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Program benefits employers, workers

Sunday, July 26, 2009

SIKESTON -- Under a slumping economy, many work firms are facing a reduction in production.

Although this would typically mean a reduction in employees, a state program in Missouri and other states are helping out, with the Shared Work Unemployment Compensation Program.

"The shared work program is an alternative to layoff," explained Amy Susan, director of communications for the Missouri Department of Labor. "Employers can participate if they reduce their hours by 20 to 40 percent, but not less and not more than that."

For instance, a business facing a shortfall that employes 100 workers may plan to lay off 20 of them. Under the program, the business can apply to instead reduce the work week for all employees by 20 percent. On the "day off" workers would be compensated by the state with a portion of the unemployment funds they would receive if totally unemployed, said Susan.

"This helps the employees because they still have a stable job," she continued. "They're offered unemployment benefits through the state and they get to keep their fringe benefits if offered by the employer."

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