Good afternoon, .

Developments continue to occur day and night as our state and nation work to combat the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and support those businesses and workers impacted by the pandemic. MMA is speaking on a daily basis with the Whitmer Administration to address our industry’s most pressing concerns and is working to keep members informed.

State Issues Guidance on Critical Infrastructure Workers

The State of Michigan has released new guidance for businesses trying to determine if their business should remain open due to the requirements of Executive Order 2020-20.

Compliance Resources for Federal Paid Leave Mandate

MMA will host another conference call in partnership with Honigman LLP on Monday, 3/30/20, at 10:15 a.m. ET to help members comply with the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which goes into effect 4/1/20. The new law expands the Family Medical Leave Act to all companies with fewer than 500 employees in the case of certain “qualified needs” related to COVID-19 and requires employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide Paid Sick Leave to employees impacted by COVID-19. The cost to employers for both of these programs will be offset through tax credits.

Attendees may dial-in with the following information:

  • 877-746-4263
  • Access Code 0284902#

Additionally, the U.S. Department of Labor will be hosting a national online dialogue allowing employers to provide comment on the implementation of the FFCRA. The ideas and comments gathered from this dialogue will inform US DOL guidance, resources, tools and outreach approaches. Those interested in participating can do so at from March 23 through March 29, 2020.

New Order Further Expands UI and Employer Relief

Last night, Governor Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-24 which replaces and expands on her earlier order relating to unemployment eligibility and employer charging of benefits. Specifically, the order:

  • Is effective from 4/16/20 until 4/22/20
  • Expands unemployment eligibility for specified reasons related to COVID-19
  • Allows individuals on a leave of absence granted by their employer to claim unemployment benefits
  • Specifies that “any benefit paid to a claimant that is laid off or placed on a leave of absence” while the order is in place will not be charged to the employers account. Please note that employers who are determined to have misclassified workers will not be able to take advantage of the potential tax savings under this provision.
  • Suspends requirements that an individual be able, available and actively seeking work
  • Expands employer eligibility for shared work programs
  • Extends the maximum duration of state unemployment benefits from 20 weeks to 26 weeks
  • Allows an individual up to 28 days from the last day worked to file for unemployment benefits
  • Establishes that a willful violation of the order is a misdemeanor

In our conversations with the Administration we understand that unemployment claims have surpassed historic volumes. They recommend that individuals try to file their claims at non-peak times in the evening and night hours.

Pending federal legislation (see below) also stands to impact the Michigan unemployment program in the coming days and weeks.

Federal CARES Act Nearing Passage

The US Senate yesterday passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act of 2020 (CARES Act). The US House is anticipated to vote on the measure by the end of the week and send it to President Trump for his signature.

The US House Ways & Means Committee has provided online summaries of the Senate-passed bill.
The bill is far-reaching with many provisions that will impact manufacturers and their employees. Some of the most notable provisions for manufacturers include:

  • Direct payments to individuals and families
  • A $350 billion “Paycheck Protection Program,” which would provide eight weeks of cash-flow assistance through 100 percent federally guaranteed loans to small employers who maintain their payroll during this emergency. If the employer maintains payroll, the portion of the loans used for covered payroll costs, interest on mortgage obligations, rent and utilities would be forgiven.
  • $500 billion in emergency relief to distressed businesses, states and municipalities
  • Tax credits for companies who continue to pay workers through closure or furlough
  • Delay of payroll taxes and access to new immediate tax refunds for businesses to help with cash flow
  • Limitations on executive compensation
  • Expansion of unemployment to more people, further extending benefit duration and increasing benefit amounts
  • Debt relief for six months on all existing Small Business Administration loan products
MMA Update on Personal Protective Equipment Coordination

Michigan manufacturers have mounted an overwhelming response to the need for medical supplies and personal protective equipment. MMA’s Mike Johnston provided an update regarding efforts to coordinate with the State Emergency Operations Center, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget.

We will continue our work to keep you up to date on important developments. As always, please reach out if I or the MMA team can be of assistance.