As the state continues to grow and make strong improvements to the economy, it is imperative that Ohioans keep on working. That has always been the goal of this legislature. For this reason, the Ohio House passed House Bill 37, legislation known as the "SharedWork" program, a bill which I supported.

"SharedWork Ohio," a bipartisan effort that became effective in July, provides an alternative for employers when facing the challenging obstacle of laying off workers. In this plan, rather than terminating entire jobs, businesses would have the option of instead limiting hours for employees while they collect unemployment compensation. For example, employees could have their hours reduced from 40 hours to 20, and they would use worker's compensation to make up the difference.

In times of hardship for families, this could be a way to make ends meet for the time being. It also benefits businesses because it allows them to retain the skilled and trained workers they already have to complete the work needed to be done. In addition, it can lessen the burden on Ohio's unemployment compensation system.

It's imperative that this new initiative work to benefit those who truly need the help. There are safeguards in place to make certain that the new program does not become abused. Those employers who utilize "SharedWork" must first submit a plan to the director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and the cost can't be higher than the cost of a standard layoff.

As the 26th state to adopt SharedWork, Ohio is now securing better job options for employers and their employees. Ohioans simply want to work and provide for their families. With that in mind, this creative and commonsense legislation was passed to keep individuals in the job pool. I think we can all agree that SharedWork is a great idea for Ohio, and I'm looking forward to seeing how it makes a difference for our workers and their families.

Rep. Landis may be reached by calling 614-466-8035, writing to 77 S. High St., Columbus, OH 43215; or e-mailing Rep98@ohiohouse.gov.