Bill is part of a package to increase weekly unemployment relief, extend assistance to 26 weeks, among other reforms

ANN ARBOR, Mich., Feb. 26, 2021 — House Democratic Floor Leader Yousef Rabhi (D-Ann Arbor) introduced House Bill 4341 yesterday 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.

“Workers deserve unemployment insurance when they lose their jobs, but our unemployment system leaves too many people out,” Rabhi said. “Many Michiganders have been unable to work due to COVID-related reasons, like school closures. Even though these are not the fault of employees, they were only able to claim unemployment insurance because the governor covered them with a temporary executive order. Our laws did not anticipate the widespread disruption of a pandemic, and they need to be changed so that we can fully protect Michigan workers both in this crisis and in the future.”

HB 4341 will expand eligibility to receive unemployment relief to include those who must stay home to self-isolate, care for an ill family member, or care for children if schools close during a state declared emergency concerning an infectious disease. The bill also waives the work search and work registration requirements during a pandemic, when available jobs are likely scarce.

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.

Rabhi joined in calling for legislative Republicans to advance the legislation, which was referred to the House Committee on Government Operations. The package takes significant steps toward providing much-needed relief to workers during the ongoing pandemic.