CT’s Shared Work Program

May 2020



Although many employers and employees were not aware, a program run by Connecticut Department of Labor, long before the corona virus pandemic appeared, offers an alternative to layoffs by employers. 

The program offers an alternative to layoffs by allowing employers to temporarily reduce employee hours and supplement lost wages with the help of partial unemployment benefits.  Under the program, all employers with two or more employees can participate.  When business comes back, employees resume regular hours and employers can ramp up quickly with an experienced team in place.

The program allows flexibility to employers in reducing the work week scheduled hours as long as the reduction in hours stays between 10% and 60%.

The program also benefits employees, who get to stay with their employer, continue to receive fringe benefits and collect partial unemployment compensation benefits at a higher rate than if their hours were reduced outside of the program.  An employee can potentially receive a maximum of 52 weeks of Shared Work benefit during a single benefit year.

The requirements:

  • The employer is reducing the hours of two or more employees in a business unit;
  • The number of affected employees is greater than 10% of that unit;
  • These reductions will be between 10% and 60%;
  • The employer is up to date with its unemployment payments or reimbursements.

How Does It Work?

 The employer must submit a two-page application to the CT DOL for approval.  The employer should have at least two permanent part or full-time employees participating and cannot eliminate or reduce any fringe benefits during the duration of the approved plan. 

For example, assume an employee named John works 40 hours per week and earns $20 an hour in regular pay.  Under the Shared Work program, John’s hours are temporarily reduced by 20 hours per week or 50%.  In addition to a partial paycheck, John will get 50% of his regular weekly unemployment benefit.

100% Layoff:

$20 x 40 hours per week = $800 regular weekly wages.

But his total weekly unemployment payment is $400.

Shared Work Wages at 50% Reduction:

20 hours regular pay –                         $400

+ Weekly Shared Work payment –     $200

Total weekly income –                        $600

Frequently Asked Questions:

If one of my employees works for another company will that affect his/her Shared Work benefits?

No. an employee who is eligible for Shared Work benefits is exempt from the work search requirements.  Wages from another company will not affect the calculation of the Shared Work program.

What happens if an employee uses their personal, vacation or sick time?

For an employee to use vacation, personal or sick time, he or she must work at least one day during the Shared Work week in order to be eligible for a Shared Work payment.

Is there a limit to the size of the employer’s workforce?

No.  But the affected unit must have at least two employees in order to participate.

How is an affected unit defined?

The “affected unit” is a specified plant, department, shift or other definable unit consisting of two or more employees to which an approved Shared Work plan applies.

Can an employer apply for Shared Work if the employees are represented by a union?

Yes, but only if the Shared Work plan is approved, in writing, by the participating employee’s union representative.

How long can the Shared Work program last?

The program will expire six months after its start, but an employer can apply for an extension of six months upon expiration.

What is the best and quickest method of applying for the Shared Work program?

Email the application to or fax it to 860-263-6681.  Otherwise, mail the completed application to:  Connecticut Department of Labor, Attn: Shared Work Unit, 200 Folly Brook Boulevard, Wethersfield, CT 06109.

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