Michigan Secretary of State laying off 60% of workers

Published: Apr. 22, 2020 at 3:02 PM EDT
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(4/22/2020) - The Michigan Secretary of State's Office is laying of 60% of its staff amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

More than 900 employees will lose their jobs for at least two weeks beginning on Sunday. The layoffs could be extended.

“This is an extremely challenging time for our state, our state government, and our department,” said Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. “This decision was not easy, but is necessary to responsibly steward taxpayer funds at this time.”

Most of the layoffs involve staff members from branch offices statewide, who cannot work full-time from home. All of the laid off workers will automatically get enrolled in the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency system.

Benson said the layoffs will further not affect Secretary of State services available to the public.

The Associated Press reported that nearly 2,000 other state employees will be laid off for the same two-week period. The 2,900 layoffs affect about 6% of the state's 48,000 employees.

The layoffs are expected to save taxpayers about $5 million.

"I've mentioned that I've made a lot of hard choices in the past six weeks. This was one of the hardest," Gov. Whitmer said of ordering the layoffs.