State urges employers to avoid layoffs with Work-Share

    Man pouring Concrete
    Photo by Martin Nilla, Creative Commons.

    Wisconsin’s revised Work-Share program is now up and running, enabling employers to schedule full-time workers as part-timers, while workers who lose hours can get unemployment compensation to make up for lost wages.

    Language making it easier for employers to implement a Work-Share program was included in the COVID-19 relief bill passed and signed into law earlier this month.

    On Monday, Wisconsin’s Department of Workforce Development (DWD) issued an appeal to employers to adopt a Work-Share program as an alternative to laying off employees in response to the economic downturn triggered by COVID-19 and the shutdown of many business operations in the state.

    By implementing a Work-Share program that converts employees to part-timers until business picks back up, employers save money while employees continue to get health benefits from their employers and collect unemployment compensation pro-rated based on their reduced hours.

    “By participating in the Work-Share Program, employers will be able to retain their trained staff during the times of reduced business activity, allowing them to be ready as soon as the business reopens,” DWD stated.

    The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act covers 100% of Wisconsin’s costs for paying Work-Share unemployment benefits through the end of 2020.

    Erik Gunn
    Senior Reporter Erik Gunn reports and writes on work and the economy, along with related subjects, for the Wisconsin Examiner. He spent 24 years as a freelance writer for Milwaukee Magazine, Isthmus, The Progressive, BNA Inc., and other publications, winning awards for investigative reporting, feature writing, beat coverage, business writing, and commentary. An East Coast native, he previously covered labor for The Milwaukee Journal after reporting for newspapers in upstate New York and northern Illinois. He's a graduate of Beloit College (English Comp.) and the Columbia School of Journalism. Off hours he is the Examiner's resident Springsteen and Jackson Browne fanboy and model railroad nerd.