Mark Pocan

From the office of:

Mark Pocan

Sending Office: Honorable Mark Pocan
Sent By:

Deadline Today: Friday, 4/17

Signers (38): Bonamici, Carson, Cicilline, Clark, DeFazio, DeGette, Dingell, Espaillat, Fudge, García (IL), Haaland, Jackson Lee, Jayapal, Johnson (GA), Kennedy, Khanna, Kilmer, Lee (CA), Levin (MI), Lowenthal, McGovern, McNerney, Napolitano,
Neguse, Norcross, Norton, Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, Pressley, Raskin, Schakowsky, Smith (WA), Soto, Suozzi, Takano, Thompson (MS), Tlaib, Watson Coleman

Endorsing Organizations: Main Street Alliance, American Sustainable Business Council, 20/20 Vision, MomsRising, National Women’s Law Center, National Employment Law Project, Economic Policy Institute, Common Defense, Center for American
Progress, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance of the AFL-CIO

Dear Colleague:

Please join me in writing to Speaker Pelosi to advocate for important improvements to the short-time compensation program, or work share, in the next response package.

Work sharing is a proven model that has been successful at preventing layoffs and accelerating economic recovery domestically and abroad. Through work share, employers do not lay off workers but instead reduce hours across the board,
and workers receive a percentage of unemployment insurance benefits to make up for the lost wages. It puts more money in workers’ pockets, allows businesses to operate at a reasonable capacity while they recover, and reduces costs on the unemployment insurance
system. We should utilize this model to its fullest capacity as we seek to support workers, businesses, and communities.

The CARES Act provided for essential improvements to our existing work share system, including full federal financing of benefits in states with existing work share laws, the ability for states without work share laws to temporarily set up a program, increased
benefits for workers, and financial resources for states to administer and promote their programs. More work must be done in the next package to further expand work share to more businesses and workers. These changes are:

  • Removing the federal cap of 60% reduction on hours for participating businesses
  • Removing the 50% employer cost-share in states without work share laws to incentivize participation
  • Encouraging states to expand eligibility to all businesses, regardless of the number of employees

Thank you for your consideration and I hope you will join me in this effort. If you have any questions or would like to sign on to the letter, please have your staff contact Andrew O’Neill of my staff at



Mark Pocan

Member of Congress


April XX


The Honorable Nancy Pelosi                                                     


U.S. House of Representatives                                                  

H-232, The Capitol                                                                  

Washington, DC 20515                                                            



Dear Speaker Pelosi:

We appreciate your dedication and hard work to provide needed improvements to our unemployment insurance system in the CARES Act to respond to millions of workers being laid off. As unemployment claims skyrocket and businesses struggle to remain viable,
it is crucial that we build on that work by making further improvements to short-time compensation, also known as work share.

Work sharing arrangements allow employers to forgo layoffs by reducing workers’ hours, while the workers receive a portion of unemployment benefits to make up for lost wages. This prevents layoffs and puts more money in workers’ pockets, makes it possible
for businesses to ramp up operations at a manageable rate, and deceases the costs to the unemployment insurance system. In order to expand this existing model, we respectfully request the following policies be included in the next response package:

  1. Employers should be allowed to decrease workers’ hours to at least 20% of their normal working hours and still participate in work share programs.
    Removing the 40% federal minimum hours requirement would open the program to more businesses and more effectively respond to the realities of the current crisis that have closed many businesses entirely. This helps a business to reopen or stay open,
    while putting more money in workers’ pockets and reducing stress on UI accounts.
  2. Employers in every state should be allowed to benefit equally from the federal workshare benefits provided in this bill. Currently 27 states and the District of Columbia have work sharing laws, and would receive 100% federal financing for
    benefits under those programs through the CARES Act. However the CARES Act also included a provision that imposes 50% cost sharing for the unemployment insurance benefits on participating employers in states without work share laws. This would dramatically
    disincentivize employer participation – exactly the opposite of our goal. The federal government should temporarily cover 100% of the program costs in all states.
  3. States should not limit small businesses participation in the program by barring businesses below a certain employee threshold.
    While there is no federal minimum employee limit, some states have instituted those requirements. The federal government should encourage states to allow every business to participate, with no minimum employee limit.

By making these changes, we can expand the existing work share model to thousands more businesses, potentially preventing millions of layoffs while reducing the overall cost of unemployment insurance benefits. Increased work share participation will also
dramatically improve the speed and scale of our economic recovery.

Thank you for your consideration of these proposals. We appreciate your thoughtfulness as we craft our next legislative response.



Mark Pocan

Member of Congress


CC: The Honorable Richard E. Neal, Chairman, Committee on Ways and Means

Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information: Economy, Labor, Small Business

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