WorkShare Employer Frequently Asked Questions
What is WorkShare?
WorkShare is a layoff aversion program administered by the Maine Department of Labor to help businesses retain or bring back their trained workforce and keep workers connected to employment during temporary economic downturns.
Businesses can voluntarily reduce the hours of staff instead of laying them off and employees can collect a partial unemployment benefit to help offset the loss of income due to reduced workhours.
Is my business/company eligible?
In order to participate in the WorkShare program, you must meet all of the eligibility requirements:
- Reduction must impact all employees in the same “affected unit” equally during each eligible week.
- The alternative layoff would have impacted at least 10% of the affected unit.
- The reduction in hours is between 10% and 50% of usual weekly hours, based on maximum 40 hours per week.
- Cannot be used to subsidize seasonal or intermittent employment.
- Health benefits or retirement benefits under a defined benefit plan must continue for employees participating in the work-sharing program as if the workweeks of these employees had not been reduced or to the same extent the benefits are provided to other employees not participating in the work-sharing program.
- Must obtain approval from collective bargaining agent, if applicable.
- Must be current on wage reports and tax payments.
How do I enroll in WorkShare ?
Complete WorkShare application
- Visit www.maine.gov/reemployme to begin the online application. You will need to confirm eligibility, create units, and get approval from the collective bargaining agent, if applicable. Affected employees must have received a summary or copy of the proposed WorkShare plan.
Submit your application
- Once complete, submit your online application. We will review your WorkShare application for eligibility. Typically, this takes 2-4 business days.
MDOL will review your application
- You will receive correspondence letting you know if your application has been approved or not.
How long does it take my application to be approved?
- After you submit your online application, we will review it for eligibility. Typically, this takes 2-4 business days.
Will WorkShare affect my experience rating?
- WorkShare benefits are charged to the experience rating of the WorkShare employer and are potentially lower than charges for full layoff.
- Direct reimbursement employers, those employers liable for payments in lieu of contributions, must reimburse the Unemployment Compensation Fund for the full amount of WorkShare benefits paid to their employees under an approved WorkShare plan. This is generally lower cost than full layoff.
How WorkShare works
For your company/business (example)
- With layoffs, a 25% reduction in business would result in a 25% reduction of workforce.
- With WorkShare, you would retain 100% of your workforce, but they work 75% of their normal hours.
- This avoids the costs of recruiting, hiring, and training new employees when business picks up. It also keeps your employees tied to the workforce.
- On WorkShare, you will assign employees to "units" which represent segments of your workforce and then reduce hours consistently across each segment or reduce hours across all employees.
For your employees (example)
- Benefits are paid on a percentage equal to hour reduction.
- If you have had your hours reduced by 25%that week, you will receive 25% of your normal wekkly unemployment benefit.
- If you earn $600.00 dollars a week, then lose your job, you might receive a $354.00 weekly unemployment benefit.
- On WorkShare, you will work 75% of your hours and earn $450.00 plus 25% of your weekly benefit ($354 x 25% = $88.00).
How do I get more information?
- Employer Guide to WorkShare (PDF)
- Employee Guide to WorkShare (PDF)
- WorkShare Weekly Certification Instructions
- What is a Unit? (PDF)
- WorkShare Collective Bargaining Agent Signature Form (PDF)
- Employer Sample Notice to Your Employees (Word)
- REME Employer Instructions to File an Application (PDF)
If you or your employees have issues or questions related to the WorkShare program, please reach out to the MDOL WorkShare team.
Employer use only:
What’s my role/responsibility once WorkShare is approved?
- You must notify employees of the approval of this plan.
- You must follow all of the eligibility requirements you agreed to when you submitted your application, including, but not limited to consistently reducing hours for each unit.
- You must file employer weekly certifications to ensure that your employees receive their benefit payments.
- Your company/business must have a representative/point of contact your employees can go to with WorkShare issues or questions. This representative will act as a liaison for your workforce and MDOL.
- You must collect and report employee’s legal name and social security number
What if I need to modify the plan?
You must submit a modification request at www.maine.gov/reemployme to change anything in your initial application.