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Find Your Local Work-Share Program by State

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Work-Share Programs by State - Gusto

Though some states are beginning the reopening process after weeks of closure due to COVID-19, many businesses may still keep their storefronts fully or partially closed for some time. Before things go back to business as usual, employers around the country will be working with limited hours or staff.

Work-share programs are a helpful resource that can retain and pay teams during this time. They allow employers to reduce the hours an employee works and make up the salary difference through unemployment compensation. This helps employers avoid layoffs, maintain a trained workforce, and support their teams financially during a crucial time.

Several states have existing or new work-share programs that they are actively promoting in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and downturn. Find your local program in our full list of shared work programs by state.

Alaska

No state-level work-share program provided as of this writing.

Arizona

The Arizona Department of Economic Security provides a Shared Work program, which is an alternative for employers faced with a reduction in force. It allows an employer to divide the available work or hours of work among a specified group of affected employees in lieu of a layoff, and it allows the employees to receive a portion of their unemployment insurance (UI) benefits while working reduced hours.

The Shared Work Program is not available to an employee unless the employer for whom the individual is currently working reduced hours completes an application, which then must be approved by the Department of Economic Security.

Requirements:

  • Employers can reduce normal weekly hours by at least 10%, and no more than 60%.
  • Employers must continue to provide health insurance during the time period they participate in the Shared Work program. Health insurance information is a requirement of the Shared Work plan that the employer submits.

Apply here.

Arkansas

Arkansas’ Shared Work Unemployment Compensation Program allows an employer to divide available work or hours of work among a specific group of employees in lieu of a layoff, and it allows the employees to receive a portion of their unemployment benefits while working reduced hours.

Requirements:

  • Employees’ usual weekly work hours can be reduced by 10% to 40%.
  • Health benefits, retirement benefits, and other fringe benefits must continue to be provided to employees.
  • The aggregate reduction in work is in lieu of all layoffs that would have affected at least 10% of the employees and that would have resulted in an equivalent reduction in work hours.
  • The plan must apply to 10% of the employees.
  • The plan must provide equal treatment to all employees.

Apply here.

California

California’s Work Sharing Program helps employees whose hours and wages have been reduced. It allows them to receive UI benefits, keep their current job, and avoid financial hardships.

Requirements:

  • Employers must be a legally registered business in California and have an active California State Employer Account Number.
  • At least 10%of the employer’s regular workforce or a unit of the workforce, and a minimum of two employees, must be affected by a reduction in hours and wages.
  • Hours and wages must be reduced by between 10% and 60%.
  • Health benefits must remain the same as before, or they must meet the same standards as other employees who are not participating in Work Sharing.
  • Retirement benefits must meet the same terms and conditions as before, or they must meet the same as other employees not participating in Work Sharing.
  • The collective bargaining agent of employees in a bargaining unit must agree to voluntarily participate and sign the application for Work Sharing.
  • Identify the affected work units to be covered by the Work Sharing plan and identify each participating employee by their full name and Social Security number.
  • Notify employees in advance that you intend to participate in the Work Sharing program.
  • Identify how many layoffs will be avoided by participating in the Work Sharing program.
  • Provide the Employment Development Department (EDD) with any necessary reports or documents relating to the Work Sharing plan.

Apply here.

Colorado

Colorado’s Work-Share Program provides an alternative to laying off employees by allowing them to keep working, but with fewer hours. While an employee is working fewer hours, they may be eligible to collect part of their regular unemployment benefits.

Requirements:

  • You must have reduced the normal weekly work hours by at least 10%, but by no more than 40%. 
  • The reduction must affect at least two out of all employees in the business, or a minimum of two employees in a certain unit.
  • You must have paid as much in premiums as your former employees were paid in unemployment insurance benefits.

Apply here.

Connecticut

In Connecticut, employers who are furloughing workers can use the Department of Labor’s shared work program, which allows businesses to reduce working hours and have those wages supplemented with unemployment insurance.

Requirements:

  • Your participation in Shared Work should be in lieu of layoffs and not used for seasonal separations.
  • The reduction of work must be between 10% and 60%.
  • You should have at least two permanent part- or full-time employees participating.
  • You cannot eliminate or reduce any fringe benefits during the duration of your approved plan.
  • The affected employees must certify that a written copy of the plan or a summary was made available to them for inspection and comment for at least seven days.

Apply here.

Delaware

No state-level work-share program provided as of this writing.

