Government of Canada - Work Sharing Program

19 Mar 2020 1:03 PM | Anonymous

Work Sharing Program:

Work-Sharing (WS) is an adjustment program designed to help employers and employees avoid layoffs when there is a temporary reduction in the normal level of business activity that is beyond the control of the employer. The measure provides income support to employees eligible for Employment Insurance benefits who work a temporarily reduced work week while their employer recovers.

The Government of Canada introduced temporary special measures that extend the maximum duration of Work-Sharing agreements from 38 weeks to 76 weeks across Canada for those businesses affected by the downturn in business due to COVID-19.

For more information and to see if you are eligible visit Government of Canada site:


Coles Notes on what you need to know now:

What is It?

·         Effective March 15, 2020 to March 14, 2021

·         Designed to help employers & employees avoid layoffs where there is a temporary reduction in the normal level of business activity that is beyond the control of the employer

·         Income support to employees who are eligible for Employment Insurance Benefits

·         Employees work a temporary reduced work week, while employer recovers


How Does it Work

·         Employer & employees must agree to participate in a Work sharing agreement and must apply together

·         Employees are to receive a copy of the Employee Annex before submitting the application

·         Demonstrate a recent decrease in business activity of approximately 10% 

·         Sales & Production figures over the last 24 months up to and including last month prior to submitting

·         Demonstrate that the work shortage is temporary & beyond their control - not cyclical/recurring shutdown

·         Submit and implement a recovery plan designed to return the Working Sharing Unit (WSU) to normal hours by end of agreement

·         Work reduction must be between 10% (min) -1/2 day to 60% (max) - 3 days

·         Work reduction can vary depending on available work, as long as the work reduction on average over the life of the agreement is between 10% - 60%

·         The proposed reduction in work hours should correspond with the number of anticipated temporary lay-offs

·         Minimum of 6 weeks to a max of 26 weeks - extended to 38 weeks and extended again to 76 weeks

·         If the business does not recover as expected and an employee is laid off during or at the end of WSA, the employee can apply to transfer the claim to regular benefits

·         Benefits are not reduced by Work Sharing


Work Share Benefits:

·         No waiting period, however, may take a few weeks after employer has submitted the First Utilization Report

·         Employer may request employee to work on a work Sharing Day

·         Statutory holidays are the responsibility of the employer


Work Sharing Unit:(WSU)

·         A group of core employees who have greed to participate in the Work Sharing program & reduce their normal working hours

·         WSA may include>1 WSU

·         Includes those in a single job description or who perform similar work

·         Hours must be reduced equally in a WSU (same % reduction)

·         Should not include employees who need to help generate work or those who are essential to the recovery of the business

·         Minimum of 2 employees in a WSU

·         Employees in the same job description cannot volunteer to participate while other decline & continue to work normal hours

·         Members of WSU who do not qualify or choose not to accept EI are still required to reduce their hours of work on a equivalent basis

·         Employer may request employee to work on a work Sharing Day



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