How WorkShare Works

Your employees avoid layoff.  While working reduced hours, they will be able to receive UI benefits as well as their reduced wages. An employee’s reduction in regular work hours must be shared equally by all workers in the unit or units you have defined. The reduction in hours may range from 10 percent to 60 percent. Important: In order to be eligible for WorkShare, you must be up-to-date with unemployment contributions, payments in lieu of contributions, and interest or penalty charges due to the DUA and no negative Reserve Balance. 

For example:

Your company needs to cut payroll by 20 percent.

  • WorkShare allows you to reduce your employees' hours by 20 percent (a four-day work week) instead of laying off 20 percent of your workforce.
  • Your employees receive 20 percent of their regular unemployment insurance benefits, thereby largely offsetting their lost earnings.
  • Your employees continue to receive regular wages for the hours they work in addition to their WorkShare benefits.

During their participation in WorkShare, your employees:

    • Receive a percentage of their regular salary. If they work 80 percent of their regular work week, they receive 80 percent of their salary.
    • Receive UI benefits in addition to their reduced wages. Their UI benefits are a percentage of their benefit rate equal to the percentage of the reduction in their hours. For example, if hours and wages are reduced 20 percent, employees are eligible for 20 percent of their unemployment insurance benefit rate. Each employee's benefit rate is calculated based on past earnings.
    • Receive a percentage of dependency allowance under certain conditions. An allowance of $25 per dependent child is available for workers who are the whole or main support for any children 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.

The WorkShare program allows an employee whose regular work hours are reduced 20 percent and who has dependent children to receive 20 percent of the regular dependency allowance along with the 20 percent of their UI benefits.

    • Receive their regular health insurance benefits.
    • For employees who are working a part-time second job, there is also a generous disregard of part-time earnings before any deductions are made from the employee’s WorkShare benefits.

Your Checklist for Developing a WorkShare Plan

  • You must specify the unit or units that will participate in WorkShare. These employees must work in a clearly defined, group. The group can be your entire company, a facility, department, shift, job function or another definable unit with at least two employees.
  • You must certify that the reduction in work hours is in lieu of layoffs, and give the reason for the expected duration of the work reduction. Decide in advance the duration of your WorkShare plan. It can range from 1 to 26 weeks.
  • You must specify the beginning and end dates. Your start date must be at least 3 weeks from the date of your application. Because UI benefits are paid for weeks beginning on Sundays and ending on Saturdays, your plan must have a Sunday starting 3 weeks after your application date and a Saturday end date.
  • You must identify the employees in the affected unit by name, social security number, the normal weekly hours of work, and the proposed reduction in working hours. All employees in the affected unit must be included in the WorkShare plan and all must have the same reduction in hours.
  • You must apply the plan to only full-time and permanent part-time employees. Seasonal employees may not participate in WorkShare.
  • If the employees are covered by collective bargaining, the union must agree to your WorkShare plan. It is best to consult with the union early in the process. When you file an application to participate in WorkShare, you will need to have the signatures of the appropriate union officials.
  • The reduction in the normal weekly hours must be shared equally by all employees in the unit or units you have defined. The reduction in hours may range from 10 percent to 60 percent.
  • You must continue to provide the same health insurance benefits to the employees in the affected units. This means that their health insurance benefits cannot be changed because of their reduced hours of work.
  • You must continue to provide retirement benefits (under a benefit pension plan as defined in Section 3 (35) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 to any employees participating in WorkSharing. You are required to explain any reduction in retirement benefits.
  • You must be up-to-date with unemployment contributions, payments in lieu of contributions, interest or penalty charges due the Department of Unemployment Assistance.
  • You must agree to furnish all reports and information necessary for the administration of your plan, and permit access to all records that are necessary to verify and evaluate the plan.

    Changing or Discontinuing Your WorkShare Plan

  • You can terminate an approved plan at any time.
  • DUA can revoke a plan with good cause. Examples of good cause are:
    • Failure to comply with the assurances given in the plan.
    • Unreasonable revision of the productivity standards for the affected unit.
    • Conduct or occurrences that are intended to defeat the purpose and effective operation of the plan.
    • Violation of the criteria on which the plan was approved.
  • If you need to modify your existing WorkShare plan, please contact the DUA WorkShare department at (617) 626-5521.

How WorkShare Affects Your Unemployment Insurance Contributions

  • If your account reserve is positive, UI benefits paid to your employees under an approved WorkShare plan are charged the same way as regular UI benefits.
  • If your account reserve is negative, you will be charged dollar-for-dollar for UI benefits paid to your employees. The charges will include any dependency allowance paid.
  • If your organization reimburses DUA for UI benefits paid in lieu of contributions you will be charged dollar-for-dollar for the WorkShare benefits paid that are paid to your employees.
  • If WorkShare benefits are improperly paid to your employees as a result of misleading or misrepresented information submitted by your company, your company will be liable for the repayment of those UI benefits.