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

LANSING , Mich., Feb. 25, 2021 — State Rep. Terry Sabo (D-Muskegon) introduced House Bills 4335 and 4342 today as part of House Democrats’ Hardworking Michigan Recovery Plan, a plan that will provide immediate relief to Michigan residents and help make sure no worker is left behind during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“This plan will begin to update weekly benefits to 2020 levels,” said Sabo. “This will help workers to pay for household bills and fix eligibility problems caused by COVID-19 so they can receive the assistance they need as quickly possible. The reforms proposed in this package are long overdue, and together will ensure we are providing the relief Michiganders deserve both throughout the ongoing pandemic and well into the future.”

HB 4335 will increase the weekly maximum for unemployment support from $362 to $593. This figure has not been adjusted in nearly two decades, and Michigan is one of the lowest in the Midwest.

HB 4342 will ensure only the separating employer will be used to determine a non-monetary disqualification for benefits, which addresses a problem brought to light during the pandemic where previous employers in an unemployed workers base period were holding up and disqualifying workers from receiving unemployment. The bill would codify Gov. Whitmer’s Executive Order 76-20.

Other measures in the package include:

  • Restoring the number of benefit weeks from 20 weeks to 26 weeks, reversing the reduction to 20 weeks passed by legislative Republicans in 2012.
  • For those not at the maximum benefit level, increases unemployment assistance from 4.1% to 6.1% of a worker’s highest quarter earnings.
  • Allowing low wage school employees to collect unemployment benefits during the summer and winter breaks.

Sabo joined in calling for legislative Republicans to vote on the package.