By Sabine Schoenbach
Policy Analyst, Workers' Rights Project
Four years into the official economic recovery, North Carolina’s jobs deficit stands at more than half a million and the state continues to have the fifth-highest unemployment rate in the country. North Carolina has lagged behind the slow national economic recovery, and unemployed workers, communities, as well as many businesses, continue to struggle.
Work sharing, an optional program for employers established and administered through the federal state unemployment insurance (UI) system, can be a powerful tool for responding to the ongoing unemployment crisis. Now implemented in 25 states across the country, work sharing enables employers to temporarily reduce payroll costs during business slowdowns without losing their skilled employees. It allows employees to maintain crucial income and in many cases their health benefits, and it bolsters the state’s economy by mitigating further job losses.
As an added incentive, temporary federal subsidies are available to states that establish work-sharing programs. This support and guidance can allow North Carolina to be proactive in maintaining economic stability and implementing a program that works for employees and employers.