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.