WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Maine Department of Labor has been awarded a total of $382,579 to promote and enhance its Short Time Compensation (STC) program, known as WorkShare, which allows workers to receive a partial unemployment benefit payment while their employer reduces their hours to avoid layoffs.
“This grant will help the Department provide outreach to employers about Maine’s WorkShare program and also provides funds to implement enhancements to the program that both employees and employers have requested,” Commissioner Laura Fortman said. “WorkShare can be used both to prevent layoffs and to recall workers who had been temporarily laid off from the business. This program has significant benefits for both employees and employers and is one tool to help support efforts to jump-start Maine’s economy.”
The Maine Department of Labor will use the grant funds to raise awareness of the WorkShare program and its benefits, increase participation, and streamline reporting by participating employers and workers to MDOL’s Bureau of Unemployment Compensation.
The grant, funded by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act of 2020, is part of up to $100 million in funding available to states for the implementation or improved administration of a Short-Time Compensation program. In addition, states may use funds to promote the program and enroll employers.
“As we continue to combat this public health crisis, it is crucial that we maintain the safety net that supports individuals whose hours have been reduced through no fault of their own,” said Senators Collins and King in a joint statement about the award. "We welcome this funding, which will help the Maine Department of Labor modernize its unemployment system and ensure that Mainers can continue to receive the relief they need.”
The Maine Department of Labor will use the funding to raise awareness of the state’s STC program and its benefits, increase participation, and streamline reporting by participating employers and workers to the Maine Bureau of Unemployment Compensation.