MIDDLETOWN — Gov. Ned Lamont has announced that as companies continue navigating the impact of the ongoing, global Covid-19 pandemic, the state will expand its Shared Work program, which helps businesses in the state prevent layoffs by allowing them to temporarily reduce employee hours and use partial unemployment benefits to supplement lost wages.

The program will be expanded beginning the week of October 5.

The program is administered by the state Department of Labor.

“Covid-19 is impacting businesses all over the world, and we are committed to working with those in Connecticut to lessen the impact and keep their workers employed,” Gov. Lamont said. “This program has helped many companies over the years, and expanding it will allow these workers to keep their jobs, continue earning a paycheck and help these Connecticut-based companies grow.”

“The impact of the pandemic is felt across Connecticut, state government must find every opportunity to support businesses and the workforce,” Labor Deputy Commissioner Daryle Dudzinski said. 

“Over the past six months, Shared Work has benefited more than 24,300 workers from 1340 companies, allowing them to keep their jobs and benefits during a time of economic crisis.

“Employers have a skilled talent pool they don’t want to lose while waiting for economic recovery. Shared Work helps them temporarily reduce overhead without risking the human capital that makes the business successful. I want to thank Gov. Lamont and Commissioner [Kurt] Lehman for their full support of the Shared Work program.”

The Shared Work program helps employers retain a talented workforce during economic downturns. 

Rather than laying off the workforce – and having to recruit, hire and train new labor when the economy recovers – Shared Work employers are able to reduce overhead by temporarily cutting hours.

Their employees keep their jobs at a reduced schedule, keep their benefits and are able to file for partial unemployment benefits for the lost wages. 

Employer eligibility includes companies with two or more workers that have hourly reductions within 10 to 60 percent of normal hours, provided that the lost hours are not related to seasonal separations. Shared Work runs for a maximum of six months for each employee.

In the year prior to the pandemic – from March 2019 through March 2020 – the program served 288 companies and just under 2,900 workers. 

Over the past six months, the program has grown to 1,340 companies with more than 24,300 participating.

An early-pandemic U.S. Department of Labor decision has renewed interest in Shared Work. 

The federal government will reimburse the Trust Fund for unemployment costs normally charged to the employers.

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