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Shared Work Program

The Shared Work program is an alternative to layoffs for employers facing a temporary downturn in business. It allows employers to divide available hours of work among a group of employees instead of implementing a full layoff. These employees may then receive partial unemployment insurance benefits while working reduced hours.

The purpose of Shared Work is to avoid a layoff, not to subsidize wages. Shared Work can help employers avoid the difficulties that can go along with a layoff. If employees keep working during a temporary slowdown, employers can more quickly ramp up operations when business conditions improve. This saves employers the expense of recruiting, hiring, and training new workers and protects employees from the financial hardships of full unemployment.

Shared Work may increase the amount of UI tax you pay.

  • If you are an experience-rated employer, the experience rating portion of your UI tax may increase based on the Shared Work benefits that are paid. However, the increase should not be more than what would otherwise occur if you had a full layoff.
  • If you are a reimbursing employer, you will be billed for benefits paid to employees. The amount billed will be about the same as if you had a full layoff.

By law, any health benefits and pension benefits provided by the employer to participating employees must continue to be provided under the same terms and conditions as though the participating employees' hours of work each week had not been reduced. You should include this as a factor when you are making your decision about using the Shared Work Program.

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