New York Layoff Aversion Program Saves Thousands of Jobs This Year
Department of Labor releases 8-month report on Shared Work
Albany, NY (October 21, 2009) - Can't See the video? Click Here to Get Adobe Flash Player. Governor Paterson announced today that the Department of Labor’s Shared Work program saved more than 10,500 jobs statewide in the first eight months of this year, attracting more than 1,800 companies to participate – more than three times the number of companies that took part in Shared Work in all of 2008.
“During this economic crisis, government needs to respond and the Shared Work program has delivered time and time again,” said Governor David A. Paterson. “Helping keep one company from laying off one worker is a good day, helping keep over 1,800 companies from laying off more than 10,000 workers is striking and a prime example of government working for the people.”
Commissioner M. Patricia Smith said Shared Work has performed exactly as intended, saving jobs while allowing companies to cut costs and survive in this difficult economic climate. The Commissioner pointed to the success, as she called for more companies to contact the Department of Labor to take advantage of the program.
Thomas Marusak, founder and President of Comfortex Corporation in Watervliet, NY, whose company has been using the Shared Work Program for at least a decade, encourages other businesses across the state to take advantage of the program. “If you don't know about the Shared Work program, you have to seek out an application to this program immediately because it's one of the best programs that New York State offers.”
Shared Work gives employers an alternative to layoffs. Rather than lay off a percentage of workers to cut costs, an employer can reduce hours of all or a particular group of employees.
Those employees can use the program to collect unemployment insurance benefits to make up for the lost wages. The Shared Work program allows employees to retain their health insurance, retirement, vacation pay or other fringe benefits.
The benefit for a participating company is they keep the skilled and trained worker during the economic downturn. When business picks up, the employer does not have to find new workers and train them.
Martina Julian, a Comfortex employee, says the program saved her job. “I would have had to take another job to help pay for my bills and everything,” she noted.
To participate in the program, an employer must have at least five full-time (35-40 hours/week) employees, and have paid (or its predecessor paid) UI tax contributions for at least a year. Employers must apply to the Liability & Determination Section at least two weeks before the start of the program.
A Shared Work plan must include:
Employees who would normally qualify for regular unemployment insurance benefits in New York State are eligible to participate in the Shared Work Program. Because Shared Work is an alternative to layoffs, a plan cannot result in payment of more benefits than would have been paid if a total layoff occurred. Individuals can collect 20 weeks of Shared Work benefits and may be able to collect beyond this through additional funding. However, any additional emergency or extended benefits will require federal legislation.
Companies can apply for the Shared Work program at: http://www.labor.state.ny.us/ui/dande/sharedwork1.shtm
In addition, a business interested in applying for the Shared Work program on behalf of its workers can call (518) 457-5807.