Q: Can an employer lay off some workers who were originally in the plan and still keep the remainder in the plan?
A: Yes. Shared Work would still prevent the layoffs of the remaining employees, which is the program's intent, or you could reduce hours and wages of the employees further to avoid any layoffs.
Q: Once the Shared Work Plan is in effect, can an employer hire a replacement for an employee who leaves to work for another employer?
A: Yes. The law only prohibits you from hiring additional employees to work in an affected unit. You can hire replacements for employees who leave the company while the plan is in effect.
Q: If an employer chooses Shared Work, must it apply to the whole business or company?
A: No, you can use Shared Work in one or more departments, shifts, or units. The plan gives you the flexibility to choose the areas involved. You must apply the reductions in hours and wages equally to all of the employees in the chosen unit or department. However, you may reduce the hours and wages of employees in different departments or units by different percentages, if specified in the plan.
Q: Can employees who normally work overtime receive Shared Work benefits for a reduction in their overtime hours?
A: No. Shared Work benefits are only for wages lost because of a reduction in the employee's "normal work" hours. "Normal work" hours are normally no more than 40 hours per week.
Q: What effect will Shared Work benefits have on an employer's unemployment insurance rate?
A: Beginning April 29, 2013, your Unemployment Insurance account will not be charged for benefits paid to Shared Work participants, unless they are seasonal, temporary or intermittent employees. Under the federal Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, the federal government will be temporarily paying Shared Work charges to employers' unemployment insurance experience rating accounts, except for seasonal, temporary or intermittent employees. This means that in many cases, your unemployment insurance experience rating will no longer be negatively affected by participating in Shared Work -- which will save you money in unemployment insurance contributions. If you have any questions about the impacts of Shared Work on your UI rate, call our Liability & Determination Section at 518-457-2635.
Q: Is an employer required to file reports while the Shared Work Plan is in effect?
A: Yes. You must complete part of each employee's bi-weekly Shared Work continued claim form. This is to make sure that each employee is paid the proper Shared Work benefit amount.
Q: Can employees receive Shared Work benefits if their hours and wages are reduced less than 20% or more than 60%?
A: No. However, those employees may be eligible to receive partial benefits under the regular unemployment insurance program.
Q: If the employer's Shared Work Plan expires but the employees still work a reduced work schedule, can they still receive Shared Work benefits?
A: No. Shared Work benefits are only payable while the plan is in effect. You should make arrangements -- before the plan expiration date -- to apply for a new plan. This will prevent interruption of payments.
Q: Can people in the Shared Work Program have income tax withheld from Shared Work benefits?
A: You can choose to have both federal and New York State income tax withheld from your benefits when you file your Shared Work unemployment insurance claim. If you choose to have taxes withheld, the withholding amount is set at 10% for federal taxes and 2.5% for New York State taxes. Taxes withheld will be reported on a 1099-G statement that is mailed after the end of the year.
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