Over the past 12 months, the State of Michigan reportedly accepted nearly 160,000 unemployment claims from workers with five of Michigan’s largest employers. In a twist, however, the claims were not filed by the workers but by their employers.
“DaimlerChrysler (DCX), Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Delphi and Visteon have partnered with the United Auto Workers and the State of Michigan in a new program that allows these employers to file unemployment claims on behalf of their hourly workers during plant shutdowns or other large-scale layoffs,” David Plawecki, a deputy director for the Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth, reported.
With the partnership, the five companies electronically file unemployment claims with the state’s Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) for their laid-off employees.
“From December 2002 through this past November – the program’s first full year – we processed 158,423 new and reopened unemployment claims from these five large employers through our EFC program,” Plawecki said. “The process is a major convenience to the workers and greatly reduces the workload for the UIA’s telephone and Internet claims taking processes.”
With the employer filed claims program, the participating employer submits an electronic file to UIA listing those laid off during the shutdown or layoff. The agency processes the information and sets up new or additional claims for the workers. The agency then sends notices to the affected workers, telling them of their eligibility for benefits.
The laid-off workers are still required to phone the agency’s interactive voice response system – called MARVIN – once every other week to certify that they are out of work and meet the unemployment program’s eligibility requirements before jobless checks can be issued.
UIA is working to expand its employer filed claim process to other large Michigan employers. In fact, recent changes to the agency’s administrative rules require larger employers with a history of mass layoffs to file unemployment claims on behalf of their employees. Ultimately, the agency expects that from 20 to 25 percent of its unemployment claims will be filed through the EFC program.
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