The Michigan Department of State announced on Wednesday that it will be temporarily laying off more than 900 members of its staff. The layoffs will begin on April 26 and will last at least two weeks.
The layoffs will apply to staff that cannot work full-time while remaining in compliance with the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order. Most of the staff are employees who typically work in Secretary of State branch offices, which are currently closed. Unemployed staff members will be automatically enrolled in the state’s unemployment program.
“This is an extremely challenging time for our state, our state government and our department,” said Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, in a statement. “This decision was not easy, but is necessary to responsibly steward taxpayer funds at this time.”
More than 1 million people have filed for unemployment in Michigan, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Labor. Nearly 220,000 Michigan residents filed in the week ending April 11 and more than 380,000 filed in the week before. More than 22 million people have filed for unemployment across the nation.
The Department of State layoffs will not affect services available to the public, the state said. Many driver and vehicle transactions can be carried out online and transactions for automobile, motorcycle and watercraft renewals can be completed at self-service stations.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recently temporarily extended the expiration of valid driver’s licenses, state identification cards and commercial vehicle registrations that were set to expire during the coronavirus emergency declaration. The extensions will last until June 30.
“In times of crisis and uncertainty, the last thing you want to think about is having to renew your driver’s license or state ID card,” Whitmer said in a statement “It is my sincere hope this order gives all Michiganders with expiring identification some peace of mind as we continue our united front to slow the spread of COVID-19 across our state.”
A list of services available online can be found here.
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