October 23, 2021
Albany, NY

Governor Hochul Signs Legislation Allowing Employees Facing Potential Layoffs to Petition Employers for Shared Work Program

Governor Hochul Signs Legislation Allowing Employees Facing Potential Layoffs to Petition Employers for Shared Work Program

Legislation (S.17-A/A.7373-A) Authorizes Employees To Petition An Employer To Apply To Participate In A Shared Work Program To Avoid A Reduction In Workforce Or For Re-Hiring Purposes.

Governor Kathy Hochul today signed legislation allowing employees facing potential layoff to petition employers to participate in a shared work program. Under this amendment to labor law, the majority of employees may submit a request for a shared work program in writing to the employer before the layoff or within 10 days of the layoff. The employer then has seven days to respond and is not required to implement the program. This is especially important for ensuring full groups of laid off workers are rehired when business returns to normal, instead of just smaller portions of workers.

"In order for our economy to come back stronger than ever from this pandemic, we need to make sure our recovery efforts focus on supporting workers," Governor Hochul said. "By allowing for the use of shared work programs in New York, we have added another way for companies to avoid layoffs and keep New Yorkers employed."

Shared work programs allow employers to reduce all employee hours, but keep the entire staff working, helping avoid layoffs. The state then helps these workers with reduced hours by providing unemployment insurance assistance to cover lost wages. The United State Department of Labor has encouraged shared work programs to help reopen the economy by allowing more workers to be rehired.

This bill not only helps people stay employed - minimizing unemployment insurance costs - but it also helps businesses keep their well trained staff instead of laying them off, helping to keep our businesses running smoothly. 

Senator Shelley B. Mayer said, "The NYS Department of Labor's Shared Work programs provide businesses and employees the flexibility to weather economic downturns by preventing layoffs, reducing the cost of training new employees, and allowing employees to receive partial unemployment benefits while working on a part-time basis. This law will increase participation in these underutilized programs by empowering workers to request that their employers apply without fear of retaliation. I applaud Governor Hochul for helping New Yorkers get back to work and build back stronger from the pandemic."

Assemblymember Harry Bronson said,  "Shared work programs allow employers to reduce employee hours across the board to avoid layoffs. The state then makes up the loss of wages resulting from those reduced working hours through unemployment insurance assistance. Shared work programs are especially valuable during significant economic downturns, such as the crisis caused by the pandemic, because they provide a way to avoid large-scale layoffs that further exacerbate financial difficulties.  I am very grateful to Governor Hochul for signing my bill that will facilitate increased use of the shared work program as we do all we can to help families stay employed and provide for their families. This new law will encourage broader use of shared work programs by granting employees a right to petition their employer to implement a shared work program.  Shared work programs are good for employees and good for business.”

Contact the Governor’s Press Office

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