050913br0515ROCKFORD – State Senator Steve Stadelman has introduced a bill that would change how unemployment benefits are paid, reduce layoffs and save the state money.

If passed, Senate Bill 3530 would provide for "shared-work benefits" in Illinois. Under work-share legislation, businesses that find themselves struggling in a weak economy could temporarily reduce hours -- rather than lay off workers – and the workers could collect reduced unemployment benefits while staying on the job part time.

"Chrysler's layoff of 325 workers at the Belvidere Assembly Plant just last week suggests our economic recovery is still fragile," said Stadelman, D-Loves Park.

"Work-share legislation is a triple-win," he said. "Businesses get to keep already-trained employees on staff, and employees get to keep their jobs while collecting partial benefits until they return to work full time. The state wins, too, by saving money that would have been paid to laid-off workers drawing full benefits."

Similar programs, also known as "short-time compensation," have been successfully implemented in 17 other states including Iowa and Missouri.

Under Stadelman's proposal, Illinois would offer partial benefits when an employer cuts hours among at least 10 percent of its staff and shares the remaining work among affected employees.

"The value of work-share plans cannot be over-emphasized," Stadelman said. "Employees who otherwise face layoffs gain a sense of security and peace of mind, and businesses avoid the upheaval of letting skilled workers go and retraining new ones."