Tony Evers, Governor
Caleb Frostman, 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
Tuesday, June 9, 2020
CONTACT: DWD Communications, 608-266-2722
On the Web: http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/news/
On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WIWorkforce
On Twitter: @WIWorkforce
MADISON – The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) today announced that it has more than 500 Work-Share Program plans with almost 18,000 worker participants in Wisconsin.
Work-Share is designed to help employers retain employees 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 a total loss of employment.
Prior to the COVID-19 public health emergency, between 2016 and March 15, 2020, Wisconsin had only 20 total Work-Share plans involving 899 participants. Between March 15 and June 8, 2020, DWD saw a dramatic increase, with 17,986 workers participating in 520 Work-Share plans.
"Wisconsin businesses are encouraged to consider DWD's Work-Share Program to keep their employees on the job who otherwise would be laid off," DWD Secretary Caleb Frostman said. "We have almost 18,000 workers participating in Work-Share plans with their employers; this means nearly 18,000 people are still employed, they continue to earn a paycheck, and they keep their employer-sponsored benefits."
Some employers are bringing employees that were laid off due to COVID-19 back at reduced hours. If the employer has brought staff back at reduced hours, the employer is able to sign up for a Work-Share program.
Under recent changes passed by Governor Tony Evers and the State Legislature, employers interested in creating a Work-Share plan must include a minimum of at least 2 Wisconsin employees. The reduction of hours will be a set percentage of at least 10% but not more than 60% of the normal hours per week of each employee and will remain consistent every week.
Under the CARES Act, once an employer's plan is approved, the federal government pays for 100% of the unemployment benefits paid through the Work-Share plan through the end of the year. The employer's future tax rates will not be impacted by Work-Share benefits paid to employees in the program during the effective duration of the CARES Act.