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Shared Work Program

In response to changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, last week the Texas Workforce Commission created and approved a Shared Work Program. The program was put in place in order to provide employers with an alternative to full layoffs during COVID-19 employee work hour reductions.

How does this program work?

The Shared Work program allows employers to reduce employee hours and provide partial unemployment benefits in order to help supplement an employee’s lost wages. The program must function as an alternative to layoffs, and employers will need to estimate how many layoffs they would need to make if they did not participate in the shared work plan.

What employers are eligible?

Employers of any size are eligible, and the plan may apply to both salaried and hourly employees. For an employer to be eligible to submit a Shared Work plan, they will need to have reduced an employee’s hours by at least ten percent, but no more than forty percent. Hour reductions must apply to at least ten percent of employees in a certain unit. Employers can request more than one Shared Work plan.

What else should employers know?

If an employer already pays any fringe benefits to employees (health insurance, retirement benefits, paid vacation, holiday or sick leave, etc.) they must continue to provide those benefits to all employees. The Shared Work plan is designed so that participating employees receive wages and Shared Work unemployment benefits. If an employer’s request for a Shared Work is approved the plan is effective for one year.

How do I apply for a Shared Work plan?

Log on to the Employer Benefit Services (EBS) website. Have your TWC Tax Account Number and social security numbers of all participating employees. If you have any questions feel free to contact us at Payroll Services or contact the TWC Shared Work Department at (512) 340-4337 or at ui.sharedwork@twc.state.tx.us.