The Indiana Chamber of Commerce says it’s disappointed the governor’s office has not decided to implement a work share program. It’s a common system in other states that lets workers keep jobs while accessing some unemployment benefits.
Work share programs allow companies to have employees work reduced hours while the unemployment system supplements most of the difference in their pay. Twenty-eight states have work share programs – some starting during the pandemic. The Indiana Institute for Working Families has also issued a blog post in support of work sharing.
While a permanent work share program would require legislative approval, the federal CARES act would pay for 50 percent of benefits and some administrative costs of starting a temporary one.
Kevin Brinegar is the president and CEO of the Indiana Chamber. He says the chamber supports most of the state's coronavirus response, but 130 companies have asked them why a work share program isn’t available in Indiana.
“It’s been very important to them during this pandemic and they’re frustrated that they can’t have access to work share here in Indiana,” he says.
On Friday, Gov. Eric Holcomb said his office has researched system upgrades and whether there was legislative support, but has no immediate plans to start a program. In the previous legislative session, bills were authored in both the House and Senate to implement a program. Neither received an initial committee hearing.