* Frank Manzo and Robert Bruno…
As part of a state’s unemployment insurance system, work-share programs (also called “short-time compensation programs”) allow employers to temporarily reduce the hours of their workers during economic downturns as an alternative to laying them off altogether. For example, an employer might reduce the work hours of the entire workforce by 20 percent, from five days per week to four days per week, instead of laying off 20 percent of the workforce. Workers in the firms that participate in work-share programs receive partial unemployment insurance benefits to supplement the lost earnings from their reduced hours. By allowing full-time employees’ hours to be reduced in lieu of layoffs, work-share programs ensure businesses can retain skilled workers until economic conditions improve, enable workers to keep their jobs and collect reduced unemployment benefits, and reduce both unemployment rates and full unemployment insurance payments for states.
Sounds like a good idea. And 29 states and the District of Columbia have work-share programs, including Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan.
* Illinois actually has a work-share law on the books. From 2015…
It took a year to do it, but the Illinois Legislature unanimously passed a bill designed to prevent layoffs by providing partial compensation for employees who lose work hours.
Gov. Pat Quinn on Dec. 23 signed the “shared work benefits” bill, which was passed in April by the House and agreed to in November by the Senate.
* But it’s never been implemented. Back to Manzo and Bruno…
While its passage drew support from the labor movement and the business community, the program was never fully implemented because the Illinois Department of Employment Security did not issue rules during the Rauner Administration.
* Fox 32…
Researchers estimate it could prevent up to 124,000 coronavirus layoffs in Illinois, not to mention saving the state’s unemployment insurance fund $1.1 billion.
“Under the $2-trillion dollar coronavirus relief package, the federal government is, with some stipulation, fully reimbursing states for their workshare program. So it is free money for the 29 states that currently have these 29 programs,” said Frank Manzo of the Illinois Economic Policy Institute. […]
A spokeswoman for the governor said Pritzker “would definitely look into” the “Work Share” program.
They need to draft some emergency rules. Stat.