District of Columbia

Shared Work is a voluntary program that provides an alternative to layoffs for employers confronted with a temporary decline in business. Instead of laying off a percentage of the work force to cut costs, an employer could reduce employees’ hours by the same percentage and keep the entire workforce on the job.

Requirements:

  • Employers must certify that the implementation of a shared work plan would be in the place of temporary layoffs that would affect at least 10% of the employees in an affected unit.
  • Employers must also certify that they plan to reduce work hours by between 20% and 40%.
  • Employers must intend to show that all employees in an affected unit are treated equally.

Apply here.

Florida

The Short Time Compensation program helps employers retain their workforce in times of temporary slowdown by encouraging work sharing as an alternative to layoffs.

The program permits prorated reemployment assistance benefits to employees whose work hours and earnings are reduced as part of a Short Time Compensation plan to avoid total layoff of some employees.

Apply here. 

Georgia

No state-level work-share program provided as of this writing.

Hawaii

No state-level work-share program provided as of this writing.

Idaho

No state-level work-share program provided as of this writing.

Illinois

No state-level work-share program provided as of this writing.

Indiana

No state-level work-share program provided as of this writing.

Iowa

Iowa employers experiencing a slowdown in their businesses or services as a result of the COVID-19 impact on the economy may apply for the Voluntary Shared Work (VSW) Program. This program allows employers to seek an alternative to layoffs—retaining their trained employees by reducing their hours and wages that can be partially offset with unemployment insurance benefits.

Requirements:

  • Employers must be current in filing quarterly UI reports and have paid all UI taxes owed in full.
  • Employers cannot use the VSW program for seasonal work reductions.
  • Employers must provide notice to employees participating in the VSW Program.
  • Employers must certify the VSW Program will meet all federal and state laws.

Apply here.

Kansas

Kansas businesses may be exploring reducing production as a result of supply chain challenges related to COVID-19. The Shared Work Program is an excellent tool to use in lieu of a temporary, total layoff of employees. It allows for partial workweeks and partial unemployment benefits to employees.

Requirements:

  • There must be an “”affected unit”” of two or more employees.
  • The normal weekly hours of work and corresponding wages for a participating employee must be reduced by between 20% and 40%.
  • The plan must apply to at least 10% of the employees in the affected unit.
  • The plan must describe how participating employers treat the fringe benefits of each employee in the affected unit.
  • Employers must certify that the implementation of a Shared Work Plan and the resulting reduction in work hours is in lieu of a temporary layoff affecting at least 10% of the employees in the affected unit and results in an equivalent reduction in work hours.

Apply here.

Kentucky

No state-level work-share program provided as of this writing.

Louisiana

No state-level work-share program provided as of this writing.

Maine

WorkShare is an unemployment option that helps Maine businesses retain their workforce during a temporary slowdown in work. The program allows employers to voluntarily reduce the hours of staff in lieu of layoffs. Employees of the business are allowed to collect a partial unemployment benefit to help them offset the loss of income.

Requirements:

  • The reduction must be temporary and not related to a seasonal or intermittent downturn.
  • Employees’ hours have to be reduced by at least 10% but not more than 50%.
  • The reduction must prevent the layoff of at least 10% of the workers in the affected unit for two to six months.
  • Participating employees must work on a full-time basis.
  • Applications for Workshare must be filed by the employer. Employers should call (207) 623-6783 for more information.

Apply here.

Maryland

Work Sharing (WS) is a voluntary unemployment insurance (UI) program that provides employers with an alternative to layoffs when they face a temporary and unexpected downturn in business.

It allows employers to divide available hours of work among a group of employees instead of implementing a full layoff to a few employees. It allows employees to keep working but with fewer hours. While working fewer hours, employees will receive a percentage of their regular UI benefits. Employees may choose not to participate.

Employers can contact the Work Sharing Unit at ui.worksharing@maryland.gov with questions.

Requirements:

  • WS is not intended to be a means for employers to address problems such as seasonal or cyclical shutdowns, inventory control, model changeovers, or equipment maintenance.
  • WS is also not intended to allow an employer to use UI benefits to supplement payroll on a continued basis.

Apply here.

Massachusetts

WorkShare is a program that offers a smart alternative to layoffs. Employees work reduced hours while collecting unemployment benefits to supplement their lower wages.

