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

Note: This article was updated on Dec. 6, 2019 to reflect changes in work search requirements.

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

It depends. 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.

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. Please call us at (208) 332-8942 with questions.

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 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?

Complete the weekly certification. If you did not make work search contacts, you may enter an explanation on the weekly certification. 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 starts on page 10 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 an acceptable work-search activity or job contact?

To ensure you have met your work search requirements you should:

  • Submit an application, resume, cover letter or letter of interest to an employer
  • Interview for a position.
  • Meet with an Idaho Department of Labor staff member for work search assistance. This may include attending interview preparation class or participating in a mock interview.
  • Attend a job seeker event such as job fair, virtual job fair, hiring event, networking opportunity, job club or local office workshop.
  • Register with a staffing service, recruiter or placement agency.
  • Use employer-provided placement services.
  • Complete employer-required prerequisites for a job, such as background check or drug testing, for example.

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. This interview is an acceptable work search activity that may be used the week you attend the interview.

Make your contacts count:

Help is available, free of charge, at any of our Idaho Department of Labor offices. If you would like assistance in your job search, please make an appointment with a workforce consultant. Find all the locations for Labor local and mobile offices at labor.idaho.gov/officedirectory. 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.