Work Share Toolkit

Updated on August 12, 2020

We have updated information for this question. If the employee uses vacation time for vacation, the answer is still no. If an employee requests to use vacation (i.e., for vacation purposes), if approved by the supervisor, that employee cannot also be put on furlough in the same work week. Individuals are generally not eligible for unemployment insurance unless they are ready, willing, and able to work—and the employer has no work to give them. The reasoning is that if an employee chooses to take vacation, they are unwilling to work.

The Oregon Employment Department (OED) recently adopted a temporary rule through December 26 that will allow people participating in Work Share to use sick leave—whether the illness is COVID-19-related or not. If an employee was all out of sick leave and was sick, they could use another form of accrued leave—including vacation time—to cover a sick leave and that would be okay (an employee just cannot use vacation time for vacation).

Please note there is a CARES Act caveat if the absence is COVID-19 related, there may be special leave that can be used. Please contact Sarah Henderson-Wong in OHR if it appears the absence is COVID-19-related.

Here are a couple of scenarios that could come up:

If an employee is sick on Monday and Tuesday and back to work the rest of the week, the supervisor may direct the employee to count Monday and Tuesday as furlough leave. Alternatively, the supervisor may direct the employee to count one day as furlough leave and the other as sick leave. Both of these would be fine.

If the employee was sick on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, the most that could be logged as furlough time would be 2 days. The third day would need to be sick leave (unless the employee was out of sick leave, in which time using vacation time would be fine).

Again, if the absences are COVID-19-related, we ask that supervisors and/or employees consult with Sarah Henderson-Wong in OHR to discuss the best way to address the specific scenario. A number of leave options exist due to Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). OHR can help you navigate what leave is suitable for your specific situation.

We have updated information for this question. If the employee uses vacation time for vacation, the answer is still no. If an employee requests to use vacation (i.e., for vacation purposes), if approved by the supervisor, that employee cannot also be put on furlough in the same work week.

Individuals are generally not eligible for unemployment insurance unless they are ready, willing, and able to work—and the employer has no work to give them. The reasoning is that if an employee chooses to take vacation, they are unwilling to work.

The Oregon Employment Department (OED) recently adopted a temporary rule through December 26 that will allow people participating in Work Share to use sick leave—whether the illness is COVID-19-related or not. If an employee was all out of sick leave and was sick, they could use vacation time to cover a sick leave and that would be okay (an employee just cannot use vacation time for vacation).

Please note there is a CARES Act caveat if the absence is COVID-19 related, there may be a special paid leave that can be used. Please contact Sarah Henderson-Wong in OHR if it appears the absence is COVID-19-related

No. Using accrued leave while collecting unemployment and/or any form of federal supplement (if one applies) is not permissible. The purpose of unemployment payments and federal supplements (if they apply) is to make up for lost wages. Additionally, such a practice would defeat the purpose of Oregon Tech’s participation in this program, which is to assist in cost-savings efforts to offset the budgetary shortfall we are currently experiencing.

An employee on continuous (full-time) protected leave does not need to participate in furloughs until they return from FMLA. To qualify for the Work Share program, the employee must be able to work. Being on protected leave means they are unable to work. Please note that every leave case is unique. Please contact Sarah Henderson in OHR to discuss the interaction of Work Share Furlough and FMLA/OFLA as the impact on individual circumstances may vary greatly.

It depends. The use of leave time is typically seen as being unable to work. However, if the employee is on intermittent leave and leave is not taken in one work week, the employee could participate in furloughs that week. If the employee uses leave within any given work week, the employee would not be eligible to furlough in that same week. Please note that every leave case is unique. Please contact Sarah Henderson in OHR to discuss the interaction of Work Share Furlough and FMLA/OFLA as the impact on individual circumstances may vary greatly.

The Oregon Work Share program provides Oregon employers with an alternative to layoffs. This program allows employers to leverage unemployment insurance (UI) to subsidize a portion of lost wages for employees whose work time is reduced due to market downturns or other business stressors, including furloughs. Put another way, employers save on labor costs (to help offset financial restraints) by furloughing employees for one to two days per week (equivalent to 20-40% loss of weekly time and income). Employees receive regular pay for the days they work and UI benefits for the days they do not and are able to maintain full benefits, such as healthcare, benefits, and leave accrual rates. Furloughs will be taken in full days (e.g., not two half days).

Until July 25, 2020, furloughed employees can receive a $600 per week subsidy under a new federal law called the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

The weekly benefit amount depends on the income of the employee and the number of hours that are reduced. If an employee’s hours are reduced by 20% (1 day per week), we anticipate they would receive a proportionate amount of unemployment insurance (20% of the weekly amount they are entitled to). Similarly, if an employee’s hours are reduced by 40% (2 days per week), we anticipate they would receive 40% of the weekly unemployment insurance benefits they are entitled to.

You can estimate how much your Oregon Unemployment Insurance benefit will be here.

