America Needs Jobs: Work Sharing Can Help Many Keep Theirs
Oct 06, 2010
Unemployment numbers for September will be released this Friday. While we don't yet know the exact numbers, there has been high and sustained unemployment as a result of the recession and it's expected to remain stubbornly high through 2010 and beyond. The federal and state governments need effective strategies to put people to work.
In its America Needs Jobs series, the Huffington Post last week highlighted work sharing as an effective strategy for preventing layoffs. Work sharing is a federal/state unemployment insurance program that attempts to avert layoffs by allowing businesses to reduce work hours and, in turn, provides partial unemployment benefits to affected workers.
As of now, 20 states have adopted work sharing programs. Neil Ridley, senior policy analyst for the Workforce Development team at CLASP, summarized for the Huffington Post the benefits of work sharing programs. Employers, for example, eliminate the need to find and train new employees when the economy picks up. For employees, they can retain employment in this tough job market, and partial unemployment benefits help alleviate hardship due to fewer work hours, thus helping them and their families.
A recent report by AARP examining this strategy confirms that work sharing provides an alternative to layoffs as well as prevents people from falling into poverty due to job loss.
In Work Sharing-an Alternative to Layoffs for Tough Times, CLASP advocates the federal government should revisit federal laws that limit states' ability to adopt short-time compensation programs, increase technical assistance to states and provide outreach, and establish a temporary federal program to spur the adoption of work sharing programs in more states. On Sept. 16, Senator Baucus submitted modifications to the Job Creation and Tax Cuts Act, with a provision that existing work sharing programs be improved.
With so many families and workers struggling, it is important for states and the federal government to prevent unemployment where possible by using work sharing.