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  • Shared Work for Employers: Frequently Asked Questions

    Online weekly certification is available - even if the initial application was done via paper. It is convenient, and participating employees will receive benefits faster by avoiding paper mail delays. Please note that if you certify online, plan participants must also certify online.

    Q: When will the Shared Work Plan begin?

    A: The plan begins on the later of:

    • The date listed on the employer's application form
    • The first Monday after we approve the plan
    Do not submit applications more than one month before the start date.  It is important to submit the application at least three weeks before the chosen start date of the plan. We will not approve a Shared Work Plan once the start date has passed.


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    Q: What should employees do once a plan is approved?

    A: Employees that do not have an existing Unemployment Insurance claim must file one during their first reduced week under your Shared Work plan in order to start receiving benefits.  Employees may file online at www.labor.ny.gov/signin (recommended). They may also use our Tel-Service automated phone system by calling (888) 209-8124. If your employees would like direct deposit of their benefits, they must file online.

    Please note that filing online is a two-step process:

         1.)  Employees must first create or update an NY.gov ID account
         2.)  After they have created/updated this account, they may then access the claim filing system by logging on with their ID.

    If an employee does not file his or her claim during the first reduced week, the claim will not have the correct effective date, and the employee will experience a delay in receiving Shared Work benefits.

     

     

     


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    Q: How are Shared Work benefits claimed?

    A: Employees must certify for their mandatory waiting week during the week following their first reduction under Shared Work. Each employee must complete the certification either online or on paper. You, as the employer, will decide which method will be used. All employees must use the same method. We encourage online certifications.

    If computer skills or access are an issue for your employees, we will process paper claims. Use the SW4.1 form SW4.1 at the end of the first reduced week and form SW4 SW4 for all remaining weeks. Certifications must be submitted weekly. If you have 10 or fewer employees certifying in a given week, you may fax the certifications to (518) 457-0185. Otherwise, the certifications must be mailed to NYS DOL, Shared Work Unit, PO Box 621, Albany, NY 12201-0621.

    Shared Work benefits are always claimed for the week prior.  This means that in any given week, you and your employees will be certifying to work performed during the previous week.


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    Q: Once DOL has approved a Shared Work Plan, can the employer change it?

    A: Yes. An employer may submit a modification to:

    • Add new work units not included in the original application  
    • Add an individual who was hired to replace an employee who has left

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    Q: What happens if I don't need the plan in a particular week?

    A: You simply do not certify for any week that employees are not reduced.
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    Q: What if I sent the plan in with a 30% reduction, but I find I need to change it?

    A: As long as your reduction falls between 20%-60%, you may change the percentage as your business needs dictate.
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    Q: How do I notify you that a participant is no longer employed and should be removed from the Shared Work Plan?

    A: When you are submitting your weekly certifications, select a status of 'quit', 'discharged' or 'permanently laid off' to notify us that a participant is no longer employed; you will be asked for that participant's last day worked.
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    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.  
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    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.


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    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.


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    Q: How many work units can I create?

    A: While you can submit a plan with all of your employees in one unit, we generally recommend creating smaller units specific to particular jobs or shifts. This will allow you the flexibility to reduce or not reduce employees as business cycles demand.
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    Q: Can a Shared Work Plan include a unit that consists of one employee?

    A: No.  An affected Unit must have at least 2 employees.


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    Q: Can Corporate officers be included in the Shared Work plan?

    A: No, Corporate officers cannot be included in the plan.
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    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.


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    Q: What effect will Shared Work benefits have on an employer's Unemployment Insurance rate?

    A: Shared Work benefits are charged against an employer's experience rating account.

    This means that the benefits paid under a Shared Work plan will be charged to your Unemployment Insurance account. This may have an effect on your Unemployment Insurance contribution rate depending on your specific situation. If you have questions about the impact of Shared Work on your Unemployment Insurance rate, call our Liability & Determination Section at (518) 457-2635.


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    Q: Does the employer need to specify which employees will take part in the Shared Work Program?

    A: Yes. Your plan must include the following information for all participating employees:

    • Names
    • Social Security account numbers 
    • Normal work hours per week
    • Identify an employee if they are hired for seasonal, temporary or intermittent work

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    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.


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    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.


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    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.


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    Q: Are Shared Work benefits taxable?

    A: Yes.  Any UI benefits, including Shared Work benefits, are subject to Federal, State, and Local income tax.


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    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.

    The Shared Work Program is flexible. It can be customized to fit a variety of work situations. It saves money. It saves jobs.

    A Shared Work Plan application can be completed online. UI Online Services provides a secure connection to your Employer Information Page. The application must be filed at least two weeks, but no more than four weeks, before the start date of the plan. Go to the UI Online Services log on page to log on or create an account.

    Click here for additional information or to obtain a Shared Work Plan application. Or call: (518) 457-2635.

    Or write to:

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


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