Meet the Shared Work Program

Employers of all sizes have an alternative to layoffs: the Shared Work Program from the Kansas Department of Labor

four hand drawn people with various ethnicities pictured in white shirts with gears over their heads

The Shared Work Program is designed to help both employers and employees

Shared Work can help employers:

  • Avoid layoffs
  • Keep valued employees
  • Recover fast when business improves
  • Adjust as business changes

Shared Work can help employees:

  • Keep their current job
  • Avoid a financial crisis
  • Keep benefits such as health insurance

Under the program, employers reduce the total number of hours that employees work. Employees can then claim partial unemployment benefits for the number of hours their workweek was reduced.

hand drawn man stands in front of building, blue background

Business eligibility requirements

To participate in the Shared Work Program, an employer must:

  • Have reduced the normal weekly work hours and corresponding wages by at least 10% but no more than 50%.
  • Have a reduction that affects a business unit of two or more employees.
  • Apply the plan for reduced hours to at least 10% of the employees in the affected unit.
  • Have established an experience rating.
  • Not have a negative balance in their unemployment tax account or be delinquent on unemployment tax reports or payments.
five hand drawn people of different ethnic backgrounds in separate blue circles

Employees have to meet a few conditions, as well, to qualify for Shared Work benefits. They must:

  • Be able to work and available for full-time work with the participating employer
  • Be eligible for regular unemployment benefits in the state of Kansas
  • Accept all work offered by the participating employer for the claim period filed
  • Not work more than the reduced hours specified in the plan
  • Have valid authorization to work in the United States, if not a U.S. citizen
  • Report to their employer any hours worked with other employment
  • Work at least 8 hours in a week
The Shared Work Program does not cover seasonal employees. An employee will be considered seasonal if they typically work for a period of six months or less and the period of employment begins in approximately the same part of the year (e.g., summer, winter or holiday season)—regardless of how many hours the employee is expected to work each week.

How to apply


Create a list of affected employees in each unit that includes their full name and Social Security number.


Send the completed application and employee list to or fax it to (785) 296-1858.

Employers may also print and mail the form and employee list to the address above. After the application is received, a decision will be made within thirty (30) days.

Putting Shared Work into action

While on Shared Work, the employer will be responsible for submitting a weekly certification form to the Kansas Department of Labor, certifying the number of hours worked by each employee during the week. 

Employees should NOT file a claim for regular unemployment. Doing so will cause a delay in payment.

The employer manages the Shared Work Program. This means that in addition to meeting the conditions for shared work each week and submitting the weekly certification, they must also keep employees informed about the program and help answer questions.

Once approved, an employer's Shared Work Plan is valid for one year from the date the application was received.

Employees who are participating in the Shared Work Plan may receive benefits for up to 52 weeks.

For more details check out our Shared Work Program Toolkit!

blue hand drawn building with yellow trees

How it works: an example

A firm facing a 20% reduction in production may consider laying off one-fifth of its workforce. Instead, when faced with this situation, the company can retain its total workforce on a four-day-a-week basis. This reduction from 40 hours to 32 hours cuts production—and payroll—by the required 20 percent without reducing the number of employees.

Work week calendar, Monday through Thursday in yellow, Friday in blue; showing 4 days of work and 20% UI benefits

All affected employees receive their wages based on four days of work. In addition, those employees can receive a portion of unemployment compensation benefits equal to 20% of the unemployment compensation weekly benefit amount payable had the employee been unemployed a full week.

three hand drawn people with diverse ethnicity; 20% decrease in hours worked shows 32 hours in a standard work week

Based on a 40-hour week, the employer reduces the work schedule by 20%. The employer submits a plan for this reduction to Kansas Department of Labor (KDOL) and is approved under the Shared Work Program.

hands holding check from KDOL, blue background,

In this example, the employee qualifies for regular unemployment compensation with a Weekly Benefit Amount (WBA) of $488 (actual WBA will vary based on the employee).

20% of 40-hour work week = 8 hours
Employee works and earns wages for 32 hours
20% x $488 WBA = $97

This employee would receive $97 in unemployment benefits in addition to the 32 hours of wages earned during the week.

Each week, the employer submits a weekly certification form, certifying the number of hours worked by each employee during the week.

Shared Work toolkit cover

For more detailed information about the program, download the Shared Work toolkit. This packet contains helpful information, including FAQ’s, next steps and a checklist to keep employers and employees on track.


Kansas Department of Labor
Shared Work Program

401 SW Topeka Blvd
Topeka, KS 66603-3182