Work Share Bill Filed with Hopes of Hearing in 2016

Representative David Ober (R-Albion) filed a work sharing bill on Organization Day. The House clerk’s office indicated that House Bill 1014 was the fourth bill to be filed. House Bill 1014 would create a work share program, which is one of the Indiana Chamber’s top priorities for the 2016 legislative session.

Work share is a voluntary program that allows employers to maintain a skilled and stable workforce during temporary downturns. It allows employees to keep their jobs and benefits instead of facing unemployment and further financial uncertainty. And the state wins through a reduction in job losses.

Here’s an example of how it works: Instead of laying off 10 workers due to decreased demand, a company could keep the full workforce in place but reduce the hours of 40 workers by 25%. The impacted employees would receive three-quarters of their normal salary, as well as be eligible for partial unemployment insurance benefits to supplement their reduced paycheck.

Just like regular unemployment insurance, work sharing benefits would not fully cover lost income. They would, however, help mitigate the loss. There is no negative impact on the state’s unemployment insurance fund. Instead of paying full benefits to a smaller group of recipients, a larger group of employees will receive limited benefits – but most importantly remain on the job.

Work share programs are in place in more than half the states. They are intended as temporary solutions, usually lasting no more than six months.

Representative Ober has been a champion of work share and is hopeful that this is the year that the bill will garner a hearing. The bill is expected to be assigned to House Employment, Labor and Pensions Committee, where Rep. Doug Gutwein (R-Francesville) presides as chairman.

The Roller Coaster Ride of Candidate Filing Comes to a Close

Even though we have been heavily involved in candidate recruitment this election cycle, the candidate filing period was full of surprises and plenty of candidates wanting to serve Indiana at the Indiana Statehouse and the U.S. Capitol.

Here is the complete list of filings (PDF).

We will write more analysis next week, but here are some early highlights:

  • Eighty-three candidates filed for U.S. Senate or U.S. House of Representatives. Someone pull out the history book and tell me the last time the party holding an open U.S. Senate seat did not have a candidate on the primary ballot.
  • U.S. Senator Bayh, Congressman Steve Buyer and Congressman Brad Ellsworth will not be returning to Washington in their current seat. Ellsworth is vacating his congressional seat for a run at the open U.S. Senate seat.
  • The early scoreboard on the race for control of the Indiana House is 30-11 for the Republicans. There are 30 districts currently held by a Republican without a Democratic challenger and 11 uncontested for the Democrats. Each party has until June 30 to fill a ballot vacancy for the general election.
  • The Senate scoreboard is 23-10 for the Republicans. This includes seats not up until 2012 (Republicans control 18 of those 25 seats).
  • There are eight contested primaries in the Senate. Three are on the Democratic side and five on the Republican side.
  • There are 38 contested primaries in the House. Ten are on the Democratic side and 28 on the Republican side.
  • Sue Errington and John Waterman are the only two incumbent senators with a primary.
  • There are 19 House incumbents with a primary: Charlie Brown, Dan Stevenson, Chet Dobis, Don Lehe, Doug Gutwein, David Wolkins, Shelli VanDenburgh, Tom Dermody, Bill Ruppel, Bill Friend, Jack Lutz, Jacque Clements, Tim Brown, Dan Leonard, Dick Dodge, Tom Knollman, Woody Burton, Phyllis Pond and Mary Ann Sullivan.
  • There were a total of 263 candidates that filed for the Indiana General Assembly.
  • Only 17.1% of the candidates were women.

Look for more analysis over the next several days on candidate filings. Please feel free to add to the conversation and post your comments or questions.