WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor today announced the award of $1,189,280 to the State of Oregon to enhance the state's short-time compensation program, a layoff prevention program, also known as "work sharing."
STC programs allow employers facing economic difficulty to reduce work hours for a group of employees as an alternative to layoffs. The programs allow workers with reduced hours to supplement their lowered wages with a percentage of the weekly unemployment compensation that would have been available to them had they been laid off entirely. STC allows employees to keep their jobs — and benefits such as employer-based retirement and health insurance — and helps employers retain skilled workers and avoid the costs of hiring and training new workers when the business recovers. The program also eases the strain on local economies, which acutely suffer when layoffs occur.
"Short-time compensation, and programs like it, gives employers the tools they need to keep skilled workers during a temporary dip in business and is good for local communities, the state and the overall national economy," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. "Oregon is leading by example by making this innovative program available to more employers. I encourage all states to take advantage of the federal resources available to start or expand their own programs."
Oregon will use $396,426 of the federal funds awarded for enhancements to the state's STC program, and will use the remaining $792,854 for promotional activities and to increase employer enrollment into the program.
The funding was made available through the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, which gives the Secretary of Labor the authority to award grants to states to implement or enhance an STC program, raise awareness at the state level and enroll employers in an STC program. States with an existing program may also be eligible to receive federal reimbursement for STC benefits paid.
For more information about starting an STC program and how states can take advantage of Federal financial incentives, visit http://stc.workforce3one.org.