Governor Evers issued EMERGENCY ORDER #12 instituting "Safer at Home" policy.
The order is effective at 8:00am on Wednesday, March 25, 2020. Learn more at: EVERS.WI.GOV

Work-Share Fact Sheet

Work-Share avoids layoffs, allowing workers to remain employed & employers to retain trained staff during times of reduced business activity.


  • This fact sheet provides general information and guidance for employers interested in participating in the Work-Share Program. This is not a guarantee of eligibility.
  • The Work-Share Program (also called Short-Term Compensation or STC), is designed to help both employers and employees.
  • Instead of laying off workers, a qualified employer can plan to reduce work hours across a work unit.
  • Workers whose hours are uniformly reduced under an approved Work-Share plan receive unemployment benefits that are pro-rated for the partial work reduction.

Who pays for the benefits?

  • The employer’s Unemployment Insurance account will be charged for the payments to that employee for that week, similar to unemployed workers who receive unemployment benefits.

What is required to create a Work-Share plan?

  • The plan must include the greater of 20 positions or 10% of the employees in a work unit. For example:
    • If 20 employees in a work unit; the plan must include all 20 employees in unit
    • If 100 employees in a work unit; the plan must include at least 20 employees in unit
    • If 1000 employees in a work unit; the plan must include at least 100 employees in unit
  • Working hours will be evenly reduced among employees in the Work-Share Program.
  • The reduction of hours will be a set percentage of at least 10% but not more than 50% of the normal hours per week of each employee, and will remain consistent every week.
  • Participating employees must be regularly employed by the employer.
  • Both full time and part time employees can participate.
  • Seasonal, temporary, or staff employed on an intermittent basis are excluded.
  • Only employees that have been employed by the employer for a period of at least three months on the effective date of the Work-Share Program can be participants.
    **DWD may cancel the plan if the employer deviates from the plan.

What is a Work-Share plan?

  • Before participating in a Work-Share Program, an employer must submit and have a plan approved by the Department of Workforce Development.
  • As part of the plan submittal, the employer must designate employees who are part of the “work unit” or “affected unit”: any unit of 20 or more employees that is designated by the employer. The "work unit" could be any designation by an employer that identifies a group and may include employees from more than one Wisconsin work site.
  • A plan can be in effect for a total of six months in any five-year period within the same work unit. An employer can have multiple plans for different work units.
  • The plan should include information on how employees will be notified of changes in their work schedules. If it is not possible to give notice, the plan submitted to the department must include an explanation of why it is not possible to give the employee's notice of the changes in their work schedules.
  • The program is intended to avoid layoffs. Employers will be asked to estimate the number of layoffs that would occur without implementation of the plan.

How will employees benefit from the program?

  • The employees of participating employers will receive an amount equal to the employee’s regular benefit amount multiplied by the employee’s proportionate reduction in hours worked for that week as a result of the Work-Share Program.
  • If the plan includes more than 32 hours of work, or more than $500 in wages, the employees may still be entitled to Work-Share benefits when they might otherwise be ineligible for unemployment benefits.
  • The employer must maintain coverage under any defined benefit or defined contribution retirement plan for employees who receive these benefits under the same terms and conditions as if the employees were not included in the program.
  • The employer must maintain any health insurance coverage in place under the same terms and conditions as if the employees were not included in the program.
  • The reduction in hours will be fairly and uniformly applied to all workers in the unit, and avoid layoffs for some of the workers.
  • Employees under an approved plan will not need to register for work or conduct a work search while in the plan. However, employees must be available for work with the employer participating in the Work-Share Program should the employer need extra hours beyond what is anticipated in the Work-Share Plan.

Can I use this program to train staff and improve staff skills?

  • A plan can include employer sponsored training to enhance job skills.
  • The employees in a work unit may participate in training funded under the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act without affecting availability for work, subject to the approval of the department.

How to apply?

  • Fill out the Work-Share Plan Application, form UCT-17434-E, and:
    • Send by mail to:

    DWD-Unemployment Insurance
    Employer Service Team
    P.O. Box 7942
    Madison, WI 53707

    • Or Fax to:

    (608) 267-1400

  • Note: Arrangements may be made to send the Participant List as a Word or Excel document by encrypted email. Call the Employer Service Team at (608) 261-6700 or send an email to for instructions.

More questions?

  • For additional questions, contact the DWD-Unemployment Insurance Employer Service Team at (608) 261-6700.