LANSING (AP) – Governor Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday proposed spending $ 300 million in federal COVID-19 funding to help Michigan businesses pay workers $ 15 an hour.
State grants would cover the difference between an employee’s current hourly wage and $ 15 for three months, provided the company agrees to maintain the $ 15 wage for at least three additional months. The Democratic governor’s office did not immediately say how many people would see larger paychecks under the program, which would require approval from the Republican-controlled legislature.
Negotiations on the allocation of billions of federal aid to coronaviruses are underway. Employers have not been able to add as many workers as they need.
Whitmer included the salary proposal in an economic plan she unveiled at a women’s business center in Grand Rapids. Some facets have already been announced, such as funding for new tuition-free programs for adults 25 and older and frontline workers to attend community college. She also reiterated the need for $ 300 million to provide grants and loans to struggling small businesses, and reiterated her budget proposal to expand access to free or low-cost child care. families at 200% of the federal poverty line.
As part of another new proposal, the state Unemployment Insurance Agency would hire an additional 50 full-time employees to help claimants who, as of this week, must actively seek work to qualify for benefits. benefits. This requirement had been lifted for more than 14 months.