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Nationwide programs announced by US Labor Department

US Labor Department

Online resources to promote the expansion of short-time compensation,

Thursday, November 14, 2013 - 3:06pm

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor today announced a new online resource that provides guidance and information to states interested in developing or improving short-time compensation programs, also known as work-sharing. The STC program is designed to avert employee layoffs for businesses faced with a temporary slowdown in business activity. The online resources, which will be available to state workforce agencies, state policymakers and the general public, are located at: https://stc.workforce3one.org.

"I encourage every state to consider establishing or expanding a work-sharing program so that business owners have an additional tool they can use to weather hard economic times while still keeping their existing skilled employees," said Eric M. Seleznow, acting assistant secretary of labor for employment and training. "The information the Labor Department has made available online will make it easier for states to develop a program that fits the specific needs of their local workers and employers."

The STC program is an alternative to layoffs for employers faced with a reduction in available work. Employers can reduce work hours for a group of workers rather than laying off one or more workers. Employees affected by a reduction of hours can collect a percentage of their unemployment benefits to replace a portion of their lost wages. This is a win-win situation both for employers and employees. Employees’ jobs–and benefits–are preserved while participating in an STC program, and employers get to maintain their skilled and trained workforce without having to rehire and retrain new workers when business activity increases.

The new website provides helpful tools that can be used to expand STC education and outreach to states and the public. The website includes guidance and model legislation for states interested in developing an STC program. The site also offers a compendium of state practices, outreach efforts, operational tools and vignettes from STC participants (employers and employees) who have benefitted from the program.

The department encourages states to take advantage of federal financial incentives for states with active STC programs, available for only a limited time. The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 provided for 100 percent reimbursement of STC benefits for states with conforming STC programs through Aug. 22, 2015. States with conforming STC programs are also eligible for grants to support the implementation or improved administration of the STC program and to promote and enroll employers in the program. Applications for grants must be received by Dec. 31, 2014. Technical assistance is available from the department to help states develop their grant applications.

For more information about STC and how states can take advantage of the federal financial incentives currently available, please visit https://stc.workforce3one.org.

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