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 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 should remain within the range of 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 duration of an initial agreement is 26 weeks, there is the possibility of accessing an extension of up to 12 weeks bringing the duration of the agreement to 38 weeks. Employers can end their Work-Sharing agreement at any time by contacting their regional Work-Sharing unit.

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