Scott Walker, Governor
Raymond Allen, Secretary
Department of Workforce Development
201 E. Washington Avenue
P.O. Box 7946
Madison, WI 53707-7946
Telephone: (608) 266-3131
Fax: (608) 266-1784
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, August 4, 2016
CONTACT: DWD Communications, 608-266-2722
On the Web: http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/dwd/news.htm
On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WIWorkforce
On Twitter: @WIWorkforce
Wisconsin 'Work-Share' Program Update: 114 Workers Avoid Layoffs
UI funds help employers temporarily reduce workers' hours during periods of slow business
MADISON – Today, Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Ray Allen announced Wisconsin's new Work-Share program has so far helped six Wisconsin businesses keep 114 workers on the job who otherwise would have been laid off.
Work-Share, also called Short-Term Compensation, is designed to help employers retain skilled talent during slow business periods by reducing employees' hours and allowing affected employees to file for partial Unemployment Insurance benefits (UI) to replace a portion of their reduced pay. Participating workers also keep employer-provided benefits and avoid financial challenges associated with being fully unemployed.
"Employers make significant investments in workforce recruitment, training and retention, and Work-Share allows them to keep skilled workers during slower periods and quickly recall them for full-time work when business picks up again," Secretary Allen said. "Additionally, Work-Share helps workers remain employed with a reduced impact on wages and employer-sponsored benefits, which supports greater independence and stability."
Participating employers can reduce a group of employees' hours by anywhere from 10 percent to 50 percent if they are facing layoff for least two workers. An employer's Work-Share plan must include at least 20 positions that are filled on the effective date of the plan and must only include participants who are regularly employed by the employer and have worked for the employer for a period of at least three months. Employers may also elect to provide employer-sponsored skills training to Work-Share participants to prepare them for the introduction of new equipment and technology after the work reduction period ends.
"Even as Wisconsin's economy is outperforming the nation in multiple economic measures and UI claims are running at their lowest levels in decades, a single employer can face a period of slow business for any number of reasons and we need to do what we can to support the employer and the workers during challenging times," Secretary Allen said. "Work-Share helps workers stay on the job, keep their employer-sponsored benefits and support their families with temporary UI assistance."
Wisconsin's Work-Share program was passed in 2013 and amended in late 2015 based on feedback by the employer community. To date, 114 employees of six Wisconsin private-sector employers have avoided total employment loss and stayed on the job through Work-Share, with approximately 360 additional workers filing for partial UI benefits to supplement temporarily reduced wages and avert their coworkers' total loss of employment. As all employer and worker UI records are by law confidential, information that would identify individual employers and workers participating in Work-Share cannot be released.