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Will the Shared Work Program work for your business?

As the winter months approach, some businesses may be faced with layoffs due to lack of work. Instead of laying off valuable employees, businesses may want to explore participating in the Shared Work Program instead.

The Shared Work Program is an alternative to layoffs that allows a business to divide available work among a specific group of affected employees.

This program was endangered during the last legislative session, and only some really hard work by Associated Industries of Missouri (AIM), a group of business-minded legislators and the Missouri Department of Labor allowed the program to continue for Missouri employers.  The federal government actually allowed states to expand the flexibility of the program – a move that was endorsed by AIM. But in the end, the program was extended with no expansion of the program due to some legislators’ misplaced concerns that some employers could somehow “game the system.”  In fact, the program creates no greater benefit to any employer over the regular unemployment system except the employer is able to retain quality employees rather than lose the significant investment they have made in those employees.

Under the Shared Work Program, employees can receive partial unemployment benefits while working reduced hours for up to 52 weeks. To participate, a business must complete an application for the affected unit within the company and submit it to the Division of Employment Security for approval.  The impact to the employer’s unemployment account is the same as if the employer had laid off an equivalent number of employees, but the employer is able to retain experienced, trained employees.

For more information about the Shared Work Program, go to www.sharedwork.mo.gov or call (573) 751-WORK (9675).

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