Update May 5: This blog has been updated to reflect additional guidance about Work Share Oregon.
Oregon's Work Share program seeks to prevent layoffs by enabling employers to enter into a voluntary agreement with the Oregon Employment Department (OED) to temporarily reduce employee hours and wages and supplement those wages with partial unemployment benefits.
In order for its employees to be eligible to participate in Work Share, the employer must apply for the program by submitting a written plan to the OED for approval. Once an approved plan is in place, the employer submits one weekly claim covering all participating employees. Employees simply complete a two-page initial claim form and then are eligible for up to 52 weeks of Work Share benefits, which will be deducted from their available maximum Oregon Unemployment Insurance benefit amount.
Key requirements include the following:
To qualify, three or more employees must participate in the reduced work hour plan whose work hours and wages must be reduced by at least 20 percent, but by no more than 40 percent per week. Eligible employees must have worked full-time for at least six months, or part-time for 12 months immediately preceding submission of the Work Share plan.
- Offers staffing options when times are tough.
- Provides a way to keep valued employees during slow times.
- Helps you avoid expensive re-training.
- Rewards staff loyalty.
- Keeps your quality and efficiency high, even when times are slow.
- Enables you to be better prepared to ramp up when the market does.
- Provides confidential and discreet support for your business and your employees.
- Helps avoid hardships usually associated with layoffs.
- Unemployment insurance benefits reduce the impact of lost wages.
- Participating employees remain eligible for the additional $600 benefit under the CARES Act through the week of July 25, 2020.
- No job-hunting requirements as with traditional unemployment insurance claims.
- Benefits stay intact, despite not being employed full-time.
- Reduction in hours, while employees must remain available to work for their employer at all times, allows for schedule flexibility .
Oregon Work Share's dedicated program page is located here and includes detailed step-by-step instructional videos and necessary forms.
FAQs are available here.