Requirements:

  • WorkShare is voluntary and a worker can decline participation.
  • Workshare can include salaried workers, as long as the employer reduces both hours and pay.
  • Owners or officers of the corporation must be eligible to receive UI benefits in order to participate in WorkShare.
  • By law, at least two employees must be listed on a WorkShare plan.
  • The reduction percentage must be the same for each employee and fall between 10% and 60%.
  • Your WorkShare plan can include a scheduled shutdown for up to two weeks.
  • Once you approve a WorkShare plan, workers have to work the reduced hours stated on the plan each week.

Apply here. 

Michigan

Work Share is a program that permits employers to maintain operational productivity during declines in regular business activity instead of laying off workers. With the plan, rather than being laid off, eligible employees work a reduced number of hours in the workweek and receive a portion of weekly unemployment benefits.

By participating in Work Share, employers are able to retain trained employees and avoid the expense of recruiting, hiring, and training new employees.

Requirements:

  • All employees in the affected unit must participate in the plan.
  • Employee work hours must be reduced between 10% to 60%.
  • A plan must include at least two employees.
  • Plans can be in place for a period of up to 52 consecutive weeks.
  • The plan cannot apply to seasonal, temporary, or intermittent workers.

Apply here.

Minnesota

Shared Work is offered by the Minnesota Unemployment Insurance (UI) Program to help employers avoid a layoff. The benefits of Shared Work include keeping experienced and trained staff, avoiding future hiring and training costs, increasing operations quickly when business conditions improve, and avoiding layoffs, which creates goodwill and financial stability for the workforce and the community.

Requirements:

  • Your UI tax account balance must be paid in full, including interest, fees, and penalties.
  • Your workforce cannot be seasonal, temporary, or work on an intermittent basis.
  • The owner or officer information on your UI employer account must be complete and up to date.

Apply here.

Mississippi

No state-level work-share program provided as of this writing.

Missouri

The Shared Work Unemployment Compensation Program is an alternative to layoffs for employers faced with a reduction in available work. It allows an employer to divide the available work among a specified group of affected employees instead of a layoff.

These employees receive a portion of their unemployment benefits while working reduced hours. To participate, an employer must complete an application for the affected unit within the company and submit it to the Division of Employment Security (DES) for approval.

Requirements:

  • There must be an “affected unit” of three or more employees.
  • The normal weekly hours of work and corresponding wages for a participating employee must be reduced by between 20% and 40%.
  • The plan must apply to at least 10% of the employees in the affected unit.
  • The employer must certify that the fringe benefits provided will remain the same as if their normal hours had not been reduced, or to the same extent as other employees not participating in the Shared Work Program.
  • The employer must certify that the implementation of a Shared Work Plan and the resulting reduction in work hours is in lieu of a layoff that would affect at least 10% of the employees in the affected unit and that would result in an equivalent reduction in work hours.​
  • The employer must have submitted all quarterly contribution and wage reports required to be filed for all past and current periods, and has paid all taxes due for all past and current periods.

Apply here.

Montana

No state-level work-share program provided as of this writing.

Nebraska

No state-level work-share program provided as of this writing.

Nevada

No state-level work-share program provided as of this writing.

New Hampshire

New Hampshire WorkShare is an initiative to help workers stay at work, return to work, and get ready to work.

Requirements:

  • Employers must be in good standing with the New Hampshire Department of Labor. 
  • They must certify that they are averting layoffs to full-time or permanent part-time employees by reducing the number of hours worked between 10% and 50% in a specific class unit.
  • The reduction must be spread equally across all employees in the area.
  • The employer must continue to provide health care benefits currently in place. 
  • A plan cannot start prior to 21 calendar days after submission of the plan, and the plan cannot exceed 26 weeks, although a new plan can be submitted at the completion of a plan. 
  • Plans will not be approved for seasonal employment during the off season or as a subsidy for intermittent employment.

Apply here.

New Jersey

The Shared Work Program is an alternative to layoffs. An employer who has at least 10 employees may apply to the division for approval to provide a Shared Work program. The purpose of such a program is to stabilize an employer’s workforce during a period of economic disruption by permitting the sharing of the work remaining after a reduction in total hours of work.

Under an approved Shared Work program, workers who have their hours of work reduced may receive “short-time” unemployment benefits for the lost hours of work, while continuing to work at reduced hours with a continuation of their health insurance, pension coverage, and other benefits.

Apply here.

New Mexico

No state-level work-share program provided as of this writing.

New York

Shared Work lets you keep trained staff and avoid layoffs. Employees can receive partial unemployment insurance benefits while working reduced hours. Full-time, part-time, and seasonal employees are eligible.

