Emergency changes to shared work program benefit employers and employees

by Candice Bock, Jacob Ewing | Jul 02, 2020
In an emergency rule adopted on June 23, the Department of Retirement Systems (DRS) changed how furloughs or temporary layoffs will affect public employees’ retirement benefits.

In an emergency rule adopted on June 23, the Department of Retirement Systems (DRS) changed how furloughs and temporary layoffs will affect public employees’ retirement benefits.

The rule states, “If your employer participates in the shared work program during the period of time you were furloughed or temporarily laid off, you will receive the same retirement benefit as if your hours had not been reduced.”

This is a welcome change as it provides a level of protection for retirement benefits of public employees whose working hours were impacted by COVID-19. However, this rule does not apply to public employees whose employer does not participate in the shared work program.

The full DRS emergency rule can be viewed here.

Additionally, on June 19 the Governor issued emergency proclamation 20-58 that will allow reimbursable employers to be eligible for up to 100% reimbursement for unemployment costs related to the shared work program. The proclamation waives a statute that limits reimbursements to 50%, which limited the ability for reimbursable employers to take advantage of federal funds that cover up to 100% of the charges. Most public employers are reimbursable employers for Unemployment Insurance purposes. The emergency proclamation is set to expire on July 19, but could be extended further.

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