The Shared Work program provides an alternative for employers faced with a reduction in force by allowing businesses to divide available work or hours among affected employees in lieu of layoffs. The program allows the employees to receive a portion of Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits while working reduced hours.
As an employer, how can I structure multiple Shared Work programs for various types of employees?
Employers can have two or more Shared Work plans in effect at the same time covering separate groups of employees. Each plan must include at least two (2) employees all identified by name and social security number. All plans must be approved by the Department of Economic Security.
Do all of my employees have to be part of the Shared Work program, or can some be traditionally laid off?
No, an employer can decide which employees participate in the Shared Work and which are laid off. More information about this can be found in the Shared Work application.
Can an employer reapply for the Shared Work program after they have been denied?
Yes, employers can reapply by submitting a new application that satisfies the requirement(s) of the program.
If the employer applied for other new federal programs, will they still be eligible for Shared Work?
This will need to be evaluated on a program-by-program basis.
How much can an employer reduce an employee’s hours and still be eligible for the shared work program?
The Shared Work program allows employers to reduce normal weekly hours by at least 10% and no more than 40%.
Are companies required to provide employees with health insurance while participating in the Shared Work program?
Yes, the employer must continue to provide health insurance during the time period they participate in the Shared Work program. Health insurance information is a requirement of the Shared Work plan that the employer submits.
Does the time an employee participates in the Shared Work program take away from the maximum period they are eligible to receive Unemployment Benefits?
Benefits received through the Shared Work Program are considered regular unemployment benefits.
Their continuing eligibility would depend on the remaining balance of their maximum benefit award and the benefit year-end date of their claim.
As work schedules may vary week by week, whose responsibility is it to report actual hours worked? The Employer, Employee or both?
The employer is responsible to report the hours worked on the Employer Certification List that is submitted every other week to the Shared Work program. The employee's only obligation is to work all of the hours the employer schedules every week.
What should an employer do if they have to lay off or furlough employees who are currently enrolled in a Shared Work program?
The employer should submit an email to the Shared Work team with a list of the employees who are laid off or furloughed and no longer participating in the Shared Work program. DES will transfer the affected employees to regular unemployment status (no action is needed by claimants) and then the employees should start filing their weekly unemployment claims the following Sunday as regular claimants.
Note: the employer can continue on the Shared Work plan as long as two or more employees continue participating in the program.
What is the Shared Work Program?
The Shared Work Unemployment Compensation Program is an alternative for employers faced with a reduction in force. It allows an employer to divide the available work or hours of work among a specified group of affected employees in lieu of a layoff, and it allows the employees to receive a portion of their Unemployment Insurance (UI)benefits while working reduced hours. The Shared Work Program is not available to an employee unless the employer for whom the individual is currently working reduced hours completes an application which then must be approved by the Department of Economic Security.
An approved Shared Work Plan is valid for one year and an employee may be eligible for up to 26 weeks of Shared Work benefits.
What are the eligibility requirements?
The employee is eligible for Shared Work benefits for each week in which:
How does the Shared Work Program differ from regular Unemployment Insurance?
Under the Shared Work Program, employees:
An employee who participates in a Shared Work plan may not receive benefits for any week in which he or she receives regular UI benefits, nor may an employee participate concurrently in two or more Shared Work plans.
As an employer, how will the Shared Work Program affect my UI Tax Account?
Shared Work benefits are charged against reimbursement and experience-rated employer accounts in the same manner as regular benefits are charged. Prior to January 2017, any experience-rated employer with a negative reserve in his/her tax account and having employees paid Shared Work benefits during the fiscal year July 1 through June 30 may have had a surtax added. The surtax was added to the computed rate of negative reserve accounts. Due to the repeal of A.R.S. 23-765 through the passing of HB 2222, effective January 1, 2017, no surtax will be added to the computed rates of any employer accounts for participating in the Shared Work Program.
What other criteria must the employer meet?
The employer must certify that, for the duration of the Shared Work plan, the reduction in hours replaces a layoff which would have resulted in a reduction of at least the same number of hours of work.
A business facing a 20% reduction in production usually lays off one-fifth of its workforce. Under an approved Shared Work plan, a company could employ its total workforce by reducing the work week to four days. This allows the employer to carry out the 20% reduction without initiating layoffs. Each employee participating in the reduction would receive a partial payment equal to 20% of his or her individual weekly UI benefit amount in addition to income for the four days of work.
What are the advantages (and disadvantages) of participating in the Shared Work Program?
Advantages to the Shared Work Program
Disadvantages of the Shared Work Program
How can an employer apply for a Shared Work Plan?
A Shared Work Plan Application is available online. Your completed application and list of participants should be submitted at least 10 days prior to the date you wish your plan to begin. You will be notified by mail of the approval or disapproval of your plan.
An employer may have two or more plans in effect at the same time (to cover separate groups of employees). Each plan must include at least two employees, and all must be identified by name and Social Security Number. Each plan must specify the beginning date for the plan.
On the application, the employer must certify that:
For more information about the Shared Work Program, please email the Shared Work team.