One of the better programs run by the Connecticut Department of Labor that gets almost zero publicity is the “Shared Work” program. For employers, it’s a useful tool when you’re dealing with a temporary slowdown in work.
I talked about it five (!) years ago in the midst of the recession so I’m not going to rehash it here.
But here’s what’s new:
The CTDOL just released new regulations to make the program available to more employers and released a new brochure about the program as well. As the CTDOL stated in a press release this month:
As a result of recent changes to the state’s Shared Work Program, eligibility criteria for employers qualified to participate in this unemployment insurance program has expanded and now offers companies more opportunities to take part in the program and thus avoid laying off skilled workers.
The state’s Shared Work program, administered by the Connecticut Department of Labor, can provide partial unemployment benefits to employees when a company is experiencing a temporary economic downturn and wants to avoid layoffs. The goal is to retain skilled workers so companies can quickly return to full strength when the business climate has improved.
As of July 1, employers now qualify for the program when faced with the need to reduce the hours of its permanent full-time and/or part-time workforce by 10 to 60 percent. Prior to the change, companies could only qualify if work hours were reduced between 20 and 40 percent, and eligible employees were required to be full-time workers.
According to State Labor Commissioner Sharon M. Palmer, the program now allows a company to apply if it has at least two employees affected by the change in hours worked. Prior to the July 1 change, the minimum requirement for eligibility was four employees. In addition, the Labor Department will also be able to provide a dependency allowance to those employees taking part in the program that have qualifying dependents on their unemployment insurance claim.
In other words, if you were interested in the program before but didn’t think your business qualified, you may want to look at it again.
While not widespread, the program does have the involvement of over 100 employers in the state. For more information about the program, contact your local counsel or contact the Connecticut Department of Labor.