Additionally, from now until July 25, 2020, furloughed employees will receive a $600 per week subsidy under a new federal law called the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

It doesn’t. To qualify for the Work Share program, employers—like Oregon Tech—must agree to continue providing retirement and health benefits under the same terms and conditions as when furloughed employees worked their usual schedules. Paid leave accruals—i.e., vacation and sick leave--will also continue to accrue under the same terms and conditions as when furloughed employees worked their usual schedules. Paid holidays will continue as scheduled. No furlough days can be scheduled on Oregon Tech’s observed Holidays (e.g., May 25 for Memorial Day and July 3 observing July 4, which falls on a Saturday).

Normally, there is a one-week unpaid waiting period. Governor Brown has agreed to waive the waiting week for those participating in the Work Share program, but that has not yet been implemented. Once this has been implemented, employees should expect to receive the waiting week paid to them retroactively. Note: The Oregon Employment Department (OED) has not yet released a time frame for paying out the waiting week).

No, while enrolled in the Work Share program the Office of Human Resources (OHR) will coordinate with the state on weekly claims based on reports provided by supervisors.

After initial claim and application forms are filed and approved, each week, OHR will submit one certification covering all employees participating in furloughs that week, and identifying hours worked and gross wages for participating employees, compared to their normal workweek.

The state provides three options that employees can choose from: a mailed paper check, a U.S. Bank Reliacard Visa, or elect for Direct Deposit by completing the Authorization for Electronic Deposit form. You can obtain more information on Benefit Payment Options here (PDF).

We don't know for sure. The furlough payments--unemployment and the CARES Act supplement--will be handled by the state, not by Oregon Tech. We will provide the information to the state on a weekly basis. Beyond that, we will not have control over or insight into the payment process.

Here is how the Oregon Employment Department answers this question: We anticipate that tens of thousands of applications will be submitted, likely all at once. Each claim requires review for each week of eligibility, and that processing takes time…the process can take as little as one week or up to a month, depending on the complexity of the claim. We will post more information on payment timeframes as it becomes available.

The CARES Act expands existing unemployment benefits in two material ways: (1) providing for an extra $600 weekly payment, in addition to the weekly benefit amount an eligible employee otherwise receives under state law; and (2) increases the maximum number of weeks an individual may receive benefits. These new benefits are funded at the federal level, but will be administered by the states. In Oregon, this is through the Oregon Work Share Program, managed by the Oregon Employment Department (OED).

Employees simply complete a two-page initial claim application, which will be provided to employees by the Office of Human Resources (OHR). Employees are not required to look for work or submit weekly claims while on the program.

When reporting time in Web Time Entry through Tech Web, employees will also be required to report “furlough” time on days when they are furloughed. To assure OHR can submit weekly certifications and reports, employees will need to make a special effort to report time at the end of each week.

Any employee put on furlough for one or two days in any week must submit their weekly hours worked to their supervisor at the end of the work week. This is reported through the standard time reporting process using Web Time Entry through Tech Web. There will be an option to report “furlough” time on days when employees are furloughed.

Supervisors will be responsible for submitting to OHR a weekly report of the furlough hours taken by their team. OHR is responsible for then submitting the weekly reports to the state. The state considers a work week to run from Sunday through Saturday. These reports must be timely, accurate, and complete.

Yes, every employee is still required to complete their monthly timesheets per Oregon Tech’s normal Time Keeping system. For all furlough hours, please report those as “Furlough” hours.

None. If an employee is on furlough, they should not be performing any work. Because the benefits are paid by the state and federal government, the furloughs need to be considered non-working days. Supervisors and co-workers should treat a furloughed employee as if they are on a distant vacation completely cut off from phone and internet access.

None. If someone in a supervisor role is on furlough, employees should be instructed to direct urgent questions to the supervisor’s supervisor or another designated leader. Non-urgent questions can wait until the supervisor’s return from furlough. Employees should treat a furloughed supervisor as if they are on a distant vacation completely cut off from phone and internet access.

No. Employees who are FLSA exempt and paid on a salary basis are treated as non-exempt during each week in which they are furloughed. In short, these employees should work no more than 32 hours (i.e., we presume an 8-hour workday) if furloughed for one day (or 24 hours if furloughed for two days) during that work week.

This means co-workers and supervisors should treat the employees as unavailable outside of the agreed upon working hours.

The Oregon Employment Department views paid holidays as regular worked time, since the institution is closed there is no work available on that day. They do not constitute paid holidays as disqualifying event, so furlough can be scheduled during holiday weeks. However, holidays may make scheduling furloughs a bit more challenging, since the work week will only be four days long. It may be that scheduling additional furlough days (i.e., two instead of one) the week prior and the week after the holiday will assist in maintaining an overall 20% furlough participation rate. But note, to be eligible for the weekly benefits offered through the Work Share program, employees must have furlough of at least 8 hours per week. If there are no furlough days in any given week, there will be no Work Share benefits for that week.

To qualify for the Work Share program, the furlough must be between 20% and 40% of what the employee normally works.

