Under the Dome

NC Justice Center report touts benefits of work-sharing programs

In a new report, the N.C. Justice Center touts the success other states have had with working-sharing programs, which give employers the option of temporarily reducing employees' hours as an alternative to layoffs.

A Senate bill introduced in April would establish a work-sharing program in North Carolina, but the legislation has languished in committee since being introduced.

Work sharing has saved 61,299 jobs in a combined 19 states in 2012, according to U.S. Department of Labor data cited in the Justice Center's report. Some states, like Colorado and New Hampshire, saved less than 100 jobs, while California, Texas and Washington each kept between about 10,000 and 21,000 employed, according to the report.

The Justice Center report argues that a work-sharing program would also provide help to those who face cuts to their unemployment benefits. (A state law going into effect July 1 will terminate federal extended unemployment benefits to an estimated 70,000 North Carolinians and reduce the maximum state benefit payments for workers who lose their jobs beginning in July.)

A job-sharing program would allow an employer cut the hours of all employees by 10 percent, for example, and those employees could receive pro-rated unemployment benefits in addition to their paychecks.

States that implement work-sharing programs receive federal subsidies as incentives. North Carolina’s subsidy would be $2.9 million, according to the Justice Center, a group that champions issues on behalf of the poor.

Staff writer Annalise Frank

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