Work Sharing Program

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Employers can apply for the Unemployment Insurance (UI) Work Sharing program as a temporary alternative to layoffs if the business’s production or services have been reduced.

The Work Sharing program helps employers:

  • Minimize or eliminate the need for layoffs in nearly all types of businesses or industries.
  • Keep trained employees and quickly recover when business conditions improve.
  • Avoid the cost of recruiting, hiring, and training new employees.

With Work Sharing, employees whose hours and wages have been reduced can:

  • Receive UI benefits.
  • Keep their current job.
  • Avoid financial hardships.


To participate, an employer’s business must meet all of the following requirements:

  • Be a legally registered business in California.
  • Have an active California State Employer Account Number.
  • A minimum of two employees and at least 10 percent of your regular workforce, or a department of the workforce, must be affected by a reduction in hours and wages.
  • Hours and wages must be reduced by 10 to 60 percent.
  • Health and retirement benefits must stay the same as before, or they must meet the same standards as other employees who are not participating in Work Sharing.
  • The employees’ bargaining unit must agree to voluntarily participate and sign the application for Work Sharing.
  • Affected work units to be covered by the Work Sharing plan, and each participating employee, must be identified by their legal name and Social Security number.
  • Employees must know in advance that you plan to take part in the Work Sharing program.
  • Estimated amount of layoffs to be avoided by participating in the Work Sharing program.
  • All necessary reports and information are provided to the EDD.


  • Leased, intermittent, seasonal, or temporary service employees cannot participate.
  • Corporate officers or major stock holders with investment in the company cannot participate.
  • Work Sharing cannot be used as a transition to a layoff.

Apply for or Renew a Work Sharing Plan

Employers can apply for or renew a Work Sharing plan online.

All Work Sharing plans begin on Sunday. The earliest date to start a new Work Sharing plan is the Sunday before the first day you contact the EDD. All Work Sharing plans are approved for one year.

Note: A Work Sharing plan will renew the day after your previous plan ends. Your application will only renew if you submit it no more than 10 days after your previous plan ends. Otherwise, your plan will start the Sunday before the day we receive your application.

Employers can also apply by mail with the Work Sharing (WS) Unemployment Insurance Plan Application (DE 8686) (PDF).

Contact Work Sharing


If you need additional information on the Work Sharing Program, contact the EDD Special Claims Office at 1-916-464-3343.


If you are approved by your employer to participate in the Work Sharing Program and have questions about your claim, contact the EDD Special Claims office at 1-916-464-3300.

Additional Resources