Work Share

The program is funded the same way traditional unemployment insurance is - through payroll taxes paid by employers. The program allows both businesses and their current employees to get the benefit of the payroll taxes companies pay.
Let’s use an example: Jim works 5 days a week and earns $500. If he were laid off, he would work 0 days a week and be eligible for $275 a week in Unemployment Insurance Benefits.​

Through Work Share, Jim and his employer can develop an alternate plan. 

His employer could reduce Jim’s hours by 20%, meaning Jim now works 4 days a week, and earns $400 in wages from his employer. He would also earn Work Share benefits of $55, 20% of the $275 weekly Unemployment Insurance benefit he would have been eligible for.

You can use the online benefit estimator to find out how much you are eligible to earn through Work Share​.
Most businesses are eligible for the program. Program enrollment mostly consists of submitting a short plan for how the program will be used and certifying that program rules and guidelines will be followed.
Work Share has been used by businesses to avoid layoffs with as few as three and as many as 500 employees on the program. However, there is no maximum number of employees who may participate in the program.​

To use the program, employers provide benefits (such as health care and retirement benefits) under the same terms and conditions as when the affected employee worked his or her usual weekly hours.​
Employees simply complete a two-page initial claim application. They are not required to look for work or submit weekly certifications while on the program.
Using Work Share for partial unemployment benefits affects a company's premium much the same way traditional unemployment claims do, yet businesses get the benefit of retaining key employees.

How much paperwork is required for businesses and employees participating in the program?

Work has been done to make the process as easy as possible.

After initial claim and application forms are filed and approved, each week, enrolled businesses submit one certification, good for all employees on the plan, identifying hours worked and gross wages for participating employees, compared to their normal workweek.​

​Employees participating in Work Share must retain coverage in the retirement plan under the same terms and conditions as employees not participating in Work Share. Hours that are reduced under the Work Share plan must be credited for purposes of participation, vesting, and accrual of benefits as though the usual weekly hours of work had not been reduced. However, the dollar amount of employer contributions to a defined contribution plan that are based on the amount of employee compensation may be less due to the reduction in the employee's compensation. For example.

  • ​Retirement contributions to a defined contribution plan are based on the hours an employee worked. If your employees all normally work 40 hours per week, but are having their hours reduced by 20% under your Work Share plan, they must be treated as having worked 40 hours for purposes of participation, vesting, and accrual of benefits.

    The amount of money the employer contributes into the plan, however, would be reduced by 20%. The employer's contribution rate remains the same, but the actual amounts contributed would be decreased due to the employee having lower weekly earnings. 


  • ​Employees must be treated as working their normal hours for purposes of eligibility for the plan, vesting, and benefit accruals (i.e., years of service). These components relate to time/hours worked. In its shared work plan, a PERS-participating employer must certify that no employee participating in the shared work plan will have their hours reduced below 50 per month and 600 per year.
  • Contributions to the Individual Account Program can be reduced to reflect reduction of the actual salary paid to the employee.

​Yes. Work Share helps prevent layoffs. If you reduce your employees' hours worked by 20 to 40 percent for the week, they will potentially receive Unemployment Insurance benefits for the reduced hours and the $600 weekly Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) benefit through July 25, 2020.​

​Yes. Work Share is ideal for situations where an employer needs to gradually bring employees back to work. When employee hours are reduced 20 to 40 percent, they will continue receiving Unemployment Insurance benefits, including the $600 weekly Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) benefit through July 25, 2020. ​

​You must be able to work and available to work to qualify for Work Share. If you have available work for your employee and they choose not to work for any reason, they would not qualify for Work Share that week.

Exception: If your staff misses work due to COVID-19, please let us know. We will accept their weekly claim but will need to review it under regular UI guidelines, not under Work Share. The person's earnings may also impact their eligibility for the week. ​

​Yes. If your employee did not work enough hours during the week to meet the minimum number of hours worked, they can use leave to meet the reduction requirements.

Example: They must have worked a minimum of 24 hours during the week if they customarily work 40 hours a week. If you had 20 hours of work for them in the week, the employee could use 4 hours of accrued leave to receive shared work benefits for the week.  ​

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Get in Touch.

Program Specialists are here for you five days a week, 8 AM - 5 PM, Monday through Friday for confidential support.

Phone: (503)-947-1800
Toll Free: (800)-436-6191

Oregon Employment Department
PO Box 14518
Salem, OR 97309