Employers may be able to avoid layoffs by choosing the WorkShare alternative. Previously in a temporary layoff situation, employers who hoped to reemploy their workers ran the risk of losing those skilled workers to other business opportunities. The WorkShare program allows employers to retain their skilled workers during times of slowdown by simply reducing the work hours of a larger group of employees. Employees whose hours and wages are reduced would be eligible to receive a portion of their regular unemployment insurance benefits to compensate for the lost wages. In addition to sparing employers the potential loss of its existing workforce, WorkShare also spares a company's employees the financial and emotional hardship associated with a layoff situation.
How can I get started
Employers can access WorkShare application documents on this webpage. If you’re interested in applying for WorkShare, we encourage you to review the information found on this website. If you feel your company and employees meet the criteria for approval, complete the application materials in the button below Eligibility, and fax to (401) 462-8506. You will be contacted by a member of our WorkShare Unit within 48 hours.
Frequent Questions | WorkShare Brochure | WorkShare Updates
WorkShare is available to any employer with two or more employees. Interested employers may apply for WorkShare by calling our Employer phone line at (401) 462-8418. Employees who normally work for the employer submitting a WorkShare plan and who would normally be eligible to receive regular unemployment insurance benefits in Rhode Island are eligible to participate in WorkShare. The following also apply:
The employee must serve a waiting period before receiving WorkShare benefits, unless a waiting period has already been served on an existing claim.
During the week, the individual is employed as a member of an affected unit under a WorkShare plan which was approved prior to that week, and the plan is in effect the week for which WorkShare benefits are claimed.
The individual is able to work and is available for the normal work week with the WorkShare employer.
The employee must work all the hours offered by the WorkShare employer in any given week up to the employee's usual weekly hours.
If an individual has earnings in the same week with another employer, those earnings will not affect the individual's WorkShare benefits. The employee can receive a maximum of 52 weeks of WorkShare benefits during a single benefit year.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Click the question to display the answer1. What is a WorkShare Plan and who may apply?A WorkShare plan is a plan submitted by an employer under which there is a reduction in the number hours worked by the employees in the affected unit in lieu of layoffs of some of the employees.
All Rhode Island employers whose taxes or reimbursement payments are currently up to date are eligible to apply for WorkShare. Interested employers may apply for the Program by calling (401) 462-8418.
2. What are the advantages - to the employer and to the workers?The employer retains trained workers and has the ability to respond quickly when business increases. The workers do not lose their jobs, retain their fringe benefits and may be eligible to receive combined wages and WorkShare benefits equal to about 90.8% of their regular pay.
Employees who normally work full-time or part-time for the WorkShare employer and who would normally be eligible to receive unemployment insurance benefits in Rhode Island are eligible to participate in WorkShare.
3. What is an affected unit?An affected unit is a specified plant, department, shift or other definable unit consisting of two or more employees to which an approved WorkShare Plan applies. There is no limit as to the size of the employer; however, the affected unit must have at least two employees in order to participate.
4. Who does the plan cover and when does it begin? What are the fringe benefits?The plan can cover the employer's total workforce, a particular shift, or a specific unit. The plan only applies to employees who normally work for the employer submitting the WorkShare plan.The plan must meet the requirements of the law and be approved in writing by the Director before the plan can take effect. The plan is good for one year from the effective date of the plan. The Director approves or rejects a plan in writing.
Fringe benefits include, but are not limited to, health insurance, retirement benefits, paid vacation and holidays, sick leave, and similar advantages which are incidents of employment.
5. What are the criteria which need to be met in order to be approved for WorkShare?• The plan must identify the affected unit or units and specify the proposed starting date of the plan.
• The employees in the affected unit or units must be identified by name, social security number, the usual weekly hours of work, proposed wage and hour reduction and any other information that the Director requires.
• The plan must certify that the reduction in the usual weekly hours of work is in lieu of layoffs which may affect at least 10 percent of the employees in the affected unit or units to which the plan applies.
• The usual weekly hours of work for employees in the affected unit or units are reduced by not less than 10% and not more than 50%.
• The employer agrees to furnish reports relating to the proper conduct of the plan and agrees to allow the Director or his/her authorized representative access to all records necessary to verify the plan prior to approval and, after approval, to monitor and evaluate application of the plan
• The employer certifies health benefits and/or retirement benefits under a defined benefit plan (as defined in section 414(j) of the Internal Revenue Code) or contributions under a defined contribution plan (as defined in section 414(i) of the Internal Revenue Code) to any employee whose workweek is reduced under the program, the employer certifies that such benefits will continue to be provided to employees participating in the worksharing program under the same terms and conditions as though the workweek of such employee had not been reduced or to the same extent as other employees not participating in the worksharing program.
• The employer describes the manner in which the requirements of this section will be implemented (including a plan for giving notice, where feasible, to an employee whose workweek is to be reduced) together with an estimate of the number of layoffs that would have occurred absent the ability to participate in the work-sharing program and such other information as the secretary of labor determines is appropriate.
6. Can an employer apply for WorkShare if the employees are represented by a collective bargaining agent or union?In the case of employees represented by a collective bargaining agent or union, the plan must be approved in writing by the collective bargaining agents or unions who cover the affected employees.
7. How long can an employee receive WorkShare benefits?The employee can receive a maximum of 52 weeks of WorkShare benefits during a single benefit year.
8. What other conditions apply to employees collecting WorkShare Benefits?• The individuals must be able and available for the normal work week with the WorkShare employer.
• The employee must work all the hours offered by the WorkShare employer in any given week up to the employee's usual weekly hours.
• If an individual has earnings in the same week with another employer, those earnings will not affect the individual's WorkShare benefits if that person is working less than full time for the other employer or employers. This condition only applies for any week the claimant is receiving WorkShare benefits.
9. Can I apply for WorkShare if I am a seasonal employer?NO. Seasonal employment means employment with an employer who displays a 20% difference between its highest level of employment and its lowest level of employment each year for the previous calendar years as reported to the Department of Labor and Training, or as shown in such information which is available and satisfactory to the Director. The plan will not serve as a subsidy of seasonal employment during the off season, or as a subsidy for intermittent employment.
Let us know what you think of the WorkShare program! Email dlt.WorkShare@dlt.ri.gov or call WorkShare at (401) 462-8418.
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