Employers in holding pattern

Work Sharing program still popular, extension ‘appealing’
By Sarah Dobson
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 03/07/2010

Early last year, conveyor manufacturer Univeyor B.C. saw its sales fall substantially. So in February 2009, about one-half of the 20 workers at the Burnaby, B.C.-based company agreed to participate in the federal government’s Work Sharing program.

The program allows employers to avoid temporary layoffs — and avoid expensive rehiring and retraining costs — by implementing a workweek reduction of 20 to 60 per cent (one to three days) while eligible employees receive employment insurance income support.

“I was so worried about it, with my employees, but when I went in there and explained what was going on, they all thanked me for keeping their jobs,” said Joanne Dancer, owner of Univeyor. “There was such a sudden drop in the economy — no one really knew how to plan for that. And we had a contract coming up… so we didn’t really want to lose our people.”