BALTIMORE (June 2, 2021) – Maryland Department of Labor (Labor) Secretary Tiffany P. Robinson today announced that the department has partnered with Maryland Public Television (MPT) to develop a digital and media advertising campaign to promote the state’s Work Sharing Unemployment Insurance Program as a flexible reopening strategy for businesses as the economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Maryland’s Work Sharing Program is a valuable tool that can help employers gradually bring their employees back to work full time and successfully reopen for business,” said Labor Secretary Robinson. “I encourage employers from all industries and locations across Maryland to reach out to our department to learn more and take advantage of this flexible program that is a win-win for all.”
In times of economic downturn, the Work Sharing Program preserves jobs by providing employers with a flexible alternative to layoffs. As the economy recovers, the Work Sharing Program can also help businesses that were partially or fully closed due to COVID-19 gradually and safely bring most or all of their employees back to the workplace. Employees can work at reduced hours while collecting partial unemployment benefits to make up a portion of the lost wages.
The Work Sharing Program is equally beneficial for both employers and employees. By maintaining an experienced staff, employers can resume business operations without the challenge of recruiting, hiring, and training employees. Employees reap the benefits of this program by keeping their current job, and often their health and retirement benefits, while receiving partial unemployment insurance benefits to supplement their wages.
Participation in Maryland’s Work Sharing Program has increased tremendously since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to the pandemic, in February 2020, there was only one active work sharing plan. Since the beginning of March 2020, 549 work sharing plans have been implemented in Maryland for 367 employers. These work sharing plans have averted the layoffs of an estimated 6,117 Maryland workers.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provided funding to states with Work Sharing programs to help them promote and increase the enrollment of employers. Through a competitive procurement process, the department selected the Maryland State Ad Agency (MSAA) from MPT as the vendor to develop a digital and media advertising campaign. Television commercials will be airing on several local news stations in June. The commercial is available to view in English and Spanish.
Maryland will continue to participate in the 100% federal reimbursement of short-time compensation benefits until this funding expires on September 4. As such, employers are urged to incorporate and utilize this program in their reopening plans. For more information about Maryland’s Work Sharing Program, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Work Sharing Unemployment Insurance Program page.