FAQ Friday – What are My Unemployment Insurance Work Search Requirements?

Note: This article was updated on June 8, 2017

If you are receiving unemployment benefits, you should develop a realistic plan to become re-employed.

You are required to make a good faith effort to seek work each week you claim benefits, even if you are employed part time. We require at least two employment contacts per week.

Never assume that you are not required to look for work.

How do I report my work search?

When you file your weekly certification at labor.idaho.gov/claimantportal, you will be asked to enter your work search contacts. We will ask how you applied for the position and for the companies’ contact information. You can save yourself some time by using our work search log to gather the information so you have it ready when you file your weekly continued claim certification online.

Do I have to look for work if I have a seasonal job?

Most seasonal employees are not exempt from seeking work. Job attached designations are limited to 16 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-work date within 16 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.

Remember, if you apply for benefits and you are instructed to look for work, you are not coded in the system as job-attached. You will be expected to seek work unless otherwise instructed. If you are coded as job attached during the filing process, but it is later determined you are not job attached, you will receive a notice in the mail. Please call us at 208-332-8942 with questions.

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 certification did not require information about your weekly contacts. Now that the weekly continued claim certification requires this information, there is no confusion about work search requirements.

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 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 certification 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 certified to when you filed 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 a record of 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,  there is a certification page that must be completed acknowledging work search requirements when completing your online application for benefits.

Secondly, the information is on pages eight and nine of the Rights & Responsibilities pamphlet mailed to claimants after they apply for benefits.

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

What is a valid work-search contact?

  • Contacts must be for wage work.
  • A contact may be made online, in person, by mail, email or over the phone.
  • All contacts must be made with a person who has hiring authority, and applications must be submitted where accepted.
  • Self-employment or independent contract work contacts are not valid.
  • The same employer(s) may not be used for required contacts in consecutive weeks.
  • An online contact is only valid if it results in an online application being completed or a resume being submitted; simply searching websites such as careerbuilder.com or monster.com is not valid.
  • A friend or relative who works for the company you are applying for is not a valid contact.
  • If you are employed part time, you may not use your current employer as a job contact.
  • Contacting an employer you expect to return to at some point in the future is not valid.

You may find our valid contacts FAQ helpful. 

Is there anything else I have to do?

You also may be required to participate in an in-person interview with a workforce consultant at your local office. The interview is designed to help you return to work in the shortest time possible. The consultant may assist you with labor market information, resumes and innovative ideas for seeking work. Failure to participate will result in your benefits being stopped.

Make your contacts count:

Please call or visit your nearest local office for work search help. We offer many free services, including workshops on specific work search topics.

Unemployment references:

Unemployment can be complicated, but we have tools to help you. For more information on your unemployment insurance rights and responsibilities, visit labor.idaho.gov/uitips.