Briggs and Stratton Boosts Morale Through Shared Work
POPLAR BLUFF—Small engine maker Briggs and Stratton’s Poplar Bluff manufacturing facility is a long-time participant in Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations’ Shared Work program, and company representatives say the biggest benefit is the atmosphere it helps create.
“It keeps the morale of our team members up because it’s disheartening when you don’t get a full week’s worth of pay because a machine breaks down or a part doesn’t come in or something else completely out of your control,” Briggs and Stratton Human Resources Assistant Pam Sullivan said. “With this program, they aren’t getting their full pay, but they are getting something, and something can go a long way when the alternative is nothing.”
Shared Work is an alternative to layoffs for employers faced with a reduction in available work. It allows an employer to divide available work among employees instead of layoffs, and employees receive a portion of their unemployment benefits while working reduced hours for up to 52 weeks.
The program provides benefits to employees and employers alike. In addition to the security of a paycheck during slow times, Shared Work helps retain employees the company has invested in with time and money.
In the case of Briggs and Stratton, these benefits reach a large percentage of its 500-person Missouri workforce.
“At one time or another, nearly every person employed here has been on the program,” Sullivan said.
The company uses Shared Work when component parts fail to arrive in time and when plant machinery needs repairs, as those repairs can often take a few days. Prior to the inception of the Shared Work Program, that meant employees whose jobs depended on that machinery or those parts were losing that many days worth of pay. In some cases, it meant a shutdown of the entire assembly line.
With Shared Work in place, those same employees are receiving up to $64 per 8-hour work day missed.
According to Sullivan, the program also helps attract new talent to Briggs and Stratton’s full-time workforce as it demonstrates that the company finds ways to ensure their employees are compensated.
Learn more about the Shared Work program at labor.mo.gov/sharedwork.