HOUSE BILL 325
51st legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - first session, 2013
RELATING TO UNEMPLOYMENT; CREATING A WORK SHARE PROGRAM TO ALLOW EMPLOYERS TO REDUCE WORK HOURS OF CERTAIN EMPLOYEES IN LIEU OF LAYOFFS; ALLOWING CERTAIN EMPLOYEES TO COLLECT UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BENEFITS IN PROPORTION TO A REDUCTION IN WORK HOURS.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:
SECTION 1. A new section of the Unemployment Compensation Law is enacted to read:
"[NEW MATERIAL] WORK SHARE PROGRAM CREATION--WORK SHARE PLAN--APPROVAL--MODIFICATION--EFFECTIVE DATE AND TERMINATION--BENEFIT ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS--COMPUTATION OF BENEFITS--BENEFIT LIMITATION--BENEFIT PAYMENTS CHARGED TO EMPLOYER--DEFINITIONS.--
A. The secretary shall create a "work share program". The work share program shall be designed to allow employers to reduce the normal weekly work hours of employees in an affected unit, in lieu of laying off employees, and to allow the employees in an affected unit to collect unemployment compensation benefits in proportion to the number of hours reduced from the employee's normal weekly work hours. The department shall promulgate rules to carry out the provisions of the work share program.
B. To participate in the work share program, an employer shall submit a work share plan to the department in the form and manner prescribed by the department that shall include:
(1) the identification of a specific affected unit;
(2) the identification of the employees in the affected unit by name and social security number;
(3) certification that the work share plan will reduce the normal weekly work hours of the employees in an affected unit by at least ten percent and not more than fifty percent;
(4) certification that the work share plan will affect at least ten percent of the employees in the affected unit; and either
(5) a strategy that restores the number of weekly work hours to the normal weekly work hours of each employee in the affected unit; or
(6) if a work share plan serves as a transitional step to permanent staff reduction, a reemployment assistance plan for employees in the affected unit.
C. The secretary shall approve or deny the work share plan in writing to the employer no later than thirty days after the date the department receives the work share plan. If the secretary denies the work share plan, the secretary shall inform the employer in writing of the reasons for denial. The secretary shall not approve a work share plan unless the employer:
(1) agrees that for the duration of the work share plan, the employer shall not eliminate or diminish health insurance, retirement benefits received under a pension plan, paid vacation and holidays, sick leave or any other similar employee benefit provided by the employer immediately prior to submitting the work share plan to the department;
(2) certifies that the collective bargaining agent for the employees in the affected unit, if applicable, has agreed to the work share plan;
(3) certifies that the implementation of the work share plan and resulting reduction in normal weekly work hours is in lieu of layoffs that would have affected at least ten percent of the employees in the affected unit and resulted in an equivalent reduction in work hours;
(4) certifies that the employer will not employ additional employees in the affected unit while the work share plan is in effect except:
(a) to replace an employee that leaves the employ of the employer; or
(b) after the employer restores the number of weekly work hours to the normal weekly work hours of each employee in the affected unit;
(5) agrees that no employee in the affected unit shall receive, in the aggregate, more than twenty-six weeks of benefits under the work share plan; and
(6) upon request of the secretary, agrees to submit reports concerning the operation of the work share plan to the department.
D. An employer may modify a work share plan to meet changed conditions, with the exception of extending the termination date of the work share plan, if the modification conforms to the basic provisions of the work share plan originally approved by the secretary and if the:
(1) collective bargaining agent, if applicable, agrees to the modification;
(2) employer submits the modification to the department in the form and manner prescribed by the department; and
(3) secretary approves in writing of the modification using the same standards and requirements pursuant to Subsections A and B of this section.
E. A work share plan shall be in effect for six months beginning the first week following approval of the work share plan or the first week specified by the employer, whichever is later. The secretary may terminate a work share plan at any time for good cause if the work share plan is not executed pursuant to the terms of the approval. Good cause may include unreasonable revision of productivity standards for the affected unit or other conduct by the employer that may compromise the purpose, intent and effectiveness of the work share plan.
F. Notwithstanding the benefit eligibility conditions pursuant to Subsection A of Section 51-1-5 NMSA 1978, an employee may be eligible for unemployment compensation benefits for a particular week if the:
(1) employee is employed as a member of an affected unit that is subject to an approved work share plan that is in effect for that week;
(2) employee's normal weekly work hours have been reduced by at least ten percent but not more than fifty percent and the employee has received a corresponding reduction in wages for that week; and
(3) employee is able and available to work additional or full-time hours with the employer.
G. Weekly benefits for employees of an affected unit subject to an approved work share plan shall be the product of the employee's regular weekly benefit amount pursuant to Section 51-1-4 NMSA 1978 multiplied by the nearest full percentage of the reduction of the employee's normal weekly work hours, rounded down to the next full dollar.
H. An individual is not entitled to unemployment compensation benefits that exceed the maximum allowable of total benefits payable to an individual in a benefit year pursuant to the Unemployment Compensation Law.
I. Unemployment compensation benefits paid to an employee of an affected unit pursuant to this section shall be charged to the account of the employer in the same manner as benefits are charged to an employer pursuant to the Unemployment Compensation Law.
J. As used in this section:
(1) "affected unit" means a specified plant, department, shift or other definable unit of employees to which a work share plan applies; and
(2) "normal weekly work hours" means the number of hours in a week that an employee ordinarily works for an employer submitting a work share plan or forty hours, whichever is less."
SECTION 2. EFFECTIVE DATE.--The effective date of the provisions of this act is July 1, 2013.