Recently, a number of people I know may be put on a Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development program called Shared Work. This program is strange to me only because I've never heard of it.
Basically it is:
The Shared Work Program is an option for employers faced with a layoff. It allows an employer to divide available hours of work among a group of employees instead of a full layoff. Affected employees may then receive partial unemployment insurance benefits while working reduced hours. By participating in the Shared Work Program, an employer can maintain morale, productivity and flexibility in the work place.
Here is an example:
A firm facing a 20 percent reduction in business may consider laying off one-fifth of its workforce. However, under an approved Shared Work plan, that company could maintain its total workforce while reducing each worker's scheduled hours by one-fifth or 20 percent. Employees would receive a partial unemployment insurance payment equal to 20 percent of their individual weekly unemployment insurance award along with the income earned for the week under the approved plan.
I found this NPR report from December 24, 2001. I haven't listened to it yet mostly because I'm reluctant to install Real Player. Please post commentary if you've heard this broadcast.
More useful links here:
Minnesota Unemployment Insurance Office.
Minnesota Statute for Shared Work.
FAQ on Shared Work