SACRAMENTO — A bill authored by Assemblymember Tasha Boerner Horvath (D-Encinitas) to streamline the application process for the state’s Work Share Program administered by the Employment Development Department (EDD), passed the Senate Labor, Public Employment, and Retirement Committee on a 4-1 vote.
Work-sharing, or short-time compensation, gives employers the option of reducing employee hours during an economic downturn to avoid layoffs by providing the employee prorated unemployment benefit payments to replace the loss in wages. Despite the many benefits the program provides for employers and employees, this state program is currently underutilized because the application process can be administratively burdensome and the employers may not even be aware the program exists.
"As our economy opens and closes to help manage the spread of the coronavirus, participating in the work share program is a better alternative to layoffs,” said Assemblymember Boerner Horvath. “AB 1731 will help employers retain trained workers, employees on reduced hours will keep their benefits, and the state will maximize federal dollars already allocated to fund the program by streamlining an application process that incentivizes employers' participation in the program. It’s a win-win for everyone.”
AB 1731would create a temporary, simplified work-sharing application process requiring EDD to deem all program applications approved upon receipt, send employers their claim packets electronically within 5 days after the application is approved, and promote the program by working with the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development and the I-Bank to share the benefits of the program when contacted by employers seeking assistance.
AB 1731 is set to be heard next in the Senate Appropriations Committee.