Work sharing helps save jobs
WASHINGTON — Some states are adding a new twist to the old concept of unemployment insurance: Paying to keep Americans in their jobs rather than giving them cash when they lose them.
Washington state has subsidized incomes for dental technicians and plumbers while Rhode Island paid factory and health care workers when their employers could not. Almost 460,000 jobs have been saved through such arrangements since 2008, the Labor Department estimates, and federal funding approved last year has more states signing on.
Instead of dismissal notices, employees get a shortened work week, with unemployment benefits partially compensating for lost wages. Popularly known as work sharing, the program holds out the promise of fewer layoffs and less painful economic downturns. For businesses, which get to retain experienced workers, it could mean the difference between success and failure.
“It's been a godsend,” said Belinda Roberts, co-owner of Blue Crown Dental Arts in Kennewick, Wash., which credits the state's program with saving the jobs of seven trained technicians. “It's kept the doors open.”
Work share, also known as layoff aversion or short-time compensation, is part of a broad rethinking of th safety net for the unemployed. It borrows from decades-old efforts in Japan and Europe, notably Germany's “Kurzarbeit,” which dates from the 1920s. In 2009, about 3 percent of all German workers were on the program, which has been credited with saving about 235,000 full-time jobs that year.
Rhode Island is among 17 states that have had work-share programs in place for years.
Chronic long-term unemployment and a pot of federal funding approved by Congress last year have prompted more states to adopt work sharing. Twenty-five states and the District of Colombia now have versions of the programs.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- More Hillary emails have parts blocked, ruled classified
- 3 strikes convict freed in Mo.
- Outrage greets wildlife officials’ plan to kill bear cub that approached hiker in Connecticut
- CIA joins special ops in secret terrorist hunt in Syria
- Ky. clerk defies courts on gay marriage
- Defense Secretary Carter was closing Guantanamo prison being considered, ceding base to Cuba isn’t
- West Point law professor resigns amid remarks that critics of war on terror are ‘treasonous’
- Ancient giant sea scorpion turns up
- Authorities in Illinois hunt for 3 in officer’s slaying
- International study shows earlier, deadly dementia cases
- Mormons to maintain association with Boy Scouts