Two workers sorting orders at a farm.

The Shared Work Program

Shared Work has helped thousands of businesses and not-for-profits in NYS to save money, avoid layoffs and retain workers

The Shared Work program is designed to help employers manage business cycles and seasonal adjustments while helping to spare their workers the hardships of full unemployment. The program allows employers to keep trained employees and avoid layoffs by allowing staff members to receive partial Unemployment Insurance benefits (UI) while working reduced hours. The Shared Work Program helps keep trained, productive employees on the job during temporary business downturns, meaning New York businesses can gear up quickly when conditions improve, and New York workers get to stay on the job. Full-time, part-time and seasonal employees are eligible. 

New legislation (S.4049/A.5678) changes the cap on Shared Work benefits from a maximum of 26 weeks to a maximum of 26 times an individual’s weekly benefit rate.  Prior to this legislation, claimants could only receive 26 weeks of benefits, regardless of what the claimant's maximum benefit entitlement was under UI. This change will allow active, approved participants to collect Shared Work  benefits until they reach their maximum benefit amount allowed under traditional UI or have reached their benefit year end date. 


Frequently Asked Questions for Employers

Frequently Asked Questions for workers

Legislative Report 2022

What is the Shared Work Program?

How to Participate in the Shared Work Program

Determine your eligibility and apply. 


How to file a claim. 

What Businesses & Employees Have to Say About the Program

Shared Work helped our company out of a hard spot by not having to lay off good employees who may find another job in the meantime. We have a lot of longtime employees, but sometimes we need a little help to get through a rough patch. Shared Work allows us to keep our employees working during our slow time, and they appreciate that we don’t want to lose them. We first used the program back in 2002, and while we don’t always need it, we’ve come back to it about four or five times. It’s a very flexible program, and the enrollment process is simple and easy to manage.

— Lori S., Controller for a Mohawk Valley Plastics Manufacturer


We have used the Shared Work program for the past few years. We usually use it only for one department, but we have enrolled as many as three. It gives you flexibility to stop and start as business demands within the plan year. This enables us to keep our valuable employees while reducing payroll during the slow months. Enrollment is pretty simple and there is always someone to talk to if you have questions. The Shared Work program is a great tool, and I would highly recommend it for any business.

— Jeanette I., Assistant Controller, Capital Region lumber company


During my first 21 years of business as a landscaping company, I had nothing but problems retaining employees, so employee retention is my number one concern. We’ve been in the program for nine years now, and it’s been a game-changer. Shared Work allows me to keep my employees on the payroll and working during the offseason, and combined with their reduced Unemployment Benefits, they get a steady paycheck from November to April. If it wasn’t for Shared Work, my employees would all quit. The Shared Work unit is extremely responsive to our needs as a small business, and the representatives are exceptional people who always help us out. You folks really have your act together.

— Gary R., Owner, Western NY landscaping company


We’ve been in business for 114 years, and we know it’s difficult to get employees with the skill set we require. During the recession, work slowed down tremendously, but we maintained our staff through assistance from Shared Work. It allowed us to keep our employees on a part-time basis while they kept full benefits like disability and pension. The program keeps them working. As things picked up we used the program less and less, but we always keep it in place – just in case.

— Robert S., President, Long Island land surveying company


By signing up for Shared Work, the company sent us a message that said, “We want to keep you with the company and we want to help you be able to stay.” They knew that the lost pay from reduced hours might mean some people would not be able to afford to stay. With Shared Work benefits we can still make ends meet - even with a reduced work schedule.

— Employee, manufacturing company in Waterford

They could have laid us off and they didn’t. They wanted to make sure that we were going to come back – that they valued us; they valued our experience; they valued us as people.

— Employee, retailer in Amsterdam