WorkShare is an unemployment option that helps businesses retain their workforce during a temporary slowdown in work. The program allows employers to voluntarily reduce the hours of staff in lieu of layoffs. Employees of the business are allowed to collect a partial unemployment benefit to help them offset the loss of income.
The WorkShare program helps businesses keep trained workers during a temporary downturn, and it helps workers stay connected to jobs and maintain their skills.
How WorkShare Works for Workers and Businesses
In lieu of a layoff, employers can temporarily reduce their work hours in a particular unit, shift or company from 10% to 50%. To help offset the loss of hours, the affected workers can receive a modified weekly unemployment benefit.
To be eligible, the reduction must:
- Be temporary and not related to a seasonal, or intermittent down turn;
- Reduce hours by at least 10% but not more that 50%;
- Have otherwise resulted in the layoff of at least 10% of the workers in the affected unit for 2-6 months; and,
- Affect a unit of the business that is normally works on a full-time basis.
To receive unemployment benefits, an individual must:
- Be included in an affected unit of the business
- Have earned enough wages in the last 18 months to meet the regular qualifications for unemployment benefits; and
- Be able and available to work their normally scheduled hours for their employer.
Benefits are paid on a percentage equal to the hours reduction. Someone who has lost 25% of their hours would receive 25% of their normal weekly unemployment benefit.
- Applications for Workshare must be filed by the employer. Employers should call (207) 623-6783 for more information.
- Maine WorkShare Law