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A WGVU initiative in partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation using on-air programs and community events to explore issues of inclusion and equity.

MI service industry workers scramble to file unemployment benefits


Courtney VanHorn works at a local breakfast place in Grand Rapids as server and is feeling uncertain about her future state of employment after Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s ordered all restaurants and bars to close dining in services starting Monday at 3pm.  

“We don’t really have a choice its either we are able to pay our bills, maybe, and risk getting sick or we stay home and are unable to pay our bills.”

Vanhorn applied for unemployment but she says she doesn’t know if she qualifies. 

“So I went ahead and applied for it but I am not sure because most of my wages are based off of tips as a server I think our hourly wage is $3.60 or something..so I am not sure if you are even able to collect unemployment.” 

If VanHorn is laid off from work, she would qualify for unemployment benefits given Governor Whitmer’s order to extend benefits to workers with unanticipated family care responsibilities, those without family and medical leave, those being laid off.