The UI Shared Work Program is offered to businesses as an alternative to laying off workers. It allows an employer to reduce the hours of existing full-time employees, while the employee collects partial unemployment benefits for lost wages. It also waives the job search requirements while drawing weekly benefits for enrolled Shared-Work participants.
The incentive for employers is to avoid permanent layoffs and the loss of skilled workers. Large and small businesses and government agencies may use these benefits for up to one year, excluding industries accustomed to seasonal slow-downs.