Cavanagh sponsors bill as part of package to increase weekly unemployment relief, extend assistance to 26 weeks, among other reforms

LANSING, Mich., Feb. 25, 2021 — Rep. Mary Cavanagh (D-Redford Twp) introduced House Bill 4339 today as part of House Democrats’ Hardworking Michiganders Recovery Plan, which will provide immediate relief for Michigan residents and help make sure no worker is left behind during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“Years ago, Republicans pushed through a draconian cost-cutting scheme that excluded seasonal workers from receiving unemployment support during the off-season.  Artificial barriers restricting access to unemployment resources only punishes hard-working people,” Cavanagh said. “Enough is enough. Access to unemployment benefits during the off-season is often a matter of survival for many Michigan families who work in vital seasonal industries such as agriculture, construction, and many others. It’s time to stop devaluing and dehumanizing entire sectors of the workforce.”

HB 4339 would reinstate eligibility for seasonal employees to collect unemployment benefits during the off-season.

Other measures in the package  include:

    • Increasing the weekly maximum for unemployment support from $362 to $593, and one year later restores indexing this figure to 58% of the state average weekly wage annually.
    • Restoring the number of benefit weeks from 20 weeks to 26 weeks, reversing the reduction to 20 weeks passed by legislative Republicans in 2012.
    • Increasing unemployment assistance from 4.1% to 6.1% of a worker’s highest quarter earnings.

Cavanagh joined in calling for legislative Republicans to vote on the package and provide much-needed relief to workers during the ongoing pandemic.