BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Maryland Department of Labor has partnered with Maryland Public Television to develop an 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.

The Work Sharing Program helps to preserve jobs by providing employers with a flexible alternative to layoffs, according to a department statement. 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.

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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.

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Participation in Maryland’s Work Sharing Program has increased tremendously since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the statement. 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.

Participation in Maryland’s Work Sharing Program has increased tremendously since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the statement. 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.

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Maryland will continue to participate in the 100% federal reimbursement of short-time compensation benefits until this funding expires on Sept. 4. Department officials encourage employers to incorporate and utilize this program in their reopening plans. For more information about Maryland’s Work Sharing Program, please email ui.worksharing@maryland.gov or visit labor.maryland.gov/worksharing.

CBS Baltimore Staff