Dept. of Labor launches website to help businesses during downturns

By Kevin Zimmerman

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The Connecticut Department of Labor has launched a new website for Shared Works, its program designed to help businesses save jobs and weather many of the economic difficulties that can occur when an employer experiences a temporary business downturn.

As part of the application process, employers interested in Shared Work submit a plan to the Labor Department that includes the number of employees taking part, planned reduction of hours, and estimated duration of the slowdown via SharedWorkCT.com, which also provides a video overview in English and Spanish, a brochure, testimonials, and contact information.

“Although our guidelines note that an application can take up to 30 days for approval, employers typically hear back from us in 7 to 10 days,” said Shared Work Program Coordinator Devon O’Nalty.

“Instead of devastating employee layoffs often experienced during a slowdown, employers taking part in our Shared Work program can reduce employee hours and the Labor Department will provide partial unemployment compensation benefits for the hours workers have lost,” added State Labor Commissioner Scott D. Jackson. “Once business picks up again, employers can return to full production or services more quickly since their skilled workforce has remained with the company.”

More than 200 employers currently use the Shared Work unemployment program. When participating in Shared Work, employees can be permanent full- or part-time staff; benefits such as health care must be maintained; and employee hours cannot be reduced by less than 10 percent or more than 60 percent.

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