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Record number of companies use state’s lay-off prevention program

Post by Kelly Kearsley on March 31, 2009 at 12:49 pm with No Comments »
March 31, 2009 12:49 pm

A record 1,000 employers are now participating in a state program aimed at helping companies minimize layoffs.

That’s more participants that at any other time in the program’s 25-year history, according to a news release from the Employment Security Department.

In addition to the record number of employers, the Shared-Work Program is now serving more than 30,000 workers.

A year ago, there were 145 participating employers with about 5,700 employees.

Under the program, an employer can temporarily reduce employees’ hours and qualified workers may receive partial unemployment benefits to replace a portion of their lost wages. The program is not for slowdowns that are an expected part of an industry or business.

"Shared Work is designed to help employers and their workers ride out tough times together until times get better. We hope that even more employers will apply for this program," said Employment Security Commissioner Karen Lee.

To keep up with the demand, Employment Security has added staff to process applications and to answer the program’s toll-free hotline.

Under current law, at least 10 percent of the employees in a work unit must participate in a shared-work plan, and employees can receive benefits for up to 26 weeks. But beginning April 5, any number of employees may participate and benefits may be paid for the entire claim, as long as there is an available balance.

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