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The Maryland Worksharing Program-A little help for furloughed employees

Many business owners are reviewing alternatives for holding down labor costs during this economic downturn. One option that has been frequently discussed in Inner Circle meetings is furloughs-asking each employee to take a day off per week without pay. This enables employees to keep their jobs and to do something to help the company. It also enables the owner to keep good people for when the turnaround comes. Thanks to Larry Cunnick and Debbie Frech who are members of Inner Circle #24 in Columbia, we know about the Worksharing Program which is part of the State of Maryland’s Unemployment Insurance system.

Worksharing enables employees who are furloughed to file for unemployment benefits proportional to the time they are off without pay. For example, if they are off one out of 5 days in the work week, then they can apply for 20% of the normal unemployemnt benefits. Of course, the program is more complicated than it seems on the surface. And, since employees are filing unemployment insurance claims, those claims count agains the company’s unemployment insurance experience rating and percentage.

But, if you are contemplating a furlough program and you are a Maryland employer, then you should get as much information as you can aboput the program. Those of you who employ people in other states should check with your state govenment to see if they offer a similar program.

Here is the link to the MD Department of Labor, Licensing and Regualtion where you can get more information and download a brochure with more details:

http://www.dllr.state.md.us/employment/worksharing/