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Department of Labor

Shared Work for Employers: Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the Shared Work Program?

A: The Shared Work Program gives employers an alternative to laying off workers during business downturns by allowing them to work a reduced work schedule and collect a Shared Work benefit. Instead of cutting staff, you can equally reduce the number of hours of all employees or just a certain group.

Shared Work is an equal reduction of hours and pay between 20-60% in the same work unit in the same week.

The Shared Work Program is flexible. It can be customized to fit a variety of work situations. It saves money. It saves jobs.

A Shared Work Plan application can be completed online. UI Online Services provides a secure connection to your Employer Information page. The application must be filed at least one week, but no more than four weeks, before the start date of the plan. Go to the UI Online Services log on page to log on or create an account.

See our website for additional information about Shared Work or obtain an application. Or call: 518-457-2635.

Or write to:

New York State Department of Labor
Unemployment Insurance Division
Liability and Determination Section
State Office Building Campus
Albany, N.Y. 12240


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Q: Are seasonal, intermittent or temporary employees eligible for the Shared Work Program?

A: Seasonal employees perform work for an employer whose business has predictable, seasonal high and low levels of employment.

Intermittent employees work for an employer on a sporadic, every-so-often basis.

Temporary employees work for an employer on a short-term, typically predefined assignment.

You may include these employees in your business' Shared Work plan. You must identify Shared Work participants who are seasonal, intermittent or temporary employees.


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Q: What if my business doesn’t meet the criteria for a Shared Work Program? For instance, what if I reduce fringe benefits?

A: Shared Work is a voluntary program. If your business does not meet the requirements for beginning a Shared Work Program, the program will not be approved by the Department of Labor.

If you have an approved Shared Work Plan and do not comply with the requirements of the program, the program may be terminated by the Department of Labor.


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Q: What is the minimum number of employees needed to be eligible for Shared Work?

A: You must have a minimum of two employees to be eligible to participate in the Shared Work Program.


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Q: How many weeks of benefits are Shared Work participants eligible for?

A: Shared work participants can receive up to 26 weeks of benefits.


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Q: When will the Shared Work Plan begin?

A: On the date specified on your application form or the first Monday following our approval of the plan, whichever date is later. Submit your application less than one month before the proposed start date. It must be submitted before the desired plan starting date. A Shared Work Plan cannot be retroactive.


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Q: What should employees do once a plan is approved?

A: Employees that do not have an existing Unemployment Insurance claim must file one during their first reduced week under your Shared Work plan in order to start receiving benefits. Employees must file online at www.labor.ny.gov/signin.

Please note that filing online is a two-step process:

  1. Employees must first create or update an NY.gov ID account.
  2. After they have created/updated this account, they may then access the claim filing system by logging on with their NY.gov ID.
If an employee does not file his or her claim during the first reduced week, the claim will not have the correct effective date, and the employee will experience a delay in receiving Shared Work benefits.


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Q: How are Shared Work benefits claimed?

A: Actions must be taken by both the Employer and the Shared Work Participant (Employee) in order for a Shared Work payment to be made:

  1. Employees must certify during the week following their first reduction under Shared Work. Each employee must complete the certification by signing in to their online services account at www.labor.ny.gov/signin, selecting the "Unemployment Services" button, and then selecting "Certify to Claim Your Weekly Benefits Here."
  2. Employers MUST log in to their UI Online Service Account, go to Shared Work, click on "Weekly Certifications," and follow the prompts.
Shared Work benefits are always claimed for the week prior. This means that in any given week, you and your employees will be certifying to work performed during the previous week.

If an employee has an existing Unemployment Insurance claim, you must call Shared Work Benefits at 518-485-6375 to request that the claim be transferred to a Shared Work claim.


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Q: What if my employee in the Shared Work program is having trouble with their NY.gov ID?

A: Employees who need assistance with their online services account should call 800-833-3000.


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Q: What if I, as the employer in the Shared Work program, am having problems with my Online Services account?

A: Employers who need assistance with creating a new Unemployment Insurance Online Services account or signing in with a previously created NY.gov ID should call 518-485-6076.


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Q: Once DOL has approved a Shared Work Plan, can the employer change it?

A: Yes. An employer may submit a modification to:

  • Add new work units not included in the original application  
  • Add an individual who was hired to replace an employee who has left

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Q: What happens if I don't need the plan in a particular week?

