Wednesday, August 24, 2011

On the Merits of Work Sharing

Letter to my representatives, with a link to the paper mentioned in the letter. The conservative arguments in favor are important to point out, as my delegation leans right.


As I research the concept, I grow more convinced that there is great merit to the concept of job sharing as a way to stem the flow of job losses and unemployment. Moreover, I think this is a concept that can unite “right” and “left” in our politics.

Economist Dean Baker has been especially active this year in promoting a plan to use unemployment insurance funds to help employers keep more people working for fewer hours, rather than simply laying off workers in large numbers. This is better for employers, who can retain valuable employees instead of hiring new employees when demand increases. It is better for workers, who would generally prefer reduced hours to unemployment; especially true when, as we have seen, employers are more hesitant to hire workers who have been unemployed for a while.

There is much here to please conservatives:

• This is arguably a better use of unemployment insurance, as it reduced the number of people collecting funds while out of work.

• Keeping more of the workforce employed also contributes to economic growth.

• This can be implemented without any additional government bureaucracy.

I am enclosing a policy paper by Dean Baker outlining the concept, how it has worked elsewhere, issues of implementation, and its potential benefits for economic growth and employment.

I would be most interested in your thoughts on this concept. There is great potential for bipartisan action here that would help New Mexico, and through example encourage similar action across the United States.

1 comment:

quid said...

I had a job sharing program (pilot) in my division when I worked in upstate New York. It was perfect for working moms and those around social security age who wanted some work, but wanted to get away from the hectic pace of a full time job.

Excellent idea to champion. I'll save the link...may use it as a strategy at work. You gotta start somewhere.