Missouri Labor Department Sees Surge in Shared Work Program Participants
Instead of handing out pink slips, more Missouri employers are giving the Shared Work Program the green light. The Shared Work Program is administered by the Missouri Labor Department’s Division of Employment Security (DES) and is an alternative to lay-offs for businesses experiencing a downsize in workforce.
If an employer elects to participate in a Shared Work Plan and the plan is approved, affected employees will be allowed to share the work available instead of some employees being laid off. The Shared Work Program also provides for affected employees to collect unemployment benefits to supplement a percentage of their lost income due to the reduction in work hours.
From January through September 2009, the Shared Work Program saw an 89 percent increase in new employer and employee participation over the same period last year. There also was a 38 percent increase in program renewals for the same period. (See chart below.)
“An increase in program participation is a good thing for employers, employees, and the state,” said Labor Department Director Larry Rebman. “An employer is able to keep up with demand, the employee gets to keep his job and retain a steady income, and the unemployment in our state does not increase.”
The Labor Department credits the increased participation with improved outreach efforts. The Department plans to run more radio ads and press conferences around the state to further promote the program.
“When it became apparent that many employers were unaware of the Shared Work Program, we beefed up our efforts to get the word out to as many businesses as possible,” said Amy Susan, Director of Communications for the Labor Department.
If an employer participates in the program, a worker may be eligible to collect partial unemployment benefits, based on how much the work has been reduced.
Shared Work Guidelines:
An interested employer may obtain a Shared Work Plan Application by contacting the Missouri Division of Employment Security, P.O. Box 3100, Jefferson City, Missouri 65104-3100. Or, for more information call 573-751-WORK or visit the Internet site, www.sharedwork.mo.gov.