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Shared Work Unemployment Insurance Program


The DOES Office of Unemployment Compensation (OUC) Shared Work Unemployment Insurance Program (Shared Work) is a program offered to employers that provides an alternative to layoffs. The idea behind Shared Work is simple: instead of laying off employees to cut costs, an employer could reduce employees’ hours and keep the entire workforce on the job. Employers can apply to be part of the program here.



Through Shared Work, your trained employees can continue to work with you, avoiding the time and expense of hiring and training new employees. Shared Work allows employers to keep employee morale high because employees can avoid the insecurity and uncertainty that a layoff could bring. Being part of the Shared Work program would also allow employers to continue to provide health and retirement benefits for their employees. Instead of facing the emotional and financial hardships of unemployment, employees would be able to keep their jobs.



An employer who sees a large decline in business may consider using Shared Work as an alternative to layoffs.



Read the list below to make sure your application is ready to be submitted to the Shared Work program: Employers must make sure that the Shared Work plan:

  • Identifies a specific department, shift, or group with full-time, regular, or part-time employees that have been affected by the business slowdown
  • Includes a master file, or report to DOES with the required information to process a claim for each employee.
  • Applies to a minimum of ten percent (10%) of your employees and no less than two (2) employees of an affected department, shift, or group.
  • Ensures the reduced hours for the affected department, shift, or group are at least ten percent (10%) and no more than 60 percent (60%) of an employee’s usual weekly hours of work. This percentage reduction will apply for the entire length of the Shared Work plan.
  • Shows an equal treatment of an affected department, shift, or group. This means that for each affected group, each employee within that group must have the same percentage of reduced hours each week throughout the entire Shared Work plan.
  • Includes a plan for giving advance notice, when possible, to an employee whose work hours will be reduced.
  • Contains an estimate of the number of layoffs that would have occurred if the company did not participate in Shared Work.
  • Was approved in writing by the Union for all employees covered under a collective bargaining agreement (CBA).

In addition, participation in Shared Work must not be used to reduce the health and retirement benefits offered to employees. It also cannot be used to subsidize seasonal or temporary employees during the offseason.



  1. An employer who wants to participate in Shared Work needs to complete and submit the Shared Work Plan Application.
  2. DOES will then review the application. DOES will approve or deny the Shared Work plan no later than fifteen (15) calendar days after it is received. The review of the plan may take longer than fifteen calendar days if the submitted Shared Work plan is incomplete, inconsistent, or complicated and DOES is required to contact the employer for additional clarifying information. DOES will provide written notification of the approval or denial of the Shared Work plan.
  3. If the Shared Work plan is approved, DOES will email the employer an approval letter and a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for participation in the Shared Work Program. The Shared Work plan is effective as of the date noted in the approval letter.
  4. If a Shared Work plan is denied, DOES will email a letter to the employer with an explanation of why the Shared Work plan was denied. The employer will be given a chance to reapply by submitting a revised Shared Work plan. An employer may reapply for the Shared Work program not earlier than 30 calendar days from the date of the disapproval of the Shared Work plan.



  1. Sign and return your MOA to DOES within seven (7) business days of receiving your approval letter. The MOA should be emailed to DOES at [email protected].
  2. Let your employees know that your Shared Work plan has been approved and provide them with the guidelines, websites, and resources for the plan.
  3. Employers must inform employees that they need to file an online application for Shared Work benefits.
  4. Submit to DOES your master file that includes information for all employees within an affected group. Continue to certify weekly hours worked for each employee in an affected group by emailing a master file and weekly certification to DOES at [email protected].

View the UI program process.


For more in-depth information, please refer to our DC Shared Work Pamphlet and links below:


Contact the UI Tax Division:

(202) 698-7550
[email protected]