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During Small Business Week, UIA spotlights employer resources to hire, retain workers and learn about jobless issues
May 04, 2023
In recognition of National Small Business Week, which celebrates the contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners, the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) is highlighting its employer services, including the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC), Employer Seminars, the Office of Employer Ombudsman, and the Michigan Employer Advisor monthly newsletter.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has proclaimed April 30 to May 6 as Small Business Week in Michigan, celebrating the role small businesses play in creating jobs, enriching local communities, and fostering entrepreneurship as one of the best pathways to the American Dream.
“Our priority is to offer exceptional service to all employers and claimants with navigating the unemployment insurance system,” said UIA Director Julia Dale. “In the spirit of Small Business Week, we want to make sure small business owners know about UIA’s programs to provide the support needed to help them grow and thrive.”
The Work Opportunity Tax Credit allows businesses to earn federal tax credits for hiring employees who traditionally have barriers to finding employment.
Employers can earn tax credits from $2,400 to $9,600 for hiring qualified veterans, eligible worker categories including long-term unemployment recipients, ex-felons, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Social Security recipients, workers with a physical or mental disability; or applicants who live in designated communities.
WOTC is a one-time tax credit for each new hire and there is no limit to the number of new hires who can qualify an employer for a tax credit. Visit Michigan.gov/WOTC for more information on eligible worker categories, required online forms and a helpful step-by-step video that explains how to apply.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, State Workforce Agencies issued about 2.5 million WOTC certifications in 2022.
Sign up for Employer Seminars
Another way that UIA supports small business is with the return of Employer Seminars through the Office of Employer Ombudsman (OEO). Beginning this month, employers can schedule seminars that offer an opportunity to engage with expert speakers, learn about regulatory changes, gain valuable insight about the unemployment insurance program, hands-on assistance in navigating the Michigan Web Account Manager (MiWAM) portal, and other helpful information.
To schedule an Employer Seminar, e-mail UIA-EmployerAdvisor@Michigan.gov.
OEO’s team of dedicated business professionals can assist employers with issues pertaining to employer liability, successorship, quarterly reporting and more. Whether it is a specialized issue or a general overview, OEO is committed to delivering exceptional service and achieving customer satisfaction in every phase of assistance. Contact the office at 1-855-484-2636. TTY customers call 1-866-366-0004.
Other UIA programs, services for small businesses
- The Work Share Program is an option for employers to reduce employee hours and keep their skilled workforce intact. The employer reduces hours, and the employee collects partial unemployment benefits. The program preserves jobs and a trained workforce during economic declines. For further information on eligibility and program benefits, call 1-855-484-2636 or visit Michigan.gov/WorkShare.
- Registration and Seeking Work Waiver gives employers confidence their trained and skilled workforce is available to return to work when the temporary layoff ends.
- The State Information Data Exchange (SIDES) allows employers to report separation information to UIA electronically for faster, more efficient and secure processing. For more information, visit the Employer Homepage on the UIA website.
- The Advocacy Program offers information, consultation and representation to employers for most appeal hearings at the Michigan Administrative Hearings System (MAHS) level. For more information, call 1-800-638-3994 or visit the Employer Advocacy Program page.
- The Michigan Employer Advisor is a monthly newsletter to keep employers abreast of important issues in the world of unemployment insurance. Read past issues or subscribe to the Michigan Employer Advisor on the Employer Homepage on the UIA website.
The UIA website at Michigan.gov/UIA provides a wealth of information to help employers understand and manage unemployment tax accounts including videos, Frequently Asked Questions, MiWAM Toolkits and more.
UIA Director leads agency reform efforts
Providing exemplary customer service to small businesses that access UIA’s programs and services is a cornerstone of Director Dale’s transformation of the agency. Since Dale was appointed in October 2021 – the agency’s 11th director in as many years – she has:
- Launched the design and installation phase for the agency’s decade-old computer system, replacing it with a user-friendly, state-of-the-art interface for businesses and claimants.
- Created the UIA Modernization Workgroup, consisting of labor, business and jobless advocates to advise the UIA on improvements in how it can better serve employers and workers.
- Secured a more than $2.3 million equitable access and communications grant from the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) Tiger Teams program to redesign and simplify how UIA engages with employers and develop a step-by-step roadmap for accessing agency services.
- Collaborated with the Attorney General’s office as well as local, state and federal law enforcement to bring bad actors to justice and combat fraud at the agency.
- Rebuilt to nearly $1.7 billion (and growing) the UI Trust Fund from which weekly benefits are paid to workers.
- Approved over 76,000 overpayment waivers of state and federal benefits paid during the global pandemic, valued at more than $555 million. More waivers are pending.
- Halted overpayment collections on claims filed since March 1, 2020, and refunded more than $12.5 million to more than 9,900 workers since May 2022.
- Identified initiatives and processes that would ease access to jobless benefits for workers in underserved communities under a $6.8 million USDOL equity grant.
- Reassigned staff and resources to address the largest categories of claims that are contributing to the agency’s case backlogs.
Support for UIA’s reform efforts
Nia Winston, UNITE HERE, in The Detroit News: Unemployment agency workgroup aims to improve accountability
Brian Calley, Small Business Association of Michigan, in Crain’s Detroit Business: Sustaining small business growth requires responsive, efficient government
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