Sick Of Furloughs? Workshare

I think everyone’s sick of furloughs by now, though they remain a necessary fact of life. Or do they?

HRMorning reports that 18 states offer a “workshare” program, wherein a company cuts employees’ hours (and pay) by 20-40 percent. The state’s unemployment and other benefits then kick in to cover the lost income. Sort of. Each state that participates has its own rules for how to apply and—more importantly—how much money you’d get while “workshared.”

California, for example, gives out a percentage of unemployment benefits equal to the percentage of hours the employee’s lost.

An employee normally works a five-day workweek and is paid $500. If this employee’s workweek is reduced to four days, the employee’s weekly wages would be $400. This is a 20 percent reduction in wages and hours. The Work Sharing benefi ts for this employee are 20 percent of the unemployment Insurance benefits the employee would receive if the employee were totally unemployed. If the employee’s weekly Unemployment Insurance benefit amount is $300, the employee would qualify for $60 in Work Sharing benefits. This results in a reduction in gross wages of
only $40 for that week ($400 + $60 = $460).

All in all, it’s better than layoffs for a number of reasons and, unlike furloughs, a company gets to keep its trained workers around and not dump all the work on the unfurloughed ones that remain.