not lose their health insurance or other benefits. Those state workers at high-level managerial positions will not be eligible for partial unemployment benefits but will have to take a furlough day every other pay period.

According to the release, Whitmer, too, agreed to a 10% pay cut through the rest of the fiscal year, and her executive staff and cabinet's pay has been reduced by 5%.

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