Section 8. (a) The net earnings or losses of an employee cooperative shall be apportioned and distributed at such times and in such manner as the articles of organization or by-laws shall specify. Net earnings declared as patronage allocations with respect to a period of time, and paid or credited to members, shall be apportioned among the members in accordance with the ratio which each member's patronage during the period involved bears to total patronage by all members during that period. As used in this chapter, ''patronage'' means the amount of work performed as a member of an employee cooperative, measured in accordance with the articles of organization and by-laws.
(b) The apportionment, distribution, and payment of net earnings required by subsection (a) may be in cash, credits, written notices of allocation, or capital stock issued by the employee cooperative.