Thursday, May 7, 2020
How the Shared Work Program Could Benefit Employers and Employees Mutually

We have found the Shared Work Program to be very beneficial for employers and employees. The program allows employers to reduce hours by 10 to 40 percent. The employee receives part wages from his employer, an amount of state unemployment benefits that corresponds to the reduced hours, and the $600 weekly unemployment benefit through the end of July. As a result in most cases, employees are made whole. At the same time, employers are able to keep their employees close so they can be called back to work full-time when needed. The added bonus for employers is that participation in the Program does not impact their experience ratings.  

DWS has streamlined the process given the volume of applications they are receiving. This article provides an overview of how the program works and answers to frequently asked questions.

• The employer completes an application [link to application] and submits it to DWS via email.

• DWS generally responds by email within 7-10 business days.

• Once approved, employees submit applications for unemployment benefits. They can complete the paper application and return it to DWS by email. But DWS is encouraging employees to sign up for benefits online (click here) . Because the online application is not created specifically for the shared work program, here are a few tips for employees:

  • The reason for separation will be shared work program.
  • The start date will be the date that the employee signs up for benefits, but DWS will back-date the claims to the date the company’s shared work program began.

• Employers provide weekly certifications to DWS reporting the number of hours worked and any other work performed by the employee. DWS has suggested this new, simpler form for the weekly reports. Employers may create their own weekly report form as long as it includes employee name, social security number, original employee and employer signature, and a report as to work performed for another employer.

  • If the employee receives PTO or holiday pay or takes sick leave during the week, then it must be noted on the weekly form.
  • Holiday pay and PTO should be noted on the new weekly form and added to the hours worked
  • If an employee takes sick leave, a traditional weekly form must be completed for that employees so DWS can adjudicate whether the employee will be eligible for unemployment benefits.
Notice Required if Employee is Separated From Employment

Arkansas Department of Workforce Services  Emergency Rule 30  became effective on April 27, 2020 and will expire on December 31, 2020.

This rule requires employers to give notice to employees of the availability of unemployment benefits when they are let go. The state promulgated this rule to comply with requirements in the CARES Act to allow it to receive supplemental federal funding.

Thus, beginning April 27, 2020 every employer in the state is required to give a copy of the notice prepared by ARDWS to employees upon separation of employment.

The notice, which is an appendix to the rule can be accessed by  clicking here.
Katherine C. Campbell  is an associate in the Litigation Practice Group at Friday, Eldredge & Clark. She serves as litigation counsel for individuals and businesses in complex business and commercial disputes including employment claims, collective action wage and hour claims, and breach of contract matters. 
Disclaimer:  The information included here is provided for general informational purposes only and should not be a substitute for legal advice nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel. For more information or if you have further questions, please contact one of our Attorneys.
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Labor and Employment Practice Group
Employers today are facing an ever-changing legal landscape. Our Labor and Employment attorneys take a proactive approach to assist clients in the   development and implementation of effective strategies to meet these specific needs.

With an eye toward avoiding conflicts before they arise, we can guide you through new developments in the law, provide you with options and help you make informed decisions. In those instances where litigation is necessary, our attorneys are prepared to represent you in state or federal court, before regulatory agencies and other tribunals. It is our commitment to provide exceptional client service, value-added legal advice and cost-effective representation concerning all aspects of your employment-related legal matters. 
About the Firm

Friday, Eldredge & Clark, LLP is a full-service law firm representing businesses, non-profits, governmental and individual clients in Arkansas and across the United States. We are the largest law firm in Arkansas and one of the oldest — tracing our historical roots back almost 150 years. Our success stems from strong internal leadership and a continuously sharp focus on our clients' needs. We provide clients single-source convenience by offering a wide range of services in more than 50 areas of law. Although the firm is known for its rich history and vast scope of services, it is committed to further growth and development to serve our clients better and put them at the focus of our work - every day.