MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Governor Scott Walker signed a bill in law Friday that gives employers more flexibility in cutting work hours when the economy goes south.
The bill allows companies to reduce hours for groups of workers, instead of laying off just a few of them.
The state will get federal funds to pay unemployment benefits for the hours the entire group loses.
The Republican Walker says Wisconsin is joining 24 other states in the so-called “work-share” program.
As Walker put it, “Instead of getting a pink slip during an economic downturn, workers now have an opportunity to stay on the job and receive unemployment benefits for the hours they lose.”
The Assembly passed the measure on a bi-partisan vote of 74-to-22, but no Democrats supported the bill in the Senate.
Democrats and the state’s Unemployment Insurance Advisory Council wanted a provision in the bill requiring employers to respect ongoing union agreements.
Republicans said the law already requires that.
Walker also signed a bill to let amphibious vehicles like the Wisconsin Dells Ducks travel five miles on land instead of two, before having to register as motor vehicles.
The governor said it would help the Duck vehicles keep operating as the Dells area gets bigger.