Governor Laura Kelly yesterday signed Executive Order #20-32 as part of her administrations comprehensive, ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The order provides temporary relief from certain restrictions concerning shared work programs.

Shared Work is an alternative for employers faced with a reduction in workforce and allows an employer to divide the available work or hours of work among a specified group of affected employees in lieu of a layoff. Shared Work allows the employees to receive a portion of their unemployment insurance benefits while working reduced hours for their employers.

Executive Order #20-32 expands flexibility for Kansas employers, so they can take advantage of the existing federal programs.

“We want Kansas employers to be able to keep as many people on payroll as they can, and decrease the need for unemployment.,” Kelly said. “This is all about providing further support to people facing financial hardship and employers dealing with tough decisions right now.”

The order waives a provision in the law that prohibited a contributing negative account employer (an employer that has paid more in unemployment benefits to its employees than it has contributed to its unemployment insurance account with the state) to participate in a shared work plan.

Under the federal “CARES” Act, the federal government will reimburse 100% of any state unemployment insurance benefits paid through a “short-time” or “shared work” unemployment program, through the end of 2020.

Executive Order #20-32 can be found here.