Alternatives to Layoffs




Thinking of laying off employees? There are other options to consider and assistance that can be provided to employers to avoid having to layoff employees. 

Reach out to your Colorado "Rapid Response Representatives", who can give additional ideas and resources to remove or reduce the need for layoffs. They also provide services to assist you and your employees if layoffs are unavoidable.


Contact your local Colorado Workforce Center for more information. 

  Locate a Workforce Center


Rapid Response offers workforce services, guidance and information related to restructuring and/or downsizing a business. Services include, but are not limited to:

  • Job Placement Assistance,
  • On-site layoff transition workshops,
  • Information on the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Act (WARN)
  • Guidance for employers on establishing an on-site career or out placement center to assist employees with their future employment needs,
  • Services to help reduce employee attrition prior to the defined layoff date.







The Work-Share Program provides an alternative to laying off employees by allowing them to keep working, but with fewer hours. While an employee is working fewer hours, he or she may be eligible to collect part of his or her regular unemployment benefits.
  • You must have reduced the normal weekly work hours by at least 10 percent, but by no more than 40 percent.
  • The reduction must affect at least two out of all employees in the business, or a minimum of two employees in a certain unit.
  • You must have paid as much in premiums as we paid your former employees in unemployment insurance benefits. See the rate notice we mailed you in November.

For more details, download the Employer Fact Sheet by clicking below. We also provide a downloadable Fact Sheet for you to hand out to employees to see if they meet eligibility requirements.

  Employer Fact Sheet      Employee Fact Sheet


How do I apply for the Work-Share Program?

Fill out the Work-Share Application and mail it to the address listed on the form.
How long will it take to process my Work-Share application?

We will process your application within a week of receiving it.

How many employees may I have on the program?
It depends on your needs for your employees. All your employees can be in the Work-Share Program, or employees from a certain unit can be in the Program.
Must I reduce my employees' hours by a certain number per week?
You must reduce the employees' normal weekly work hours by at least 10 percent but by no more than 40 percent. At least two of all your employees or two of your employees in a certain unit must have their hours reduced.
For how many weeks can my employees get paid?

We can pay your employee up to 26 weeks of Work-Share benefits.
Are there certain requirements I have to meet as an employer to sign up?
Yes. You must reduce the hours of at least two out of all employees, or two employees in a certain unit. You would have laid off at least that many employees. In addition, you must have a plan for getting all your employees back to the hours they worked before they were in the program. You must send us that plan on your Request For Approval of Work-Share Plan application. You are applying to be in the Program instead of laying off your employees. You will not hire or have other employees work in that group. Your employees' collective-bargaining agent (union), if any, must agree to the plan. You cannot get rid of or reduce employee's benefits that you currently provide. These include health insurance, retirement/pension benefits, vacation pay and holidays, sick leave, and any other similar benefits you normally provide. You have to have a positive percent of excess in order to sign up for the Work-Share Program. That means that you must have paid as much in premiums as we paid your former employees in benefits. Your percent of excess is on the rate notice that we mailed you last November.
What are the advantages to this plan?

You are able to continue production and your quality levels. Keeping your experienced staff: Helps you come back to full production when economic conditions are better. Lessens your costs of hiring and training new employees. You are able to protect your affirmative-action gains. Your employee morale stays high. Your employees keep their skills and chances to move up in your business. Less money is spent on public assistance and unemployment benefits because your employees are still working.
What are the disadvantages to this plan?

Your employees may lose their chance to find full-time jobs with another company. It might be harder to schedule your employee's work hours. Your senior employees have fewer hours and less income.





The US Department of Labor  (USDOL) provides some suggestions for businesses and employers on ways to minimize job loss and its effects on you and your employees. Below is a list of some of their suggestions, which can be found in more detail on the USDOL website.

For more suggestion from USDOL, visit their website:

   Visit USDOL For Layoff Solutions


Department of Commerce:
Economic Development Administration
Unemployment Insurance (UI)
  • Review the USDOL Fact Sheet for additional information on "Short-Time Compensation (STC)" also called "Work-Share" (detailed above), which gives the option for employees to work shorter hours instead of being laid off. Also the Colorado Department - UI website may list additional information and suggestions for employers.
        Colorado UI Website                          USDOL Fact Sheet


Manufacturing Extension Partnerships

A nationwide network of non-profit centers, who provide small and medium-sized manufacturers with help.

    Visit Manufacturing Extension Partnerships Website

U.S. Department of Agriculture

Assistance and information for the rural areas.

    Visit the USDA Website



There are many articles and information online with great suggestions on how to reduce expenses and find ways of coping with the economic downturn. Here are only a few to consider trying.

  • Furloughs - a mandatory, temporary, and unpaid leave of absence.
    Tips for implementing furlough days: 
    • Consider the number of furlough days to be based on a pay scale or salary range.
      Create salary range groupings and determine the number of furlough days that would
      be required for each salary range group. Start with the group of employees that receive 
      the highest salary range and then reduce the number of employee furlough days as you
      go down each salary range group.
      • For example, those in the highest pay range would receive the most furlough days,
        the group of employees in the next pay scale range down would receive a lesser
        amount of mandatory furlough days compared to the highest paid employees, 
        then the next group of employees to fall into the third group in the pay scale range
        down would receive an even lesser amount of furlough days, and so forth. This will
        allow those employees that receive the least amount of pay and are the most vulnerable
        to the decrease in pay, to not be as financially impacted as the staff that receive a higher salary.
  • Structure furlough days to be placed around holidays and times of the year when employees would
    normally want time off.
  • Give options and flexibility to what days staff can select as for their furlough days 
  • Allow staff to request for specific (furlough) days off, within a given time frame
  • Work-Share - employees work fewer hours Offer Early Retirement "Hiring Freeze"
  • Discontinue use of contractors, outsourcing work, and employment of temporary workers
  • Downsize workspace 
    • Reduce space and the cost of leasing a work space by letting employees remotely "Work From Home" 
    • Sublet extra space
  • Ask your employees for ideas 
    • Ask for volunteers - some employees, when they know the situation, may be willing to go from a full-time
      schedule down to a part-time schedule or be willing to take a "sabbatical" (unpaid time-off)
  • Cut out extras & unnecessary perks 
  • Eliminate or reduce marketing & advertising
  • Eliminate Overtime - do not ask or require employees to work extra hours for extra pay
  • Look for government grants, programs, or assistance - if the business was impacted by a
    National Disaster then there may be special funding and services you are eligible for
  • Sell Assets
  • Contact your local Workforce Center for more ideas and suggestions!



(NOTE: Some of the suggestions listed above were found through the following sources:
The Medium, The HartfordThe Harvard Business Review and The Wall Street Journal.)