Shared Work, a state Employment Security Department program, allows employers to reduce the hours of their full-time employees by up to 50 percent. Workers then collect partial jobless benefits to make up for some of the lost wages.
In 2012, 2,449 Washington employers, and more than 29,000 employees, were approved for Shared Work. It saved an estimated 19,000 jobs and more than $12 million in jobless benefit payouts. Although nearly 2,500 employers used the program, the number of employers has dropped by about one-third since 2010.
Fifty-five percent of employers who used the program last year had 50 or fewer employees; 27 percent had more than 100 employees.
A recent survey shows that most employers using Shared Work cut their payroll costs by 11 percent or more. About 8 percent used it to cut payroll by more than 30 percent.