Michigan House Republicans
Bierlein plan gives companies incentive to hire the chronically unemployed, underemployed
RELEASE|June 11, 2024

Hiring and training new employees is a costly and time-consuming process, so companies often won’t take a risk on applicants with long gaps in their work history.

That reluctance makes it even harder for someone who is unemployed or underemployed to find a new job.

It’s a vicious cycle.

State Rep. Matthew Bierlein is working to fix this problem by introducing legislation that would give a tax credit to companies in order to incentivize them to take a chance by hiring these people.

“We have a large population of people here in Michigan who are chronically unemployed,” said Bierlein, R-Vassar. “People with long gaps in their resumes, people who’ve been out of the workforce due to health issues, people who may have served time in prison. From an employer’s perspective, they are a riskier hire, so they often get passed over in the hiring process.”

The bipartisan legislation would create a new Work Opportunity Tax Credit at the state level that mirrors one that is already federally available. The federal tax credit is already jointly administered by the IRS and the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, so it will be easy for the state to implement a matching tax credit. 

“Reducing taxes will help defray costs for employers who are willing to take the financial risk of hiring someone with a spotty work history, knowing there is a higher chance of turnover,” Bierlein said. “This plan will help businesses fill open positions, and it will help people with gaps in their work history get back on their feet, so in the long term it’s better for all involved. The plan will also save the state money because more people will be productive and self-sufficient members of society.”

House Bill 5772 was introduced on May 30 and referred to the Committee on Tax Policy.

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