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June 03, 2003
Employers, Employees Tout Shared Work Program
More Connecticut employers are utilizing a program in the state that pays partial unemployment benefits to employees working reduced schedules, the Hartford Courant reports. About 50 employers are participating in the state's Shared Work program.

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Under Shared Work, workers of enrolled companies can collect jobless benefits at the percentage at which they see their work reduced, according to the newspaper. For example, under the program, an employee whose schedule is reduced by 20 percent would be eligible for 20 percent of the unemployment benefits she would have received if she were laid off entirely. Shared Work programs last for six months.

Shared Work's manager says interest in the program has jumped since the attacks of September 11, 2001, with participation more than doubling. The newspaper notes that employers facing reductions say they like the program because it allows them to use an alternative to layoffs, and helps the firms retain workers with valuable skills.

"The program is terrific, says Joseph Cullen, president of Iseli Co., a machine parts maker in Plymouth, Conn. "It's one of the finest things the state has ever done."

Employers are charged for the benefits through their Unemployment Compensation Benefits Fund accounts, according to the newspaper.

"Five individuals collecting 20 percent unemployment is the same as one individual collecting 100 percent," Tina McQuiggan, who administers the program, tells the newspaper. "Yes, employers are charged for the benefits, but at a reduced rate. The system is designed to be as close to a wash as possible."

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