Let’s take Juliette, who works at a .75 FTE (or 32 hours per week). If placed on a 20% furlough, this would be a 6-hour furlough in a week (all used in one day). A 40% furlough would be a 12-hour furlough in a week (used between 2 days).

Let’s consider Juan, who works at a .5 FTE (20 hours per week). If placed on a 20% furlough, this would be a 4-hour furlough in a week (all used in one day). A 40% furlough would be an 8-hour furlough in a week (all used in one day).

To qualify to participate in the Work Share program, the employee must have worked full-time for six months, or part-time for 12 months just before the employer’s Work Share plan was submitted to the state. The Office of Human Resources (OHR) is pulling the list of such employees and will contact their respective supervisors to assure they are exempted from participating until such time that the employee becomes eligible.

At present, all classified and unclassified staff are expected to participate in the Work Share program. To qualify, the employee must have worked full-time for six months, or part-time for 12 months just before the employer’s Work Share plan was submitted. The Office of Human Resources is putting together a list of employees who are ineligible because they have not met this requirement. We will contact the supervisors of such employees.

Most faculty are on 9-month contracts and are not under contract during the summer, so they will not be participating in this program. Temporary and student employees are also ineligible.

Supervisors may determine that some positions are not eligible to participate in the program, due to the critical nature of the work performed by the employee. Such exemptions must be approved by division heads (see following FAQ).

There are some staff who may have their salaries paid for through grants who may be exempted from participation based on grant requirements—OHR is currently working with Sponsored Programs & Grants Administration to make these assessments. OHR will contact supervisors will information, once we have it.

Exceptions will be very rare. It is expected that classified and unclassified staff will take an average of one (1) furlough day per week (20%) and for employees who may have a lower volume of work at the moment, such employees should be placed on furlough two (2) days per work week (40%).

Exemptions may be necessary if the employee is paid on a federal grant and the terms of the grant would prohibit furloughs. There may be some positions where the employee performs critical functions for the university and a reduced work schedule is not feasible. This may vary from week to week (e.g., this could be influenced by colleagues being sick and unable to perform a portion of the work).

Exemptions will need to be approved by the functional Vice President/Provost over the division. Where any exemptions are approved, such units will be expected to increase the furlough rates for other employees resulting in a 20% furlough average for the unit (e.g., if one employee cannot be furloughed one week, they may have two furloughs the following week; if one employee cannot be furloughed one week, perhaps a co-worker is furloughed two days that week to reach the 20% average).

While participating in the Oregon Work Share program, supervisors will have three basic responsibilities:

  • Furlough scheduling: Supervisors will be responsible for determining who in their unit can take the expected 20% furlough per week (1 day, not two half days), who can take a 40% furlough (2 full days), and whether any positions need to be exempted due to the critical nature of the work they perform. Any positions that may be exempted must be approved by the division head. These exemptions should be extremely rare.
  • Furlough reporting: Supervisors will be required to submit weekly reports to the Office of Human Resources (OHR) at the end of each work week. OHR will provide the form required by the state to track furloughed days. OHR will consolidate the reports across the institution to make weekly reports to the Oregon Employment Department (OED). OHR will rely heavily on supervisors to assure the reports provided are timely, accurate, and complete.
  • Time reporting: As is always the case, supervisors are responsible for carefully reviewing employee timesheets prior to approving them. This doesn’t change while Oregon Tech is participating in the Oregon Work Share Program, it just adds another time code: furlough.

Supervisors should also be familiar with the Oregon Work Share program website and the materials shared by OHR, so they can answer basic questions employees may have. Any questions they cannot answer, they should contact OHR to assure both they and their employees have questions and concerns promptly answered.

Supervisors must submit their unit’s weekly hours worked to OHR at the end of each work week, so long as Oregon Tech is participating in the Work Share program. OHR will provide supervisors a form to track and submit their unit’s data to OHR on a weekly basis. Reports should be submitted to oithr@oit.edu. For purposes of the Work Share program, the state defines a work week as starting on Sunday and ending on Saturday.

This is taxable income. If you completed a tax withholding form, the taxes will come out at the time of payment. If you do not, you will owe taxes on these payments come tax time. If you did not complete a tax withholding form, you still can. Please see the State Resources & Forms section to the right. Complete the Work Share Authorization for Tax Withholding Form 1040WH. The Office of Human Resources can file this for you. Note—this form asks for your social security number. If you email OHR the form, leave that blank and we’ll complete it. Alternatively, you can bring us a paper copy that is fully complete.

In Oregon, reporting to jury duty does not constitute a disqualifying event for purposes of unemployment insurance (UI) eligibility. However, we would need to know how long you serve jury duty to determine whether you can still furlough. For example, if you were on jury duty for an entire work week, you would not have the opportunity to furlough (plus, jury duty is paid time). On the other hand, if you got called to report for jury duty and were released after a couple of hours and returned to work, that would not disrupt your furlough schedule.

Since it will depend on the specific circumstances you experience, we ask that you first inform your supervisor of when you must report for jury duty. Then, contact OHR. We’ll work with you to come up with a workable solution.