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Surviving in tough times The Shared-Work Program Bill McDonald Shared-Work Program Manager Employment Security Department April 23, 2009 Economic snapshot • Record unemployment ▫ ▫ ▫ ▫ 8.5% national unemployment rate 13 million Americans unemployed 9.2% state unemployment rate 344,000 Washingtonians unemployed Businesses feel the same pain • Business production and growth are down. • Company closures are on the rise. • New layoffs announced daily. Effects on business • Lose skilled, trained workers. • Can’t ramp up quickly as business improves. • Forced to recruit and train new workers. The Shared-Work Program • Reduce the hours of your full-time employees. • Workers collect partial unemployment benefits to partially replace wages. Benefits to business • Retain your skilled workers. • Reduce your payroll costs. • Avoid the expense of recruiting, hiring and training new employees when the economy improves. Other “big” benefit to business • Employee loyalty. Participation • Any company can participate ▫ Must be registered in Washington for six months. • Any number of employees can participate. • Workers can collect up to 52 weeks of partial benefits. • The program is flexible to meet a variety of business needs. Employee requirements • Be full-time and hourly. • Worked for you at least 460 hours in the quarter prior to the quarter you applied. • Be eligible for unemployment benefits. • Be able and available to work all hours offered by the Shared-Work employer. Important notes • Shared Work is not for slowdowns that are an expected part of an industry or business. • Program can’t be used to support seasonal businesses during the off season or companies that traditionally use part-time workers. Business requirements • Plan can last up to one year. • Employee hours must be reduced by at least 10%, but not more than 50%. • Health benefits must continue, if provided. • A company representative must be assigned to work with Employment Security. • Unionized companies must have collectivebargaining agent approve the plan. The application • Shared-Work applications are available on line at www.esd.wa.gov/business. • Eligibility decisions are made within 15 days. • If approved, your plan takes effect in two weeks or less. Record participation • 1,500 employers and counting. • 35,000 employees participating. • Largest participation in 25-year history. Department actions • Added staff to process applications and to answer the hotline. • Promoting the program more aggressively to help businesses and workers. Bottom line • The Shared-Work Program saves you money and keeps your skilled work force intact. • Employees are spared the hardship of full unemployment. • Learn more @ www.esd.wa.gov/business. • Or call 800-752-2500.
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