Here is a brief overview of unemployment insurance (UI) benefits, along with some examples of how WorkShare benefits are calculated, and other unemployment insurance financial information.

Earnings on the Job
Your Unemployment Insurance Benefit Rate
WorkShare Benefit Rate
How WorkShare Affects UI Benefits
If you work part-time for another employer
Unemployment Insurance Benefits are Taxable
Prior Unemployment Insurance Overpayments

Earnings On-the-Job

  • You will receive wages equal to the number of hours you work each week.
  • If you work 80 percent of your regular hours, you will receive 80 percent of your regular wages.
  • You will receive your regular health insurance benefits.
  • If there are changes in any of your other fringe benefits, they will be explained to you.

In order to be eligible for WorkShare benefits, you must work or be paid for all of the hours your employer has established for the WorkShare plan. For example, your employer's plan may be that all employees will work 32 hours a week, instead of 40 hours.

If you miss any time during a week and sick leave, vacation leave or any other type of leave does not cover that time you may not be eligible for WorkShare benefits during that week. For instance, if you are two hours late for work and are not paid for those two hours, you will not receive WorkShare benefits for that week.

Schedule everyone in the affected unit for the same number of hours of work. If anyone in the unit is scheduled to work or does work more than the hours stated in the plan, the whole unit may be disqualified from receiving benefits for that week.

WorkShare unemployment insurance benefits

WorkShare benefits are based on regular unemployment insurance benefits. There are several steps used to determine your WorkShare benefits.
 

Step 1: Your Unemployment Insurance Benefit Rate

Under WorkShare, you will file an unemployment insurance claim.

  • DUA will determine your unemployment insurance (UI) benefit rate. This is the amount of benefits you would receive if you were totally unemployed.
  • To do this, DUA will need information on your earnings during the 15 months prior to filing your claim.
  • The earnings during your two highest quarters will be added together, and divided by 26 (the number of weeks in two quarters) to determine your average weekly wage.
  • Your UI benefit rate is one-half of your average weekly wages. Your benefit rate, however, cannot exceed the maximum set by law. The current maximum benefit rate is $698 a week.

If you are not eligible to receive unemployment insurance benefits in Massachusetts, you will not be eligible to receive WorkShare benefits. You might not be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits because you did not earn enough money to establish a claim or you have an active unemployment insurance claim in another state.

Step 2: Your WorkShare Benefit Rate

Your unemployment insurance benefit rate is used to determine your WorkShare benefits.

  • Your WorkShare benefit rate is calculated using the percentage in the reduction of your working hours.
  • If your working hours are reduced by 20 percent, then your WorkShare benefit is 20 percent of your unemployment insurance benefit rate.

Here's an example:
Worker A regularly works 40 hours a week. Her employer is reducing her hours 20 percent. Her average weekly wage was $500.

Unemployment insurance (UI) benefit rate:$250 a week

WorkShare benefits (20 percent of the UI benefit rate):

$50 a week

Worker A receives 80 percent of her regular wages plus $50 a week in WorkShare benefits.

Step 3: Adding in dependency allowance

If you have dependent children, you may also be eligible for dependency allowance. The amount of dependency allowance you may receive is also equal to the percentage reduction in your weekly wages.

You may be eligible for dependency allowance if you are the whole or main support for any dependents who are:

  • Under the age of 18;
  • Under the age of 24 and a full-time student at an educational institution;
  • Over the age of 18 and incapacitated due to a mental or physical disability.

Here's an example:
Worker B also works 40 hours a week, with a 20 percent reduction in hours.
His average weekly wage was also $500. Worker B has two children, 3 years old and 6 years old.

Unemployment insurance (UI) benefit rate:$250 a week
Dependency allowance for two children:+ $50 a week
Total UI benefits:= $300 a week
WorkShare benefits (20 percent of the UI benefit rate):$ 60 a week

Worker B receives 80 percent of his regular wages plus $60 a week in WorkShare benefits.

How WorkShare Affects UI Benefits

Once an unemployment insurance claim is established, a "benefit credit" is calculated. The benefit credit is the total amount of benefits you are potentially eligible to collect during your benefit year - the 52-week "life" of a claim.

Each claim also has a "duration of benefits". This is the maximum number of weeks you are eligible to collect full unemployment insurance benefits.

Here's an example:
If someone had a benefit credit of $7,500 and a regular UI benefit rate of $250, full unemployment benefits could be collected for 30 weeks.

When you collect WorkShare benefits, however, your benefit credit is only reduced by the amount of your actual WorkShare payment.

Since your WorkShare benefits are less than what your regular unemployment benefits would be, the potential number of weeks you can collect is more than the number of weeks in the duration of your regular unemployment claim.

Here's an example:
Under the WorkShare Program, workers receive a portion of unemployment benefits equal to the reduction in work hours. If the reduction in work hours is 40 percent, the WorkShare benefits are 40 percent of the unemployment insurance benefit rate.

If the unemployment insurance benefit rate were $250, the weekly WorkShare payment would be $100. This means that the potential duration of the unemployment benefits would be more than 30 weeks.

In this example, if the plan were for 20 weeks, a WorkShare participant would have collected $2000 of the $7500 available for full unemployment insurance benefits. This means that $5500 remains in the unemployment insurance claim. That money would be available for the 26 weeks remaining in the duration of the claim, if the worker became totally unemployed.

Under the law, the maximum duration of an unemployment insurance claim is 52 weeks. Any benefits remaining after 52 weeks would no longer be available.

If You Work Part-Time for Another Employer

If you have a second job, your part-time, non WorkShare employer will need to complete a form reporting your part-time earnings. Your WorkShare employer will have these forms. Once this form is completed, you must give it to your WorkShare employer so that your earnings from this second job can be used to make any needed adjustment to your WorkShare benefits.

Any wages you earn from the second job that are in excess of $209 a week will deducted dollar-for-dollar from your WorkShare benefits.

Here's an example:
Worker A has a part-time job paying $140 a week. Worker A would have no reduction in her $50 a week in WorkShare benefits.

Worker A receives 80 percent of her regular wages, her part-time earnings of $140 a week, plus $50 a week in WorkShare benefits.

Worker B also has a part-time job. His job pays $250 a week. Worker B would have a reduction in his WorkShare benefits.

Unemployment insurance (UI) benefit rate:$250 a week
Dependency allowance for two children:+ $ 50 a week
Total UI benefits:= $300 a week
WorkShare benefits (20 percent of UI benefit rate):$60 a week
Amount of part-time earnings in excess of $209- $41 a week

Worker B receives 80 percent of his regular wages, his part-time earnings of $250 a week, plus $19 a week in WorkShare benefits.

Unemployment Insurance Benefits are Taxable

Your WorkShare benefits will not be taxed when you receive them, but you will need to report your WorkShare benefits when you file your income taxes.You will receive a Form 1099G in the mail during January that will tell you the total amount you received in benefits during the prior year. Include this amount in your tax return and attach the form when you file your return.

Prior Unemployment Insurance Overpayments

If you received unemployment insurance benefits to which you were not entitled and you did not voluntarily repay these benefits to DUA, your WorkShare benefit will be taken to recover any overpaid amount until that balance has been paid.