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Federal Work-Sharing Program – COVID-19

What is work-sharing?

  • Work-sharing is a program designed to help eligible employers avoid layoffs when there is a temporary reduction in the normal level of business activity (that is beyond the control of the employer). The program is available to both federally and provincially regulated employers.

  • As a result, Employment Insurance Benefits are provided for eligible employees as income support.

  • Affected employees must agree to work a reduced schedule and share available work over a specified period of time.

  • Both the employer and the employee must apply to participate in a Work-Sharing program together.

How do I know if I am an eligible employer? To be eligible for a Work-Sharing program, employers must:

  • have been in business in Canada year-round for at least two (2) years;

  • be a private business, publicly-held company or a not-for-profit organization;

  • demonstrate that the shortage of work is temporary and beyond their control;

  • demonstrate a recent decrease in business activity of approximately 10%; and

  • submit and implement a recovery plan designed to return the Work-Sharing individuals to normal working hours by the end of the program.

Employers may not make a Work-Sharing agreement with employees who are:

  • seasonal, or students hired for the summer or co-op term;

  • hired on a casual or on-call basis; or

  • shareholders of the business, whose shares provide them with significant decision making power as to the direction of the company.

How many hours of an employee’s work schedule can be reduced and how long can it last?

  • A reduction between a minimum of 10% (one half day) and a maximum of 50% (three days).

  • In any given week, the work reduction can vary depending on available work, as long as the work reduction on average is between 10%-60% for the duration of the program.

  • The program must have a minimum duration of six (6) weeks and as a result of COVID-19, may last up to 76 weeks (normally maximum 38 weeks).

How can I apply?

  • The Service Canada Covid-19 Employment & Social Development Webpage can be found here.

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