7/30/2015 — 

Mr. REED. Mr. President, today I am introducing the Layoff Prevention

Extension Act. This bill would extend the financing and grant

provisions for the successful work sharing legislation I authored and

worked to include in the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act

of 2012.

The concept of work sharing is simple. It helps people who are

currently employed, but in danger of being laid off, to keep their

jobs. By giving struggling companies the flexibility to reduce hours

instead of their workforce, work sharing programs prevent layoffs and

help employers save money on rehiring costs. Employees who participate

in work sharing keep their jobs and receive a portion of unemployment

insurance benefits to make up for lost wages.

Since becoming law, work sharing has helped save over 110,000 jobs,

including 1,200 jobs in my State of Rhode Island, according to

estimates from the Department of Labor. And it has saved States $225

million by reimbursing them for work sharing benefits they paid out to

workers--benefits that helped keep people on the job.

Before my bill became law in 2012, only a handful of States had work

sharing programs. Now, these programs enjoy broad bipartisan support

and have been established in 29 States and the District of Columbia.

However, the $100 million in implementation grants expired at the end

of 2014, and the 100 percent Federal financing of these work sharing

benefits will expire next month.

The legislation I am introducing today would extend these deadlines

by 2 years so that states with existing work sharing programs, and

those that are looking to enact a program, can qualify for Federal

support.

I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting passage of this bill to

keep American workers on the job, save taxpayers money, and provide

employers with a practical, positive, and cost-effective alternative to

layoffs.