An Act To Implement a Maine Unemployment Insurance Work-sharing Program
Sec. 1. 26 MRSA §1198 is enacted to read:
§ 1198. Work-sharing benefits
(1) Who has had contributions credited to the private employer's account;
(2) To whose account benefits have been chargeable; and
(3) Who is not delinquent in the payment of contributions or reimbursements or in the reporting of wages.
For the purposes of this subsection, "good cause" includes, but is not limited to, failure to comply with assurances given in the work-sharing plan, unreasonable revision of productivity standards for the affected unit, conduct or occurrences tending to defeat the intent and effective operation of the plan and violation of any criteria on which approval of the plan was based.
Notwithstanding any other provisions of this chapter, an eligible employee is deemed unemployed in any week for which remuneration is payable to that eligible employee as an eligible employee in an affected unit for less than that eligible employee's normal weekly hours of work as specified under the approved work-sharing plan in effect for the week.
Notwithstanding any other provisions of this Title, an eligible employee may not be denied work-sharing benefits for any week by reason of the application of laws and rules relating to the availability for work and active search for work with an employer other than the work-sharing employer.
This bill creates a work-sharing program that provides an alternative to layoffs during a temporary slowdown in business. Under a work-sharing plan, an employer elects to avoid layoffs by reducing the number of regularly scheduled hours of work for all workers in a specific unit or department or the business as a whole. Unemployment insurance benefits for the reduced hours of work are then payable as a proportion of the benefit amount for a full week of unemployment.
A work-sharing plan is voluntary on the part of the employer. A plan must be approved by the Commissioner of Labor or the commissioner's designee and, if the employees are unionized, by their collective bargaining agent.