Requirements:

  • Businesses must have employed at least two full-time employees working in New York for four consecutive calendar quarters
  • Employers must have paid UI contributions or in lieu of contributions, elected reimbursement of benefits paid to your former employees.
  • Shared Work plans must:
    • Reduce work hours and corresponding wages between 20% and 60%.
    • Apply to employees who normally work no more than 40 hours per week.
    • Replace a layoff of an equal percentage of employees.
    • Not reduce or eliminate fringe benefits unless fringe benefits are also being reduced or eliminated for the entire workforce.
    • Not extend beyond 53 weeks (when nearing the end of the plan, you may submit a request for a new plan).
  • Note: You cannot hire additional employees for the workgroup covered by the plan. If there is a collective bargaining agreement in effect, the collective bargaining agent must agree to take part in the Shared Work plan.

Apply here.

North Carolina

No state-level work-share program provided as of this writing.

North Dakota

No state-level work-share program provided as of this writing.

Ohio

SharedWork Ohio is a voluntary layoff aversion program. It allows workers to remain employed and employers to retain trained staff during times of reduced business activity.

Under a SharedWork Ohio plan, the participating employer reduces affected employees’ hours in a uniform manner. The participating employee works the reduced hours each week, and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) provides eligible individuals an unemployment insurance benefit proportionate to their reduced hours.

Requirements:

  • Employers must have at least two affected employees that do not work on a seasonal, temporary, or intermittent basis.
  • Employers must be current on all Ohio unemployment insurance reporting, contributions, reimbursements, interest, and penalties due.

Apply here.

Oklahoma

No state-level work-share program provided as of this writing.

Oregon

To minimize layoffs, consider if you can use Oregon’s Work Share program. It helps employers prevent layoffs by reducing the schedules of hourly (not salaried) workers instead of laying them off, while benefits help to offset the employees’ lost wages. ​

A worker can receive up to 52 weeks of Work Share benefits under a plan. The Work Share payments a worker receives are deducted from the available maximum benefit amount on their unemployment insurance claim. If there is a remaining balance, the worker may be able to draw regular benefits if needed, as long as they are otherwise eligible to receive them.

Requirements:

  • Employees must qualify for Oregon unemployment insurance benefits.
  • The plan must cover at least three employees.
  • The normal weekly hours of work and wages must be reduced at least 20%, but not more than 40%.
  • Employees under the plan must have worked for you continuously for six months on a full-time basis, or for one year on a part-time basis, before you submit the Work Share plan.
  • Work Share plans cannot last more than one year.
  • Workers who’ve used all of their regular benefits or have an unemployment insurance claim against another state cannot receive Work Share benefits.
  • Work Share benefits are not paid if the employee works more than the reduced hours that are not within the 20% to 40% limitation. It may be possible for a worker to qualify for regular benefits under these circumstances if their earnings are less than their weekly benefit payment amount and they work less than 40 hours.
  • The employee must be available for work to the Work Share employer.

Apply here.

Pennsylvania

Shared-Work is an alternative to layoffs that may be used when the work available to employees decreases. Instead of the employer laying off some employees, all employees share the available work by working reduced hours and collecting a portion of their unemployment compensation, or UC, benefits.

Employers can contact the Employer Information Center at 877-785-1531 for more information on the Shared-Work program or send an email to SharedWork@pa.gov.

Requirements:

  • Employers must have at least two participating employees, not including corporate officers.
  • Employees must have been employed in the department, shift, or unit for at least three months immediately preceding the date the plan is submitted to the department for approval. Employees who will work 40 or more hours per week while the plan is in effect are also excluded.
  • The plan must reduce hours by at least 20% and by no more than 40%.
  • All employees participating in the same Shared-Work plan must be treated equally, with the same percentage of hours reduced. However, there may be multiple Shared-Work plans for an employer covering different departments, shifts, or units. For example, one Shared-Work plan may reduce the employees’ hours by 25% and another plan may reduce hours by 40%.

Apply here.

Rhode Island

The WorkShare program assists employers facing economic downturns by connecting their workers with unemployment insurance (UI) to partially replace wages lost due to a reduction in work hours.

