May 1, 2020

DWD Encourages Employers to Avoid Layoffs by Participating in the Work-Share Program

Recent legislation offers more flexibility

The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) is encouraging Wisconsin employers to consider Wisconsin’s updated Work-Share Program to avoid worker layoffs.

The Work-Share Program, also called “short-term compensation” (STC), is designed to help both employers and employees. Instead of laying off workers, a participating employer may reduce their work hours. Workers whose hours are reduced under an approved work-share plan receive unemployment benefits that are pro-rated for the partial work reduction. This allows everyone in the work unit to maintain some income and their health benefits.

The COVID-19 relief bill that Gov. Tony Evers signed into law April 15, 2020 makes several changes to current requirements in Wisconsin’s Work-Share Program, one of which reduces the number of positions a work-share plan must cover. Under the new law, work-share plans must cover at least two positions that are filled on the effective date of the work-share program, rather than the greater of 20 positions or 10% of employees in a work unit under the previous requirements. Employers may also now reduce hours by up to 60 percent of the normal hours per week of the employees, rather than the current 50 percent.

By participating in the Work-Share Program, employers will be able to retain their trained staff during the times of reduced business activity, allowing them to be ready as soon as the business reopens.

Last month, Secretary Caleb Frostman reminded employers that a Work-Share plan could help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on their workforce. Wisconsin now has 63 active work share plans with 3,384 participants.

Under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, Wisconsin will receive 100 percent of the costs incurred for paying these benefits through December 31, 2020.

For more information on the Work-Share Program and how to apply, please visit

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DWD Communications