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Frequent Questions

Frequently Asked Questions
About Workshare

Click on each question to show the answer.

1. Who may apply for Workshare?
All Rhode Island employers whose taxes or reimbursement payments are currently up to date are eligible to apply for Workshare. Interested employers may apply for the Program by calling (401) 462-8418.
2. What is a Workshare Plan?
A Workshare plan is a plan submitted by an employer under which there is a reduction in the number hours worked by the employees in the affected unit in lieu of layoffs of some of the employees.
3. What is an affected unit?
An affected unit is a specified plant, department, shift or other definable unit consisting of two or more employees to which an approved Workshare Plan applies.
4. What are the advantages to the employer?
The employer retains trained workers and has the ability to respond quickly when business increases.
5. What are the advantages to the employees?
The workers do not lose their jobs, retain their fringe benefits and may be eligible to receive combined wages and Workshare benefits equal to about 90.8% of their regular pay.
6. What are Fringe Benefits?
Fringe benefits include, but are not limited to, health insurance, retirement benefits, paid vacation and holidays, sick leave, and similar advantages which are incidents of employment.
7. Who does the plan cover?
The plan can cover the employer's total workforce, a particular shift, or a specific unit. The plan only applies to employees who normally work for the employer submitting the Workshare plan.
8. What does "Usual Weekly Hours of Work" mean?
Usual weekly hours of work means the normal hours of work each week for an employee in an affected unit when that unit is operating on a full time basis, not to exceed forty hours and not including overtime.
9. When does the plan begin?
The plan must meet the requirements of the law and be approved in writing by the Director before the plan can take effect. The plan is good for one year from the effective date of the plan.
10. How will my company be notified?
The Director approves or rejects a plan in writing.
11. Why would my company be rejected from using Workshare?
The Director may reject a Workshare Plan or revoke an approved plan for good cause.
12. What is "good cause"?
Good cause includes, but is not limited to, failure to comply with the assurances given in the plan, unreasonable revision of productivity standards for the affected unit, conduct or occurrences tending to defeat the intent and effective operation of the plan and violation of any criteria on which approval of the plan is based.
13. Can the employer appeal the Director's decision?
The reasons for rejection and revocation are final and non-appealable. However, the employer may submit another plan for consideration and that determination would be made based upon the new data submitted by the interested employer.
14. Is there a limit to the size of the employer's workforce?
There is no limit as to the size of the employer; however, the affected unit must have at least two employees in order to participate.
15. What are the criteria which need to be met in order to be approved for Workshare?
The plan must identify the affected unit or units and specify the proposed starting date of the plan.
The employees in the affected unit or units must be identified by name, social security number, the usual weekly hours of work, proposed wage and hour reduction and any other information that the Director requires.
The plan must certify that the reduction in the usual weekly hours of work is in lieu of layoffs which may affect at least 10 percent of the employees in the affected unit or units to which the plan applies.
The usual weekly hours of work for employees in the affected unit or units are reduced by not less than 10% and not more than 50%.
The employer agrees to furnish reports relating to the proper conduct of the plan and agrees to allow the Director or his/her authorized representative access to all records necessary to verify the plan prior to approval and, after approval, to monitor and evaluate application of the plan
• The employer certifies health benefits and/or retirement benefits under a defined benefit plan (as defined in section 414(j) of the internal revenue code) or contributions under a defined contribution plan (as defined in section 414(i) of the internal revenue code) to any employee whose workweek is reduced under the program, the employer certifies that such benefits will continue to be provided to employees participating in the worksharing program under the same terms and conditions as though the workweek of such employee had not been reduced or to the same extent as other employees not participating in the worksharing program.
• The employer describes the manner in which the requirements of this section will be implemented (including a plan for giving notice, where feasible, to an employee whose workweek is to be reduced) together with an estimate of the number of layoffs that would have occurred absent the ability to participate in the work-sharing program and such other information as the secretary of labor determines is appropriate
16. Can an employer apply for Workshare if the employees are represented by a collective bargaining agent or union?
In the case of employees represented by a collective bargaining agent or union, the plan must be approved in writing by the collective bargaining agents or unions who cover the affected employees.
17. When do I need to notify my employees about Workshare if there is no collective bargaining agent or union?
In the absence of a collective bargaining agent or union, the plan must contain a certification by the employer that he has made the proposed plan or a summary of the plan available to each employee affected by the program.
18. Can I apply for Workshare if I am a seasonal employer?
The plan will not serve as a subsidy of seasonal employment during the off season, or as a subsidy for intermittent employment.
19. What is seasonal employment?
Seasonal employment means employment with an employer who displays a 20% difference between its highest level of employment and its lowest level of employment each year for the previous calendar years as reported to the Department of Labor and Training, or as shown in such information which is available and satisfactory to the Director.
20. What is intermittent employment?
Intermittent employment means employment which is not continuous but may consist of periodic intervals of weekly work and intervals of no weekly work.
21. Who is eligible to participate in a Workshare Plan?
Employees who normally work full-time or part-time for the WorkShare employer and who would normally be eligible to receive unemployment insurance benefits in Rhode Island are eligible to participate in Workshare.
22. Must the employee serve a Waiting Period?
An employee must serve a waiting week before receiving Workshare benefits unless a waiting period has already been served on an existing claim.
23. What other conditions apply to employees collecting Workshare Benefits?
• The individuals must be able and available for the normal work week with the Workshare employer.
• The employee must work all the hours offered by the Workshare employer in any given week up to the employee's usual weekly hours.
• If an individual has earnings in the same week with another employer, those earnings will not affect the individual's Workshare benefits if that person is working less than full time for the other employer or employers. This condition only applies for any week the claimant is receiving Workshare benefits.
24. How long can an employee receive Workshare benefits?
The employee can receive a maximum of 52 weeks of Workshare benefits during a single benefit year.
25.What is an individual's weekly Workshare benefit amount?
An individual's weekly Workshare benefit amount will be the person's regular weekly benefit amount, including any dependents' allowances, multiplied by the percentage reduction in the individual's weekly hours of work.
26. Who gets charged for Workshare benefits?
WorkShare benefits are charged in the same manner as regular Unemployment Insurance benefits are charged under Section 28-43-3(2)(ii) of the Employment Security Act.
27. What is an example of Workshare Benefits?
An employee who normally earns $400 per week has his work hours reduced by 20% under the approved Workshare Plan. The employee has one dependent child. The following calculations would be made to determine his Workshare Benefits.
Individual has average two high quarter earnings of $5,200 (26 weeks x $400/2)
Basic weekly benefit amount = $200 (3.85% of high quarter earnings)
Dependent's Allowance= $15 (Greater of $15 or 5% of weekly benefit rate, up to 5 deps.)
Total weekly benefit rate = $215
Workshare weekly benefit rate= $43 (20% of 215 rounded down)
Reduced earnings with Workshare employer = $320 (80% of $400)
The worker in the above example would receive combined earnings and Workshare benefits equal to $363 ($320 in reduced earnings and $43 in Workshare benefits). This represents 91.5% of the employee's regular weekly earnings.
28. How do I contact the Workshare Unit?
Department of Labor & Training Workshare Telephone 401-462-8418
Workshare Unit Fax 401-462-8506
PO Box 20310
Cranston, RI 02920-0943
Email: DLT.workshare@dlt.ri.gov.

RI Department of Labor and Training
Center General Complex
1511 Pontiac Avenue, Cranston, RI 02920

Phone: (401) 462-8000
Fax (401) 462-8666
TTY via RI Relay: 711
12/11/18 MDF
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