About the Work-Sharing Program

From: Employment and Social Development Canada

Work-Sharing is an agreement between employers, employees and the Government of Canada (Service Canada).

The Work-Sharing Program helps employers and employees avoid layoffs, when there is a temporary decrease in the normal level of business activity that is beyond the control of the employer.

This program provides Employment Insurance benefits to eligible employees who:

  • agree to reduce their normal working hours, and
  • share the available work while their employer recovers

The Program allows employers to:

  • retain qualified and experienced workers, and
  • avoid recruiting and training new employees

The Program allows employees to:

  • keep their jobs, and
  • maintain their work skills

Key program features

Work-Sharing special measures

Work-Sharing special measures are non-permanent changes to the program’s terms and conditions. These measures were launched to support employers avoid layoffs during exceptionally challenging economic periods and triggers.

For more information, consult: Work-Sharing agreement: special measures.

Work-Sharing unit

A Work-Sharing unit is a group of employees with similar job duties who agree to reduce their hours of work over a specific period.

Equal sharing of work

All members of a Work-Sharing unit agree to reduce their hours of work by the same percentage and to share the available work.

Expected work reduction

A Work-Sharing unit must reduce its hours of work by at least 10% to 60%. The reduction hours can vary from week to week. The average reduction over the course of the agreement is from 10% to 60%.

Agreement length and extension

A Work-Sharing agreement must be a minimum 6 consecutive weeks long and can be up to a maximum 26 consecutive weeks. Although the maximum initial agreement duration is 26 weeks a possible extension of up to 12 additional weeks is available. Due to COVID-19, employers who request an initial Work-Sharing agreement, automatically receive up to 76 weeks. This applies even if the employers expect that their employees will return to normal work hours sooner. Employers can end their Work-Sharing agreement at any time.

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