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NY Can a company declare a company wide one day a week layoff, insist the employees file for unemployment and insist that they continue to work five days a week full time?

by Anonymous
(New York)

Corporation declares a one day a week company wide lay off, no written notification. Company tells employees that they are to file for unemployment and that they are to continue to work the full five day work week and they will only be paid for four days by the company. Company says they are legally able to demand the employees work the full work week as part of a "Work Sharing" program.

Is this legal? The employees are not willing to break the law, if they refuse to file unemployment and continue to work as ordered they are getting a 20% cut in pay. Isn't this harassment? Anyone who questions the policy is threatened with termination for not being supportive of the company.

Hi Anonymous,

New York does have a Work Sharing program. This is also called a Short Time compensation program in some states.

It's an incentive to employer to not lay people off but either reduce wages by at least 20% OR by reducing hours by at least 20%.

If wages are being reduced, then yes, this sounds right, if wages are not being reduced and they are asking you to work your regular full-time schedule .. then that wouldn't be right. That would be fraud.

I'm not all that familiar with work sharing programs and it appears the employer has the ability to design an individual program pending approval from the state.

For this reason here is the link to the information on New York's website.

There is a number at the bottom which you could probably call to get specific answers to your question. It just sounds like maybe your employer did a piss poor job of explaining the program.

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