Monday, April 9, 2012

Miles on PA Unemployment Compensation Shared Work Program

On Sunday, the Pittburgh Post-Gazette ran a story on the new shared work program provisions enacted as part of the recent Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation reforms: Workzone - Pennsylvania gets on Work-Sharing Bus. The author, Len Boselovic, chatted with me about the new law and cited me a few times in the article.

It is a nice overview of the new program, and I recommend checking it out. As an attorney, I feel the need to place a finer point on a few aspects of the program:

The 10% Layoff Requirement
From the article:
Under Pennsylvania's program, employers will have to complete a Department of Labor and Industry application and certify they are cutting hours across the board as an alternative to laying off 10 percent or more of the work force, said Philip K. Miles III, a State College attorney who specializes in employment law.
Employers also have the option to create a shared work program for a subset of their work force, such as a specific department or shift. That subset is called the "affected unit." The employer only needs to certify that it is implementing the shared work program in lieu of layoffs that would have affected 10% of the affected unit - which may not be the whole work force.

Length of Eligibility
From the article:
Mr. Miles said workers covered by the program can collect jobless benefits for up to 52 weeks. They will not be able to collect benefits that long if they previously collected unemployment and their eligibility expires while they are on work-share, he said.
Just to clarify - employees can collect benefits for the length of the shared work program, or the end of their regular entitlement period... whichever ends first. The maximum length of a shared work program is 52 weeks. So, the only way an employee would actually collect 52 weeks is if he or she had 52 weeks of eligibility and the shared work program lasted the full 52-week maximum.

Pennsylvania implemented the new program just last month. You can find more information at the Department of Labor and Industry's website, here.

Image: Photo of Centre County CareerLink, where they hold Unemployment Compensation Referee hearings (among other things).