By Chad Pearson, State of Washington Employment Security Department Shared Work Program
Washington businesses big and small continue to avoid layoffs using the Employment Security Department’s Shared Work Program.
Even as Washington’s unemployment rate has dropped to nearly five percent, more than 700 businesses in the state continue to use the program. That’s because Shared Work can be helpful not only during a recession or uneven economic times, but also when a supplier’s delivery is delayed or a road construction project has disturbed traffic outside their business.
Washington’s program is so effective at preventing layoffs, the U.S. Department of Labor recently promoted it as a model for other states, encouraging them to set up their own programs.
What makes Shared Work so successful? It allows employers to reduce the hours of their permanent employees from a flexible 10 to 50 percent, and those employees then receive a corresponding portion of unemployment benefits. Employers lower payroll costs and keep their skilled workers when hours are short; and employees earn more than if completely laid off and can return to regular hours when business picks up.
The 2015 survey of participating businesses showed positive reviews from both employees and employers. In fact, 98 percent of the employers surveyed said they would recommend Shared Work to other businesses going through similar situations.
Find more information and a video about Shared Work on Employment Security’s website at www.esd.wa.gov/shared-work.