As we make important business decisions that include how to manage our employees and reduced hours of operations or workload, some businesses may want to consider the Workshare Program.

Workshare does take more administrative time on the employer’s part to manage, however, it:

  • allows you to keep employees employed
  • employee’s wages are “topped up” to their regular earning amount even though there is less hours of work
  • covers wages for employees from 10% up to 60% reduction in available hours of work

As an employer you need to provide a recovery plan for the business.  While the Workshare program normally allows for a 38 week recovery plan, this has been extended to 76 weeks for COVID-19.

Will WorkShare work for my business?

To utilize the WorkShare program, you must have at least 2 employees that fill a similar role in your business that agree to WorkShare – the WorkShare unit. For example, you have 2 employees that normally work on average 30 hours per week and now there is only 40 hours of work available due to reduced operating hours or reduced demand. If the employees agree, they would each work 20 hours/week at the business for their regular pay and then they would each paid the remaining 10 hours a week through WorkShare.  All employees in the WorkShare unit must agree to participate.

Important Criteria

  • The employees must be core employees (including salaried or management employees) that are permanent, year round employees, either on a full time or part time basis, and would be otherwise eligible for EI
  • The business can be a proprietorship, partnership, corporation or not-for-profit
  • The employer must have been in business for at least 2 years

This program has a 30 day waiting period for approval. I strongly encourage employers to consider how this program may work for them and their employees.

The above is the broad strokes and this program is quite detailed. You can read more in the link below. As always, feel free to ask questions!

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