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Shared Work program in danger

May 15, 2014 – Associated Industries of Missouri has been a strong supporter of the Shared Work program.  We are working to pass legislation needed to comply with a federal mandate to keep the program in Missouri.  The bill, Senate Bill 844, that would accomplish this purpose has already been passed by the Senate and, if the bill is not amended, the bill could be passed to the Governor by the House today.

Unfortunately, some have expressed unfounded concerns about the program and want to add unnecessary amendments to the bill.  We believe the bill needs to be passed without amendment and are working toward that goal in these final two days of the legislative session. Our fear is if the bill is changed, it must be again approved by the Senate and there is a chance time will run out before the legislation is passed.

If we are not successful in making the federal compliance changes by the August 22 deadline, the Shared Work program will end in Missouri.

Our member employers have used the Shared Work program to avoid laying off qualified and experienced employees when faced with a situation that requires a reduction in payroll. The program allows an employer to reduce hours for a group of employees and the employees receive partial unemployment payments for the reduced work schedule. The impact to the employers’ experience rating is the same as if the employer had laid off a corresponding number of employees, but the employer is able to retain quality employees. Also, the program allows people to stay in the routine of working during these periods, making the return to a full work schedule easier when the employer is able to increase payroll.

Missouri businesses used this program to successfully navigate the unusual economic downturn in recent years and we need to preserve the ability to use the program in the future.  Associated Industries of Missouri strongly supports this program.  We will keep you informed of our progress.

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