Skip to Content Skip to Navigation

The Shared Work Program - Overview

It's no longer necessary to lay off employees during temporary declines in business. Now there's Shared Work - the layoff alternative.

The Shared Work program gives you an alternative to laying off employees when you have to deal with temporary business downturns. It makes sense for you to keep productive employees. Instead of cutting staff, you can reduce the number of hours of:

  • All employees
    or
  • Just a select group
Example of Benefits Paid Under Shared Work Program
Under Total Unemployment Under Shared Work
An employee who earns $400/week may receive $200 unemployment benefit rate $320 per week in wages from his employer (20% of $400 equals an $80 reduction), plus $40 in Shared Work Benefits (20% of $200)

This totals $360.00 in wages and Shared Work benefits for each week of the plan, after an unpaid waiting week.

The Shared Work Program helps you avoid some of the problems caused by a layoff. If you keep your employees during a temporary slowdown, you can gear up quickly when business conditions improve. You do not have the expense of recruiting, hiring, and training new employees. Also, you spare your employees the hardships of full unemployment.

How It Works

To take part in the Shared Work Program, you must first design a Shared Work plan. Complete an application online through secure UI Online Services on your Employer Information page. Applying online will provide more accurate information and a quicker response by email. Or complete and submit both:

to the address or fax number indicated on the application.

Review instructions for completing these applications by clicking here.

The plan can cover your total work force, a particular shift or shifts, or a work unit or units. Submit your application at least two weeks, but not more than four weeks, before the proposed effective date.

If the Plan Application is submitted online, there will be an email notification of approval to you. It will contain links to all the forms needed for your employees. You can upload the employee data from a properly formatted Microsoft Excel spreadsheet into the Shared Work Application on the Employee Information Page.  At this time we can only accept Microsoft Excel spreadsheets.

If the Plan Application is submitted on paper and is approved, you will receive a supply of:

After a plan is approved, participating employees must file UI Shared Work claims between the Monday and Sunday of their first reduced Shared Work week by:

  • Going online at www.labor.ny.gov between the hours of 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday (Eastern Standard Time), 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Friday, all day Saturday, and Sunday until 7:00 p.m. or
  • Calling 1-888-209-8124 for New York State residents (or 1-877-358--5306 for out-of-state residents) between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Claims can be filed online or by telephone in English or Spanish.  If translation services for languages other than Spanish are needed, the employee can call (518) 485-6375. 

Filing a claim online has multiple benefits. The processing of the claim is expedited and direct deposit of benefits into the claimant's personal checking account is an option. This option is only available to claimants who file their claims online.

Each week that your participating employees are on Shared Work, they must claim (certify) their Shared Work benefits either online at www.labor.gov or by mail.  We recommend they certify online.  It is convenient, and they will receive their benefit payment faster by avoiding paper mail delays.  Please note that if they certify online, you must also certify online.

If you choose to certify by mail, you will give participating employees a claim certifcation form (SW4) each week that they will complete and return to you.  You must then complete your part of the certification form, and send it to the NYS Department of Labor, Unemployment Insurance Division, Shared Work Unit, PO Box 621, Albany, NY 12201-0621.  Certification forms must be sent within seven (7) days of the latest week ending date shown on Part A of the certification form. 

If you have an NY.GOV ID, you can send the forms by using the secure messaging feature after you log in to your UI Online Services account.

We electronically transfer Shared Work benefits to each employee's Direct Deposit account or Direct Payment Card account. This usually happens within 48-72 hours of processing the certifications.

The Shared Work weekly amount is the employee's weekly unemployment benefit rate multiplied by the percentage that the plan reduces their hours and wages.

Who Can Apply

Before you apply, you must have:

  • Employed at least two employees working in New York State
    and
  • For four consecutive calendar quarters, you or your predecessor, must have:
    • Paid UI contributions
      or
    • In lieu of contributions, elected reimbursement of benefits paid to your former employees

Your Shared Work plan must:

  • Reduce work hours and corresponding wages 20 - 60%
  • Apply to employees who normally work no more than 40 hours per week
  • Not reduce or eliminate fringe benefits unless fringe benefits are also being reduced or eliminated for the entire work force
  • Not extend beyond 53 weeks (when nearing the end of the plan, you may submit a request for a new plan)
  • Replace a layoff of an equal percentage of employees

You cannot hire additional employees for the work group covered by the plan. If there is a collective bargaining agreement in effect, the collective bargaining agent must agree to take part in the Shared Work plan.

Benefit Eligibility

Employees participate in the plan if they qualify to receive regular UI benefits in New York State. They must serve a waiting week before they receive Shared Work benefit payments. If they have already served a waiting period on an existing claim, they do not have to wait another week before collecting.

Employees covered under the plan:

  • May receive up to 26 weeks of regular Shared Work benefits during a benefit year
  • May not receive more in a benefit year from Shared Work benefits combined with regular UI benefits than they would receive under the regular UI program alone (26 times regular benefit rate)
  • Must be fully available for work for the Shared Work employer, but are not required to look for other work
  • Will reduce the amount of Shared Work benefits that they are eligible for if they work with a different employer or have self-employment
  • Are not eligible for Shared Work benefits in any week in which they receive supplemental unemployment compensation benefits (SUB pay)

Visit our Frequently Asked Questions for answers to commonly asked questions regarding the Shared Work Program.

File a Shared Work application online through the UI Online Services on your Employer Information page.

For further details on the Shared Work Program, call (518) 457-5807 or write to:

State of New York
Department of Labor
Unemployment Insurance Division
Liability and Determination Section
State Office Building Campus
Albany, N.Y. 12240

Thanks for the feedback! It will help us improve your experience.