The City of Kalamazoo will participate in the federal Unemployment Insurance Agency Work Share Program to address part of an expected $1.2 million budget deficit related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The program is estimated to save the City approximately $500,000 in personnel costs.
The Work Share program will allow the City to retain all staff by reducing working hours where possible and providing partial unemployment benefits to offset lost wages. Participating city employees will reduce their work weeks by up to 50% starting Monday, May 18 thru Friday, July 24. 165 employees will participate in the program, making up roughly 25% of the City’s workforce. Participating employees will retain their health insurance and other benefits.
“The people who work for the City show up for this community every day, whether there is a pandemic or not,” said City Manager Jim Ritsema. “Throughout this situation, our team has adapted and found new ways to keep the City’s work moving forward. While this is not what we were expecting for 2020, I am grateful to have this opportunity to retain everyone on our team for the work that is to come when COVID-19 passes.”
Employees are participating across all departments, including the City Manager’s Office and department heads. Some service requests may experience longer service times as a result of reduced working hours. Public safety officers, water, and wastewater services will not be affected, and residents will still be able to contact the City by dialing 3-1-1 or calling (269) 337-8000.
“COVID-19 has changed how parts of our organization work and how we interact with the people we serve. I appreciate the community’s support and understanding as we adapt to these new circumstances. Regardless of what challenges lie ahead, know that our team will be here for you.”
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