Details of Work-Sharing Program temporary special measures to support employers and workers affected by COVID-19.
What is the Expanded Work Sharing (WS) Program?
The Government of Canada introduced temporary special measures to extend the maximum duration of Work-Sharing agreements from 38 weeks to 76 weeks for businesses affected by a downturn in business due to COVID-19.
The Work-Sharing (WS) Program provides Employment Insurance (EI) benefits to eligible employees who agree to reduce their normal working hours and share the available work while their employer recovers from reduced business activity due to an unforeseen event, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. It helps employers to retain employees and not have to recruit and train new ones, and helps employees keep their jobs and maintain their skills.
Work-Sharing is an agreement between employers, employees and the Government of Canada.
Who is Eligible?
Eligible employers, including public corporations and not-for-profit organizations, must:
- Have experienced a shortage of work due to a reduction of business activity and/or a reduction in revenue levels due to COVID-19
- Be a year-round business in Canada for at least one year
- Be a private business or a publicly held company or have at least two employees in the WS unit
Eligible employees must:
- Be year-round, permanent, full-time or part-time "core staff" and/or be considered essential to the recovery and viability of the business
- Be eligible to receive EI benefits
- Agree to reduce their normal working hours by the same percentage and to share the available work
- A WS unit is a group of employees with similar job duties who agree to reduce their hours of work over a specific period of time
- A WS unit must reduce its hours of work by at least 10% to 60%
- A WS agreement has to be at least 6 consecutive weeks long and can last up to 26 consecutive weeks. Due to COVID-19, employers who request an initial Work-Sharing agreement automatically receive up to 76 weeks
- Employers can end their Work-Sharing agreement at any time