AUGUSTA — Maine’s Department of Labor is launching a new program this month aimed at keeping workers on the job while their employers experience temporary slowdowns in business.

A program called WorkShare allows workers to stay on the job with reduced hours and still collect limited unemployment benefits to partially offset their loss in wages.

Labor Commissioner Robert Winglass says WorkShare helps businesses and employees.

The initiative allows companies to keep their workforce during tough times, while workers can retain their benefits and job seniority while collecting benefits so they can stay on the job and not have go elsewhere for work.