The Michigan Chamber supports efforts to incentivize the hiring of non-traditional employees, individuals who may otherwise experience a barrier to entry into the workforce. Several bills were signed into law by Governor Snyder in 2014 and other initiatives are expected in the coming legislative session.
Public Act 508 of 2014 allows employers to offer a hiring, promotion and/or retention preference to military veterans when all other factors are equal. This legislation was pursued because there are countless employers in Michigan who are ready and willing to offer a veterans hiring preference in order to help our servicemen and women upon their return home. Unfortunately, this action was never explicitly authorized under state law. This new law provides employers solid legal ground to adopt “plus factor” policies if they wish to do so.
Furthermore, Public Acts 359-361 of 2014 limits legal exposure for employers hiring parolees who have exhibited excellent behavior and pursued educational and vocational opportunities while in prison, thereby gaining a Certificate of Employability from the State. This bipartisan measure was pursued as a tool to address Michigan’s parolee unemployment and recidivism rates and as an alternative to a more dangerous legislative initiative that would prohibit employers from asking prospective employees important questions about their criminal history on job applications, otherwise known as "ban the box." The bills immunize employers from liability under the theory of negligent hiring or retention if they hire a parolee based, at least in part, on them having the certificate of employability.
Governor Snyder and lawmakers are looking at expanding the certificate of employability program in the coming legislative session and continue to pursue efforts to promote the hiring of qualified workers with disabilities.
Where We Stand:
The Michigan Chamber supports efforts to incentivize the hiring of non-traditional employees, individuals who may otherwise experience a barrier to entry into the workforce.