Requirements:

  • The amount of work hours may be reduced from 10% to 50%.
  • Employers can have their entire operation participate or only specific units, shifts, or departments.
  • Employers must continue to provide the same fringe benefits or must reduce all of their employees’ benefits by the same amount.
  • If workers are covered by a collective bargaining agreement, their union must approve the WorkShare plan prior to implementation.
  • For non-union workplaces, employers must establish that they have informed each of the affected employees about the plan prior to implementation.
  • In the event that no work is performed during a week when an employer is on WorkShare, covered employees would receive a full week of UI benefits in lieu of their WorkShare benefits

Apply here.

South Carolina

No state-level work-share program provided as of this writing.

South Dakota

No state-level work-share program provided as of this writing.

Tennessee

No state-level work-share program provided as of this writing.

Texas

The Shared Work program provides Texas employers with an alternative to layoffs. The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) developed this voluntary program to help Texas employers and employees withstand a slowdown in business.

Shared Work allows employers to supplement their employees’ wages lost because of reduced work hours with partial unemployment benefits.

Requirements:

  • The percentage of reduced hours can be different for different individuals, as long as the reduction in normal weekly hours ranges from 10% to 40% each week, depending on plan specifications.
    • Note: The range of hours worked may vary under Shared Work rules. TWC calculates the number from the number of hours you specify as normal full-time employment. The figure may differ for various plan participants.
  • The reduction in hours must apply to at least 10% of the employees in an affected unit.
  • A shared work plan must describe how the employees will be notified in advance of the plan, if possible.
  • A shared work plan must be an alternative to layoffs and you must provide an estimate of the number of employees who would be laid off if you do not participate in a shared work plan.
  • If you currently provide fringe benefits, you must continue to provide these benefits for the employees in the shared work plan. Fringe benefits include health insurance, retirement benefits, paid vacation, holiday or sick leave, or other employee benefits.
  • Employees participating in a shared work plan may participate in training, such as employer-sponsored training or Commission-approved training, to enhance their job skills.

Apply here.

Utah

No state-level work-share program provided as of this writing.

Vermont

No state-level work-share program provided as of this writing.

Virginia

No state-level work-share program provided as of this writing.

Washington

SharedWork is a voluntary business sustainability program that provides flexibility to retain employees at reduced hours. Employers can call the Employment Security Department (ESD) at 800-752-2500, Option 3 with questions. The agency will need a contact at your company who can confirm hours worked by your Washington employees.

Requirements:

  • Employers must enroll a minimum of two permanent employees in the SharedWork plan.
  • Employers must comply with IRS, state, county, and municipal laws, rules, and ordinances.
  • Employees must be hired permanently.
  • Employees must be eligible for regular unemployment benefits, apply for benefits, and submit weekly claims.
  • Employees must be able to work all hours and be available for all work hours offered by the SharedWork employer.

Apply here.

West Virginia

No state-level work-share program provided as of this writing.

Wisconsin

The Work-Share program is designed to help both employers and employees. Instead of laying off workers, a qualified employer can plan to reduce work hours across a work unit. Workers whose hours are uniformly reduced under an approved Work-Share plan receive unemployment benefits that are pro-rated for the partial work reduction.

Requirements:

  • Plans must include a minimum of at least two Wisconsin employees.
  • The reduction of hours will be a set percentage of at least 10% but not more than 60% of the normal hours per week of each employee and will remain consistent every week.
    • The reduction in hours is calculated against an individual’s normal weekly work hours, which cannot exceed 40 hours in a week for calculation purposes even if a salaried employee typically works more than 40 hours.
  • Participating employees must be regularly employed by the employer.
  • Full-time, part-time, salaried, and exempt employees can participate.
  • Seasonal and temporary workers, or staff employed on an intermittent basis are excluded.
  • Only employees who have been employed by the employer for a period of at least three months on the effective date of the Work-Share program can be participants.

Apply here.

Wyoming

No state-level work-share program provided as of this writing.

Our COVID-19 Small Business Resource Hub has legislation updates, advice, and support.

Updated: May 12, 2020

Comments

  • Tara Tully

    Who do we contact at the state level regarding COVID -19 work-share programs? ( i.e. state of Louisiana)

    Reply
    • Gusto Editors

      Hi Tara — you could try reaching out to the Louisiana Workforce Commission!

      Reply
  • Greg Marsello

    If a business has employees in multiple states (state taxes paid to each state) and there is only one employee in one or more states, would you not be eligible in those states because you do not have two employees working in that state?

    Reply
    • Gusto Editors

      Hi Greg — we recommend you reach out to the specific work-share programs to understand your employees’ eligibility for them!

      Reply

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