Concordia Area Chamber of Commerce hears about shared work program
During the annual meeting of the Concordia Area Chamber of Commerce, held Thursday, July 26, at the Concordia Community Center, attendees heard a special presentation from a representative of the Missouri Department of Labor.
Delores Rose, Shared Work Outreach representative, spoke about how businesses facing reductions in production, or those that might find themselves facing changes in seasonal labor needs, don’t have to lay off employees. Other options are available through the Shared Work Program, she said.
“Some employees find they require higher numbers of employees during the summer than in the winter, for example,” Rose said. “This program allows a company to retain its employees, while employees receive unemployment pay for specific days they are not working. It really is beneficial for both the employer and the employee.”
For example, Rose said, if an employer finds the needs to cut 20 percent of the work force for a given reason, a lot of companies would lay off as many workers as needed to meet that level. With Shared Work, she said, the company can cut the hours of all employees, spreading the reduction in hours out. The company meets the 20 percent reduction need while keeping all employees on the payroll and allowing them to keep their benefits. When business picks up again, the company can schedule more hours for the employees.
“During the time their hours are cut, employees receive compensation for the reduced hours from the Shared Work program,” she said.
Any employer — large or small, public or private — that pays into the unemployment tax fund is eligible for the program, Rose said.
“There is a requirement that all of the employer’s taxes have been paid and all unemployment reports have been filed,” she added. “In addition, a minimum of three workers need to be willing to sign up for the program, and the reason for any possible layoff must affect at least 10 percent of the workforce.”
She said many employees are receptive to the plan because it gives them the opportunity to retain their jobs while allowing them to enjoy more time with their families.
“And employers like the program because they can keep their current employees through down times,” she said. “These days, with such low unemployment, it is just too hard to hire new employees. Once they are hired, you have to start all over with training them. It’s nice to already have your workforce in place once things take an upturn.”
Cindy Stuenkel was announced as the latest recipient of the chamber’s 2018 Steve Burrow Service Award. The award is given annually in honor of the commitment of the late Steve K. Burrows and his commitment to connecting business and community. Burrows was a local businessman and a former chamber board member. He prepared meals for chamber meetings and was a key volunteer at the annual Kids Shopping Day. Stuenkel not only serves on the chamber board as treasurer, but also leads many of the chamber’s activities throughout the year.
Following the presentation, attendees were given a look at the new chamber website by chamber intern Makynze Driver. Driver designed the new website with the help of member Brooke Wilkens. The site went live the day of the meeting and can be found at www.concordiamochamber.com.
The chamber also accepted by acclamation the nominations of Cindy Stuenkel and Sherry Graham to remain on the board. In addition, a panel was seated to explore and recommend any changes that might need to be made to the chamber’s Mission Statement.
The board also announced:
—Piccadilly will be held on March 29, 2018. The them will be “Jump-n-Jive: a 50s Sock Hop.”
—Downtown Trick or Treat will be held on Oct. 31, 2018.