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