FAQ Friday – Why are Work Search Contacts Required?

Why are we are now required to include work search contact details on our weekly continued claim reports? 

We have always required job seekers to keep records of their work search contacts. What’s changed is now you can save yourself some time by using our work search log to gather the information and enter it electronically in your weekly continued claim report, allowing us to capture the information in a timelier manner.

Last time I claimed unemployment insurance, I didn’t have to look for work during a seasonal layoff because I planned to go back to work for the same employer. What happened?

You may have been required to look for work but didn’t realize it because our weekly continued claim report did not require information about your weekly contacts. Now that the weekly continued claim report requires this information, there is no confusion about work search requirements.

Job attached designations for seasonal workers are now limited to 12 weeks of reduction of hours or layoff. This is applied statewide – with no exceptions to the rule. Enforcing the policy statewide has eliminated the difficulty – and often inequity – of assessing seasonal conditions that vary significantly from one region of the state to another.

If claimants do not have a definite return-to-fulltime-work date within 12 weeks of their layoff or reduction in hours, they must look for work. We aren’t saying you can’t go back to your previous employer, but you will need to look for work during the time you are off.  It may be in an occupation that is busy during a time opposite your normal industry. For example, someone who works as a U.S. Forest Service lookout in the summer could go to work driving a school bus in the fall and winter months.

Do I have to look for work if I belong to a union?

It depends. Union members are not automatically exempt from seeking work. Your work search requirements could be waived if you are an active member of a union that regularly refers you to full-time work. You will be asked questions regarding union membership during the claim filing process to determine your proper work search responsibilities.

What if the online weekly report is asking for my work search contacts, but I am job-attached?

Never assume you are job attached. You are expected to seek work as you certify to when you file your unemployment claim. If you are unsure about your job-seeking requirements, contact us at 208-332-8942.

Where does it tell me that I have to look for work and keep record on my contacts?

We have tried to ensure the information is easy to understand and accessible throughout the claim filing process. Work search requirements are listed in a couple of places.

First, they are listed on the ‘What you need to know about filing for unemployment Insurance’ slideshow presentation applicants are required to read during the online filing process. Second, there is a certification page that must be completed acknowledging work search requirements. The information is also listed on the printable confirmation of filing page. Lastly, the information is on pages eight and nine of the Rights & Responsibilities Pamphlet mailed to claimants after they file their claim.

We have also included the information on web pages such as the Work Search Log, Frequently Asked Questions and on other blog posts.

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