Proposes that the federal government take additional actions to encourage the use of work sharing as an alternative to layoffs during future U.S. recessions.
“Recent public debate about the problem of unemployment—and especially long-term unemployment—has focused to a great extent on providing extended unemployment insurance (UI) benefits to support family incomes following a job loss. Strategies for preventing layoffs have not received comparable attention in the United States. By comparison, many other developed countries have incorporated work sharing into their UI systems, permitting the payment of prorated benefits to workers who are kept on the job with reduced hours because of slack demand. If work sharing was more accessible in the United States, more employers might be encouraged to reduce work hours during periods of slack demand rather than lay people off” (p.1).  This report highlights the challenges that discourage the use of work-sharing programs and recommends several steps the federal government should take to promote the use of such programs.  (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)

Major Findings & Recommendations

The authors recommend that the federal government take the following steps “to make work sharing more available as an option for employers and to encourage the use of work sharing as an alternative to layoffs during future recessions” (p.4): • “Make work-sharing provisions a requirement for state UI programs” (p.4). • “Change federal requirements to prohibit certain provisions of state work-sharing programs that may discourage employer participation” (p.5). • “Provide states with adequate capacity and funding to operate and promote their work-sharing programs” (p.5). • “Subsidize work-sharing payments during economic downturns” (p.6). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)