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New York State
Department of Labor

David A. Paterson, Governor Colleen C. Gardner, Commissioner

New York Layoff Aversion Program Saves Thousands of Jobs This Year

Department of Labor releases 8-month report on Shared Work

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Albany, NY (October 21, 2009) -

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.” 

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.

“If you are a business in trouble and you’re thinking of laying off workers -- before you make a move, contact the Department of Labor to see what we can offer you.” said Smith.

            Shared Work Statewide Totals

January 1, 2007 - September 9, 2009

Year

Firms

Jobs Saved (estimated)

2007

293

2,771

2008

483

4,030

2009

1,858

10,500

 

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:

  • a reduction in work hours between 20 - 60%
  • benefits may not be used to pay existing part-time employees
  • no reduction in fringe benefits
  • no extension beyond 53 weeks
  • approval by the NYSDOL Liability & Determination Section before implementation
  • the employer cannot hire more workers for the group covered by the plan
  • the plan must be in lieu of a layoff of an equivalent percentage of the workforce
  • all employees in an affected unit reduce their hours by the same extent (different units may reduce varying percentages)
  • in union shops, the collective bargaining unit must agree to the Shared Work Program

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.

Shared Work by Region

January 1, 2008 - September 9, 2009

Region

Year

Firms

Jobs Saved

 

 

 

 

Capital Region

2008

49

366

 

2009

123

589

 

 

 

 

Long Island

2008

54

278

 

2009

216

977

 

 

 

 

Finger Lakes

2008

63

749

 

2009

324

2317

 

 

 

 

Hudson Valley

2008

45

177

 

2009

126

567

 

 

 

 

Mohawk Valley

2008

27

237

 

2009

76

666

 

 

 

 

New York City

2008

37

167

 

2009

327

1359

 

 

 

 

North Country

2008

10

74

 

2009

33

251

 

 

 

 

Southern Tier

2008

44

261

 

2009

120

1085

 

 

 

 

Central New York

2008

51

418

 

2009

135

868

 

 

 

 

Western New York

2008

86

1116

 

2009

294

1916

 

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