A: You simply do not certify for any week that employees are not reduced.


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Q: What if I sent the plan in with a 30% reduction, but I find I need to change it?

A: As long as your reduction falls between 20%-60%, you may change the percentage as your business needs dictate.


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Q: How do I notify you that a participant is no longer employed and should be removed from the Shared Work Plan?

A: There are two ways to notify us:

  1. When you are submitting your weekly certifications, select a status of 'quit,' 'discharged' or 'permanently laid off' to notify us that a participant is no longer employed. You will be asked for that participant's last day worked.
  2. Once logged in to your plan, go to “Manage Employees," click on "Work Unit," locate the employee, and select “no longer employed” for that individual.

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Q: Can an employer lay off some workers who were originally in the plan and still keep the remainder in the plan?

A: Yes. Shared Work would still prevent the layoffs of the remaining employees, which is the program's intent, but you could reduce the hours and wages of the employees further to avoid any layoffs.


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Q: Once the Shared Work Plan is in effect, can an employer hire a replacement for an employee who leaves to work for another employer?

A: Yes. The law only prohibits you from hiring additional employees to work in an affected unit. You can hire replacements for employees who leave the company while the plan is in effect.


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Q: If an employer chooses Shared Work, must it apply to the whole business or company?

A: No, you can use Shared Work in one or more departments, shifts, or units. The plan gives you the flexibility to choose the areas involved. You must apply the reductions in hours and wages equally to all of the employees in the chosen unit or department. However, you may reduce the hours and wages of employees in different departments or units by different percentages, if specified in the plan.


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Q: How many work units can I create?

A: While you can submit a plan with all of your employees in one unit, we generally recommend creating smaller units specific to particular jobs or shifts. This will allow you the flexibility to reduce or not reduce employees as business cycles demand.


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Q: Can a Shared Work Plan include a unit that consists of one employee?

A: No. An affected Unit must have at least two employees.


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Q: Can Corporate officers be included in the Shared Work plan?

A: Officers of a corporation may be approved to participate in the shared work plan of the business through December 31, 2020. Please contact the Liability and Determination Section at 518-457-2635 for more information.


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Q: Can employees who normally work overtime receive Shared Work benefits for a reduction in their overtime hours?

A: No. Shared Work benefits are only for wages lost because of a reduction in the employee's "normal work" hours. "Normal work" hours are normally no more than 40 hours per week.


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Q: What effect will Shared Work benefits have on an employer's Unemployment Insurance rate?

A: While Shared Work benefits are normally charged against an employer’s experience rating account, for claims filed between March 30, 2020 and December 27, 2020, Shared Work benefits are federally funded, and no charges will be applied to the employer’s account, with the exception of temporary, intermittent or seasonal employees. The additional $600 in weekly benefits paid to eligible Shared Work participants through the week ending July 26, 2020 will also be 100% federally funded.


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Q: Does the employer need to specify which employees will take part in the Shared Work Program?

A: Yes. Your plan must include the following information for all participating employees:

  • Names
  • Social Security account numbers
  • Normal work hours per week
  • Identify an employee if they are hired for seasonal, temporary or intermittent work

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Q: Is an employer required to file reports while the Shared Work Plan is in effect?

A: Yes. You and your participating employees must certify each week. This makes sure that each employee is paid the proper Shared Work benefit amount.


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Q: Can employees receive Shared Work benefits if their hours and wages are reduced less than 20% or more than 60%?

A: No. However, those employees may be eligible to receive partial benefits under the regular unemployment insurance program.


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Q: If the employer's Shared Work Plan expires but the employees still work a reduced work schedule, can they still receive Shared Work benefits?

A: No. Shared Work benefits are only payable while the plan is in effect. You should make arrangements - before the plan expiration date - to apply for a new plan. This will prevent interruption of payments.


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Q: Are Shared Work benefits taxable?

A: Yes. Any UI benefits, including Shared Work benefits, are subject to federal, state, and local income tax.


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Q: Can people in the Shared Work Program have income tax withheld from Shared Work benefits?

A: People can choose to have both federal and New York State income tax withheld from their benefits when they file their Shared Work unemployment insurance claim. If they choose to have taxes withheld, the withholding amount is set at 10% for federal taxes and 2.5% for New York State taxes. Taxes withheld will be reported on a 1099-G statement that is mailed after the end of the year.


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