Work-Sharing is an adjustment program designed to help employers and workers avoid temporary layoffs when there is a reduction in the normal level of business activity that is beyond the control of the employer. The measure provides income support to workers eligible for Employment Insurance benefits who are willing to work a temporarily reduced work-week.
Work-Sharing Agreements must be agreed upon by both employee and employer representatives, and approved by Service Canada.
Work-Sharing is about:
- helping employers retain skilled employees and avoid the costly process of recruiting and training new employees when business returns to normal levels; and
- helping employees maintain their skills and job by supplementing their wages with Employment Insurance benefits for the days they are not working.
Eligible employers must:
- have been in year-round business in Canada for at least two years;
- show that the need for reduced hours is unavoidable;
- show that the work shortage is temporary and unexpected;
- demonstrate (through a recovery plan) how the business will be maintained for the duration of the agreement and return to normal working hours as the economy strengthens;
- not be undergoing a labour dispute; and
- have the agreement of the union (if applicable) and employees.
Eligible employees must:
- be “core staff” (year-round permanent full-time or part-time employees who are required to carry out the functions that will lead to recovery);
- be eligible to receive regular Employment Insurance benefits; and not be participating in a labour dispute.
- A minimum of two employees is required for a Work-Sharing Agreement.
The work shortage must be:
- significant enough to warrant support of the program i.e. a demonstrated decrease in sales/orders of at least 10%.
Work-Sharing Agreements have a minimum duration of 6 weeks. For applications received as of February 1, 2009, the maximum agreement duration is 52 weeks. This new maximum is one of the provisions included in Budget 2009, and will be in effect until April 3, 2010.
How to apply for Work-Sharing
- Employers should read the Work-Sharing Applicant Guide before filling out the Work-Sharing Application form. The completed application, along with the Attachment A listing the employees involved and a recovery plan, can be submitted in-person at the local Service Canada Centre.
- A Work-Sharing brochure is also available for employers to review.
- Applications must be submitted at least one month prior to the anticipated start date. All agreements start on a Sunday.
- Work-Sharing Application Form and Attachment A
- Employers can download a printable Application Form and Attachment A (which identifies all Work-Sharing Unit members) or obtain these forms at any Service Canada Centre.
- Work-Sharing Applicant Guide
The Work-Sharing Applicant Guide contains important information for employers and employees. It includes:
- the eligibility criteria;
- step-by-step instructions for completing the Work-Sharing application;
- a list of elements for the recovery plan; and
- a description of the assessment and approval processes.
Expected Work Reduction and Utilization Report
Work-Sharing Agreements must include a reduction in work activity between a minimum of 20% of the employees’ regular work schedule and a maximum of 60% (i.e. one to three days).
Employers who enter into a Work-Sharing Agreement are expected to complete a Utilization Report every two weeks detailing the number of hours worked by each employee participating in Work-Sharing.
For more information:
- Call 1-866-891-5319 (TTY: 1-800-926-9105)
- Visit your local Service Canada Centre
- Consult the Frequently Asked Questions
Related to Work Sharing 2009