How Employers Can Keep Employees during the COVID-19 Crisis
Mar 30, 2020

California employers have faced an adjustment in their work routines, hours and productivity since mid-March of this year. There are many factors to consider, but if you are a business owner looking to keep your top workers there is a State benefit that may help you during your temporary slowdown.

In response to the unprecedented demand, the California Employment Development Department (“EDD”) has created the Work Sharing program. Employers with a slowdown in their business, production or services as a result of the coronavirus impact on the economy may apply for the UI Work Sharing Program.

This article refers to only a portion of their core information, their main weblink is found here: https://www.edd.ca.gov/Unemployment/Work_Sharing_Program.htm [also available en español ]

Like everything now, times are fluid and this blog’s information may be subject to the administrative changes of the State EDD.The Work Sharing program could potentially segue to your business recovery. Look for our ongoing Shenon Lawbusiness blogs as remedies for business owners are released–we are reporting our findings hot off the press release

Employers must first notify employees in advance of the intent to participate in EDD’s Work Sharing. Business owners should call this number to ask about the Working Sharing Program activation: Special Claims Office at 916-464-3323.

One notice is served to the EDD, there are 28 days to file the application DE 8686 form. Do not delay – Benefits only apply to the effective date of the signed application and employees must have worked the week before

After the Work Sharing Plan Application has been approved, a supply of “Work Sharing Certification, DE 4581WS forms” will be sent to the employer. The employer completes a Work Sharing Certification form for each week to the participating employee, signs off and then issues it to the employee. A Work Sharing Certification form is considered to be “issued” to the participating employee when it is: — Hand delivered or Mailed to the employee, or — made available to the employee at a pick up point familiar to the employee.At the time of this writing, there is a standard UI waiting period on this program for EDD payments to your employees.

This Work Sharing Program is an alternative to layoffs, not a program to pave the way administratively to that outcome. It is intended to assist employers in keeping their talent working. This allows your team to work remotely at reduced work hours, if the employer and their crew are eligible per EDD rules.

Benefits are paid weekly proportionate to the percentage of reduction in hours and wages. There is a threshold however, if the pay reduction is more than 60% for three consecutive weeks then the EDD’s Special Claims office will covert the participant to a regular unemployment insurance claim. [see DE 8684]

There is also some wiggle room for an employer to adjust schedules for their crews – Work Sharing is flexible. Employees may be rotated so different employees have reduced hours and wages each week. The Work Sharing program allows the employer to determine which employees will participate in the Program. This EDD Work Sharing plan is approved by a year, with possible renewals.

Once launched, the Employer or the Employee can mail the ongoing Work Sharing claim reporting forms.

As a business owner, you should take the time now to reflect and assess the productivity of your workforce, your team members, your essential work family. Determine what qualities are going to make your business revive andthrive to stay strong and move forward. We encourage you to review your legal needs to prepare for the reactivation of your business’shealth. On your list, be sure to add a callto our office to speak with a lawyer about your business legal needs. Follow Natela Shenon’s business guru postings on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for helpful information from a lawyer in this transitional time.