Shared Work Program still helping more than 700 Washington businesses
by Chad Pearson, Shared Work marketing manager for the Employment Security Department (12/18/15)
Washington businesses big and small continue to avoid layoffs using the Employment Security Department’s Shared Work Program.
Even as Washington’s unemployment rate has dropped to nearly, 5 percent, more than 700 businesses in the state continue to use the program. That’s because Shared Work can be helpful not only during a recession or uneven economic times, but also when a supplier’s delivery is delayed or a road construction project has disturbed traffic outside their business.
Whatever the reason, Shared Work has kept workers employed.
“We were able to retain our core employees and stay in business during the recession. This is one of the best programs the state offers for businesses” – Comment from 2015 survey of Shared Work employers
Washington’s program is so effective at preventing layoffs, the U.S. Department of Labor recently promoted it as a model for other states, encouraging them to set up their own programs.
What makes Shared Work so successful? It allows employers to reduce the hours of their permanent employees from a flexible 10 to 50 percent, and those employees then receive a corresponding portion of unemployment benefits. Employers lower payroll costs and keep their skilled workers when hours are short; and employees earn more than if completely laid off and can return to regular hours when business picks up.
The 2015 survey of participating businesses showed positive reviews from both employees and employers. In fact, 98 percent of the employers surveyed said they would recommend Shared Work to other businesses going through similar situations.