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Oklahoma amends its UI law regarding the Shared Work Unemployment Compensation Program

Oklahoma has amended its Employment Security Act as follows:

Shared Work Unemployment Compensation Program. As used in this act:

“Normal weekly hours of work” means the lesser of 40 hours or the average obtained by dividing the total number of hours worked per week during the preceding 12-week period by the number 12.

“Participating employee” means an employee who works a reduced number of hours under a shared work plan.

“Participating employer” means an employer who has a shared work plan in effect.

“Shared Work Unemployment Compensation Program” means a program designed to reduce unemployment and stabilize the work force by allowing certain employees to collect unemployment benefits if the employees share the work remaining after a reduction in the total number of hours of work and a corresponding reduction in wages.

The Commission may adopt rules and establish procedures necessary to administer the program. An employer who wishes to participate in the Shared Work Unemployment Compensation Program must submit a written shared work plan to the Commission for approval. As a condition for approval, a participating employer must agree to furnish the Commission with reports relating to the operation of the shared work plan.

The Commission may approve a shared work plan if it regularly employs at least 100 employees. In addition, the plan may only reduce the normal weekly hours of work for an employee in the affected unit by not less than 20% and not more than 40% and must apply to at least 10% of the employees in the affected unit and at least 50 employees within the company.

An employer that is assigned an experience tax rate of 5.4% or greater for a calendar year will be ineligible to participate in the Shared Work Unemployment Compensation Program for that calendar year.

Benefits paid under a shared work plan will be based on benefit wages of the participating employee and charged to the participating employer.

The Commission may terminate a shared work plan for good cause if it determines that the shared work plan is not being executed according to the terms and intent of the Shared Work Unemployment Compensation Program.

No shared work benefit payment will be made under any shared work plan for any week that begins before January 1, 2011.