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Department of Labor

Shared Work Program - Overview

Shared Work - the layoff alternative.

Consider the Shared Work program as you manage business cycles and seasonal adjustments. Shared Work lets you keep trained staff and avoid layoffs. Employees can receive partial Unemployment Insurance benefits while working reduced hours. Full-time, part-time and seasonal employees are eligible.

Example of Benefits Paid Under Shared Work Program

Under Total Unemployment Under Shared Work 
An employee who earns $400/week may receive $200 unemployment benefit rate $320 per week in wages from his employer (20% of $400 equals an $80 reduction), plus $40 in Shared Work Benefits (20% of $200)

This totals $360.00 in wages and Shared Work benefits for each week of the plan, after an unpaid waiting week.

The Shared Work Program helps you avoid some of the problems caused by a layoff. If you keep your employees during a temporary slowdown, you can gear up quickly when business conditions improve. You do not have the expense of recruiting, hiring, and training new employees. Also, you spare your employees the hardships of full unemployment.

How It Works

To take part in the Shared Work Program, you must first design a Shared Work plan. Complete an application online through secure UI Online Services on your Employer Information page. Applying online will provide more accurate information and a quicker response by email. Or complete and submit both:

to the address or fax number indicated on the application.

Review instructions for completing these applications.

The plan can cover your total work force, a particular shift or shifts, or a work unit or units. Submit your application at least one week, but not more than four weeks, before the proposed effective date.

Once you submit the Plan Application online, you will receive an email which must be saved so that you have the information needed to open the second email you will receive once the plan is approved.  The second email contains an information letter and links to all forms needed for your employees. When submitting the plan application, you may upload the employee data from a properly formatted Microsoft Excel spreadsheet into the Shared Work Application on the Employee Information Page.  At this time we only accept Microsoft Excel spreadsheets.

After a plan is approved, participating employees must file UI Shared Work claims between the Monday and Sunday of their first reduced Shared Work week by:

  • Going online at Online Services for Individuals between the hours of 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday (Eastern Standard Time), 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Friday, all day Saturday, and Sunday until 7:00 p.m. or
  • Calling 1-888-209-8124 between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Claims can be filed online or by telephone in English or Spanish. If translation services for languages other than Spanish are needed, the employee can call (518) 485-6375.

Filing a claim online has multiple benefits. The processing of the claim is expedited and direct deposit of benefits into the claimant's personal checking account is an option. This option is only available to claimants who file their claims online.

Each week that your participating employees are on Shared Work, they must claim (certify) their Shared Work benefits either online at Online Services for Individuals or by mail. We recommend they certify online. It is convenient, and they will receive their benefit payment faster by avoiding paper mail delays. 

Both the employer and employees must certify using the same method (either paper or electronic).

Claimants who do not choose to have their benefits deposited into their personal checking accounts will be issued debit cards for their benefit payments.  The cards can be used to withdraw benefits at ATMs and MasterCard affiliated banks.  The cards also allow claimants to spend their benefits directly at retail Point-of-Sale locations.

The Shared Work weekly amount is the employee's weekly unemployment benefit rate multiplied by the percentage that the plan reduces their hours and wages.

Who Can Apply

Before you apply, you must have:

  • Employed at least two employees working in New York State
  • For four consecutive calendar quarters, you or your predecessor, must have:
    • Paid UI contributions
    • In lieu of contributions, elected reimbursement of benefits paid to your former employees

Your Shared Work plan must:

  • Reduce work hours and corresponding wages 20 - 60%
  • Apply to employees who normally work no more than 40 hours per week
  • Not reduce or eliminate fringe benefits unless fringe benefits are also being reduced or eliminated for the entire work force
  • Not extend beyond 53 weeks (when nearing the end of the plan, you may submit a request for a new plan)
  • Replace a layoff of an equal percentage of employees

You cannot hire additional employees for the work group covered by the plan. If there is a collective bargaining agreement in effect, the collective bargaining agent must agree to take part in the Shared Work plan.

Benefit Eligibility

Employees participate in the plan if they qualify to receive regular UI benefits in New York State. They must serve a waiting week before they receive Shared Work benefit payments. If they have already served a waiting period on an existing claim, they do not have to wait another week before collecting.

Employees covered under the plan:

  • May receive up to 26 weeks of regular Shared Work benefits during a benefit year
  • May not receive more in a benefit year from Shared Work benefits combined with regular UI benefits than they would receive under the regular UI program alone (26 times regular benefit rate)
  • Must be fully available for work for the Shared Work employer, but are not required to look for other work
  • Will reduce the amount of Shared Work benefits that they are eligible for if they work with a different employer or have self-employment
  • Are not eligible for Shared Work benefits in any week in which they receive supplemental unemployment compensation benefits (SUB pay)
Need more information?

Visit our Frequently Asked Questions for answers to commonly asked questions regarding the Shared Work Program.

Are you an employer considering a Shared Work plan?

Call (518) 549-0496 or email [email protected] for more information.

Ready to file a Shared Work application?

You can do it through UI Online Services on your Employer Information page.

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