This week, I had an interesting question from a client: is an employer required to apply for the Work-Share Program

This program was introduced by the federal government last winter and it allows employees who are put on a temporary lay-off to apply for EI while still working at least 60% of their regular hours.  It is a product of the tough times businesses have faced in the 2008-2009 recession.

While the program is an obvious a benefit to employees, for some employers, the paperwork, the requirements to lay out the recovery plan and the negotiation with employees to get consent can be a lot of extra work for what may amount to a relatively short temporary lay-off.

While there may not be any express legal requirement to apply, the costs of employee morale and the potential loss of skilled labour may be too high.  For many, it is a useful program to keep everyone happy while we ride out this recession.

Useful information on the program: