October 24, 2021
Governor Kathy Hochul has signed legislation allowing employees facing potential layoff to petition employers to participate in a shared work program. Under this amendment to labor law, the majority of employees may submit a request for a shared work program in writing to the employer before the layoff or within 10 days of the layoff. The employer then has seven days to respond and is not required to implement the program. This is especially important for ensuring full groups of laid off workers are rehired when business returns to normal, instead of just smaller portions of workers.
“In order for our economy to come back stronger than ever from this pandemic, we need to make sure our recovery efforts focus on supporting workers,” Governor Hochul said. “By allowing for the use of shared work programs in New York, we have added another way for companies to avoid layoffs and keep New Yorkers employed.”
Shared work programs allow employers to reduce all employee hours, but keep the entire staff working, helping avoid layoffs. The state then helps these workers with reduced hours by providing unemployment insurance assistance to cover lost wages. The United State Department of Labor has encouraged shared work programs to help reopen the economy by allowing more workers to be rehired.
This bill not only helps people stay employed – minimizing unemployment insurance costs – but it also helps businesses keep their well trained staff instead of laying them off, helping to keep our businesses running smoothly.
Senator Shelley B. Mayer said, “The NYS Department of Labor’s Shared Work programs provide businesses and employees the flexibility to weather economic downturns by preventing layoffs, reducing the cost of training new employees, and allowing employees to receive partial unemployment benefits while working on a part-time basis. This law will increase participation in these underutilized programs by empowering workers to request that their employers apply without fear of retaliation. I applaud Governor Hochul for helping New Yorkers get back to work and build back stronger from the pandemic.”