Employers seeking to avoid layoffs may want to consider the Washington State Employment Security Department’s new Shared Work Program. Here’s how it works: Employers can temporarily reduce the work hours of their full-time employees by up to 50 percent, while the workers collect partial unemployment benefits to replace a portion of their lost wages. This allows employees to maintain their income and benefits while employers retain skilled workers. More than 2,000 businesses and nearly 42,000 employees are currently participating in the program. To learn more, visit the ESD Web site or call 800.752.2500.