Will Michigan Extend Federal Unemployment Benefits?

Date: August 30, 2021

Michigan Could Extend Federal Unemployment Benefits Again

The extra $300 a week in unemployment benefits for all federally funded COVID-19 related unemployment insurance programs will end September 4, 2021, under a deadline set by the U.S. Congress. Benefits payable under the federal programs will not be paid for any weeks ending after September 4th.

While the Biden administration has said it won’t seek to reinstate the enhanced benefits past the early September expiration date, it has urged states that want to continue the program to do so using COVID relief funds. The U.S. Secretary of the Treasury and the U.S. Secretary of Labor have indicated that states could use some of their shares of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to further extend expanded unemployment compensation and assistance beyond the September 4th end date. Michigan still has $6.5 billion in federal ARPA funds that have not been appropriated and will be the subject of budget negotiations between the legislature and the governor when they return after the Labor Day holiday.

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey made it clear in a press statement that he would not support any effort to use federal ARPA funds, or any funds, to extend the extra unemployment benefits beyond the September 4th end date. “It’s past time to get back to work, as there is an abundance of jobs available,” said Shirkey. “Meaningful work is a key factor in an individual’s mental and physical health. This supplemental increase needs to end as planned.”

In the state House, Representative Beth Griffin released a statement saying that the federal government bonus unemployment payment program must end as scheduled. “Businesses across the state can’t keep their doors open while their potential employees stay home collecting unemployment,” Griffin stated. “It is time to get back to work.”

As reported in NFIB’s monthly jobs report, 49 percent of owners reported job openings that could not be filled, a 48-year record high. A brief survey of NFIB members in Michigan showed that the job shortage in the state is far and above the national average. A startling 95 percent of respondents had open positions, and of those, 96 percent were unable to find qualified workers.

Back in July, NFIB supported the passage of legislation adopted by 26 other states that would have ended Michigan’s participation in the federal extended unemployment benefit program. The legislation was vetoed by Governor Whitmer.

How to use the federal COVID relief funds will be the subject of ongoing negotiations over the coming months, and NFIB will continue to be on guard against attempts to use these monies to further extend unemployment benefits.

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