Congress is promoting ‘work-sharing’ as an alternative to layoffs

Layoffs are among the most unhappy consequences of the recession and the slow recovery. No employer enjoys having to tell productive and loyal workers that their services are no longer affordable. And obviously no employee welcomes the financial and personal upheaval that a job loss can create in a tough time.

The federal government has begun encouraging employers to look to “work-sharing” as an alternative to job cuts. Under a new law, the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, employers can reduce certain workers’ hours instead of terminating them, and these workers can be partially compensated for the lost hours through weekly unemployment payments while still receiving health insurance and retirement benefits.

The federal Act included about $100 million in grants for states to set up such programs.

Employers who are interested should check with an attorney to learn about the guidelines for work-sharing arrangements.