LANSING – State Representatives Jim Townsend (D-Royal Oak) and Jim Ananich (D-Flint) said today they stand behind a proposal that will allow workers to collect unemployment while working reduced hours at their jobs. The “Work Share” measure would reduce layoffs by giving employers greater flexibility to reduce employee schedules when fewer people are needed. The Senate-approved bill mirrors one introduced by Ananich and co-sponsored by Townsend last year.

“I look forward to the House approval of work sharing, a measure that will save countless Michigan jobs and create job security for our families even during tough economic times,” Townsend said. “I’m glad to see that Republicans in the Senate have gotten on board with this job saving measure that we supported a year ago, and I hope their counterparts in the House will now follow suit.”

Senate Bill 697, the measure that would allow for work sharing, was unanimously approved by the Senate last month. It allows employees to draw unemployment while working reduced hours without it counting toward the 20-week limit on the duration of unemployment benefits. Today, the bill cleared the House Commerce Committee and is headed to the floor of the House. The bill mirrors House Bill 4516, introduced by Ananich in April 2011.

“Preventing layoffs and creating new jobs must remain the focus for lawmakers in Lansing and Washington,” Ananich said. “This bipartisan effort to create a work-sharing program will help add another common-sense tool for businesses and workers in Michigan.”