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Work sharing is traditionally a method of dividing work between two or more individuals. This allows them, together, to do the work of one person. This arrangement is most often used when a worker has commitments at home that make it difficult for him or her to work a full schedule. Work sharing can also be used when a company has to cut back expenses. Work sharing cuts back on the hours that a worker is being paid for. This arrangement is different from the traditional work sharing arrangements, but has its own benefits.
One of the biggest benefits of traditional work sharing is that both workers involved get to keep their jobs and continue earning income, despite the need to work fewer hours. This is commonly the case with new parents who need extra time at home to take care of their child without giving up all of their income. As the child gets older, or as the demands on the worker's time decrease, the worker can choose to resume regular work hours.
Work sharing is much easier than leaving the work force for several months to a few years, and then having to find a new job when ready for a full-time work schedule. Workers can resume their careers without falling behind.
There are benefits for employers as well. They get to retain trained employees, eliminating the need to hire and train replacements for workers who need to work fewer hours. By being flexible with job sharing, employees are more likely to remain loyal to the company, by working there for a longer period of time. This also benefits employers, by allowing them to keep a highly trained and loyal employee.
Work sharing can also provide a way for a company to cut down on costs without laying off any employees. The benefits of this program are that the workers don't lose their jobs, and the company doesn't lose a trained work force due to temporary financial difficulties. In some states, unemployment pay may even be arranged to cover a large portion of the pay that the workers will be losing. Some companies will even keep paying the medical benefits for the workers, which is another benefit of the program.
The benefits of this work sharing program are substantial. Rather than lose all of their pay and benefits, including health insurance, workers are instead offered a restricted schedule, working 20 to 40 percent fewer hours. Although workers will be making less money, even in states which offer a percentage of unemployment pay, most workers will still make enough money to support their families. The benefits to the state, even while paying partial benefits, are also considerable. As opposed to paying full unemployment if the workers are laid off, the state only pays a percentage of the worker's original pay, potentially saving the state millions of dollars in times of economic decline and recovery.