What is work-sharing?

By March 18, 2020Covid-19, Employment

Federal Work-Sharing Program

What is work-sharing?

  • Work-sharing is a program designed to help eligible employers avoid layoffs when there is a temporary reduction in the normal level of business activity (that is beyond the control of the employer). The program is available to both federally and provincially regulated employers.
  • As a result, Employment Insurance Benefits are provided for eligible employees as income support.
  • Affected employees must agree to work a reduced schedule and share available work over a specified period of time.
  • Both the employer and the employee must apply to participate in a Work-Sharing program together.

The mandatory waiting period has also been waived so that employers with a recently expired agreement may immediately apply for a new agreement, without waiting between applications.

How do I know if I am an eligible employer?

To be eligible for a Work-Sharing program, employers must:

  • have been in business in Canada year-round for at least two (2) years;
  • be a private business, publicly held company or a not-for-profit organization;
  • demonstrate that the shortage of work is temporary and beyond their control;
  • demonstrate a recent decrease in business activity of approximately 10%; and
  • submit and implement a recovery plan designed to return the Work-Sharing individuals to normal working hours by the end of the program.

Employers may not make a Work-Sharing agreement with employees who are:

  • seasonal, or students hired for the summer or co-op term;
  • hired on a casual or on-call basis; or
  • shareholders of the business, whose shares provide them with significant decision-making power as to the direction of the company.

How many hours of an employee’s work schedule can be reduced and how long can it last?

  • A reduction between a minimum of 10% (one half-day) and a maximum of 50% (three days).
  • In any given week, the work reduction can vary depending on available work, as long as the work reduction on average is between 10%-60% for the duration of the program.
  • The program must have a minimum duration of six (6) weeks and as a result of COVID-19, may last up to 76 weeks (normally maximum 38 weeks).

To find out more about work sharing visit the government website here

Jess Watt

Author Jess Watt

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