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MAC partners with state of Minnesota’s ‘Shared Work’ program to provide an alternative to layoffs

As organizations throughout the aviation community face unprecedented economic hardships, the harsh reality is that many companies will have to turn to cutting personnel costs or sending people home due to a lack of work. 

For many companies, laying off workers is the last resort as they make these difficult business decisions. Many times, layoffs may be seen as the only method for cutting the necessary personnel costs that will save a company from bankruptcy. 

"While layoff entails severing ties with a certain number of trained and valued workers, the Shared Work program offers an alternative to control personnel costs without laying off people," said Jim Laurent, vice president of Human Resources and Labor Relations for the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC). 

The program is administered by Minnesota's Department of Employment and Economic Development's (DEED) Unemployment Insurance Division. The program allows employers to divide available hours of work among a group of employees instead of implementing a full layoff. These employees may then receive partial unemployment insurance benefits while working reduced hours.

The purpose of Shared Work is to avoid a layoff – not to subsidize wages. Shared Work can help employers avoid the difficulties that can go along with a layoff. If employees keep working during a temporary slowdown, employers can keep their trained staff and more quickly gear up when business conditions improve. 

According to DEED, the program flies a bit under the radar but may be the perfect fit for companies facing the difficult decision when it comes to personnel cuts. 

To provide more visibility, the MAC has partnered with DEED to promote awareness of the program within our airport community. You can learn more at the Shared Work website.  

In addition, at the Monday (Nov. 16) Commission meeting, Jerry Mulhern, DEED's Program Partnerships director who oversees the Shared Work program, will provide an overview of the program. This PowerPoint presentation also provides some good background information.

You can also listen to the 1 p.m. Commission meeting by going to this site and dialing the number near the top of the page and entering the teleconference code.