Last week, the Texas Workforce Commission developed and approved a Shared Work program. The Shared Work program provides an alternative to full layoffs during COVID-19 related reduced hours, allowing employers instead to reduce hours and consequently supplement employees’ lost wages with partial unemployment benefits.
To be eligible to submit a Shared Work plan, employers must reduce employee’s hours by at least ten percent, but not more than forty percent. The reduction must impact at least ten percent of the workers in a unit, and employers may request multiple plans.
Employers of all sizes are eligible, and both salaried and hourly workers may participate.
The Shared Work plan must be an alternative to layoffs, and businesses should be able to estimate how many employees they would lay off if they did not participate in a shared work plan.
If an employer currently pays any fringe benefits, they must continue to provide those benefits to all employees in the shared work plan. Fringe benefits include health insurance, retirement benefits, paid vacation, holiday or sick leave, or other employee benefits.
Employees who participate will receive both wages and Shared Work unemployment benefits.
If approved, the Shared Work plan is effective for one year.
To submit a Shared Work plan, log on to Employer Benefit Services (EBS). Be sure to have your TWC Tax Account Number and social security numbers for all participating employees.
The application is short and easy. If you have any questions, contact the TWC Shared Work Department at 512-340-4337 or by email at email@example.com.
Reminder: Legislation was signed into law Thursday, March 19, to require expanded sick and family medical leave (read more in the update), with dollar for dollar reimbursement from the federal government. We currently await guidance from the IRS on the mechanics of processing those payments. There will be a number of resources coming online in the days ahead to help you face you workforce and payroll challenges.
We will continue to communicate these to you as you evaluate which may meet your business’ needs. Together, we will face and overcome these difficult times.
A collection of valuable and regularly updated resources is available at wacochamber.com/covid-19.