The Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DOLIR) has received $1.8 million in grants for the shared work program, which allows employers to bring laid-off employees back to the job by dividing available work among employees.
DOLIR Director Anna Hui says the grant will enable the Labor Department to build on a 30-year program.
“And it’s really about making sure that employers and workers have the ability to remain attached in the employment cycle,” Hui says.
Director Hui tells Missourinet that about 50,000 employees in Missouri and about 1,200 employers participate in the shared work program. Missouri was one of the original states to establish the program.
Hui says the Show-Me State is the first in the nation to receive maximum funding under the program, which allows employees to receive a portion of their unemployment benefits while working reduced hours and retaining benefits like health insurance. She says the shared work program can be used in situations like plant re-tooling and during economic downturns.
“The shared work program allows for any sort of 20 to 40 percent reduction in work hours to be spread over your entire workforce,” says Hui.
She says the program is beneficial to employers of all sizes, and to their employees.
“Because you get to have your benefits and you’re attached to the workforce, your skillset still stays fresh and you still have that level of engagement with the organization with your co-workers,” Hui says.
Governor Mike Parson describes the program as “a win for employers, a win for workers and a win for local Missouri economies.”
Missouri plans to use the grant money to ensure that businesses in the state are aware of the program, to enroll more businesses and to streamline the reporting process for both employers and employees.
State officials say Missouri’s unemployment rate was 6.9 percent in July, down from June’s rate of 7.8 percent.
Click here to listen to Brian Hauswirth’s interview with Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DOLIR) Director Anna Hui, which was recorded on August 28, 2020:
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