Job applicants who are receiving unemployment benefits would lose those benefits if they fail a prospective employer’s drug test, under legislation heading down a final track in the state Capitol.
Part of a package of unemployment insurance reforms passed by the state Senate last week, House Bill 4952 would deem a job seeker to be refusing a suitable offer of work – and thus under existing Michigan law disqualify for benefits -- if they fail or refuse to take a drug test.
“If you go in there and you know that you are not able to perform this job, because you will not be able to pass through a drug test, you are essentially refusing that job. Unemployment is intended for individuals who are out of work through no fault of their own,” who are diligently seeking employment, said Delaney McKinley, director of human resource policy for the Michigan Manufacturers Association.
The MMA is among business groups supporting the bill package: House Bills 4949-4951 sponsored by Rep. Frank Foster, R-Petoskey, and House Bills 4952-4954 sponsored by Rep. Ken Goike, R-Ray Township.
Democratic opponents to the drug-testing legislation said it promotes a political agenda and hurts the unemployed. The provisions will be in place for one year.
The package includes bills designed to bring Michigan into conformity with federal unemployment compensation law and to target fraud. One bill allows the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency to collect improperly paid benefits starting at the date a claimant intentionally committed fraud, rather than the date at which the agency began investigating that activity.
There’s also a bill that penalizes employers who consistently fail to provide timely or adequate information to the agency and claimants are improperly paid benefits as a result.
The bills await House concurrence before heading to Gov. Rick Snyder’s signature.