Tag Archives: FAQ Friday

How do I Stay Eligible for Unemployment Insurance Benefits?

Note: This blog post was updated Nov. 23, 2016, with new information throughout the article.

To stay eligible for unemployment insurance benefits once you have applied for benefits, you must complete a weekly certification at labor.idaho.gov/claimantportal. Click here for instructions. You must also be working less than full time, be available and physically and mentally able to work and actively seeking full-time employment. You also must be willing and able to work all the days and hours normal for the type of work you seek. Finally, you need to remain in the area unless you are seeking work outside of where you live.

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FAQ Friday – What Are the Best Sources of Occupational Information?

occupational outlookFor 66 years, Americans have relied on the Occupational Outlook Handbook when making decisions about their future careers. Since 1948, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has published a new version of the handbook every two years.  Since the mid-1990s, the book has been published online. 

In December, the bureau unveiled the 2014-15 publication. For the next two years, when you read articles or hear presentations about occupations in the U.S., the information will likely be based on the handbook. It is the ultimate source of information about tasks, conditions of work, wages, outlook, skills and training for hundreds of occupations. 

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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?

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FAQ Friday – How Much Should a Part-Time Worker Be Paid?

Q. How much should a part-time worker earn compared with a full-time worker?

A. We often hear questions from employers and job seekers about wages. Some employers assume part-time workers should receive lower hourly wages than full-time workers. Others think the wage should be higher because part-time workers don’t receive the same benefits as full-time workers.

Who’s right? It depends. Ultimately, the labor market is like any other market. If a business is not finding a high quality product (skilled workers) at a price (wage) it currently offers, then it needs to up the ante. Employers should also consider the difference in benefits, when making the decision what salary to offer. Local labor market wages can be found on the Idaho Department of Labor’s labor market information website.

If the part-time workers need less experience or skills than full-time workers, perhaps they will accept a lower compensation package—including wages and benefits.
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FAQ Friday: I collected unemployment last year. Do I need to report it on my taxes?

 Q. Are unemployment insurance benefits taxable?

A. Yes. Unemployment insurance benefits are fully taxable and you are required to file a tax return for payments received or repaid.

 Q. What do I need from the Department of Labor to file my taxes?

A. If you collect unemployment insurance benefits, you’ll receive a summary of the benefits you received from the Idaho Department of Labor by the end of January. This form, otherwise known as an IRS form 1099-G, will be sent to your last known address. It’s your responsibility to make sure the Idaho Department of Labor has the most recent and correct address. If your address has changed, go to labor.idaho.gov/iw and update it online, even if you are no longer filing. IMPORTANT: YOUR 1099-G WILL INCLUDE YOUR ENTIRE SOCIAL SECUIRTY NUMBER, AS REQUIRED BY THE INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE. FAILURE TO UPDATE YOUR MAILING ADDRESS COULD RESULT IN YOUR 1099-G GOING TO THE WRONG ADDRESS AND PUT YOUR IDENTITY AT RISK.

Q. Can I access my 1099-G information online?

A. Yes. You can download your payment information from www.labor.idaho.gov/iw. All you have to do is select the ‘YearEnd 1099G’ option and print the information.

Q. What if I disagree with the amount listed on my 1099-G?

A. You can also verify the payments you received online at www.labor.idaho.gov/iw. Select the ‘Payment Summary’ option. If you still have questions, call us at (208) 332-8942.

Q. What if I re-paid an overpayment?

A. A 1099-G will be mailed to you and will include any repayments received during the taxable year, excluding penalties and interest.

 Q. What if I did not receive a W-2 from my employer? Can you give me that information? 

A. We are not allowed to provide employer tax identification numbers. Please contact the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 for help obtaining your W-2.

Q. What if I have already filed my taxes by the time I received by 1099-G form?

A. We are not authorized to instruct you on how unemployment insurance affects your taxes. Please contact the Idaho State Tax Commission at (208) 334-7660, (800) 972-7660 or the Internal Revenue Service at (800) 829-1040

 Q. What if I have other questions about my taxes?

A. We are not authorized to instruct you on how unemployment insurance affects your taxes. Please contact the Idaho State Tax Commission at (208) 334-7660, (800) 972-7660 or the Internal Revenue Service at (800) 829-1040.

 

FAQ Friday – Where can I find sample job descriptions?

Q. Smart employers write and job seekers ask to see job descriptions during the employee recruitment process. Where can they find them?

A. Job descriptions are vital in the recruitment, interviewing and selection of new employees and serve as the foundation for determining what kind of workers will best fill job openings.

From a job seeker’s perspective, a good job description spells out what the job entails and gives them a good sense of whether their skills and experience are suitable for a job. If they lack a skill that’s vital in the job description, they can determine if they need more training — whether through a class, job shadowing or online learning. Looking carefully at job descriptions in a particular field can also help a job seeker see how their skills, interests and experience might square with the competition. A smart job seeker carefully compares the requirements of jobs they’re interested against their résumé and cover letter to make sure they are clearly showing the skills, experience and education required for the position.

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FAQ Friday – How do I know if my work search contacts are valid?

Editor’s note: This article was updated on July 3, 2017, to clarify content under Invalid Contacts.

If you are unemployed and collecting benefits you are now required to make and report two valid contacts with potential employers each week for full-time work. Not sure what counts as a valid contact?  Read on:

Valid Contacts:

Asking someone with hiring authority about employment opportunities and submitting an application when the employer is not accepting applications or resumes. If you list this as a valid contact and the company says they aren’t hiring but would gladly accept an application, then we expect you to submit an application.

• Applying for positions in a very specialized area. The department does not dictate what type of work you must apply for as long you are able to find and report at least two contacts per week, you meet our requirement. If you are looking for specialized work and exhaust your opportunities in that field, you must expand your job search.

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FAQ Friday – What is the difference between occupations and industries?

It’s not uncommon for people to confuse occupations and industries. Both are about fields of work, but they look at work in different ways.

  • Industries are about the type of activity at a place of work — classifying what business, government and nonprofit units do based on their major products or services.
  • Occupations are about what individual workers do — their tasks and responsibilities.

Some occupations are found only in one or two industries, while other occupations are found across many industries. For example, tree fallers and logging equipment operators are almost exclusively found in the logging industry. Stone masons and glaziers are almost exclusively found in some construction industries. Almost all industries have general managers, secretaries and office clerks.

It is particularly easy to confuse industry and occupation where specific occupations are strongly associated with a particular industry — such as doctors, nurses and orderlies being characteristic of the health care industry.

Classification Systems

Federal and state statistical agencies in the United States, Canada and Mexico use the North American Industrial Classification System – NAICS – to classify industries.

NAICS is a hierarchical numerical coding system that begins with broad economic sectors at the top and winnows them down to narrow industries at the bottom. In between there are either two or three intermediate levels. Each level is associated with a numerical code and a title.

Sectors, such as manufacturing, agriculture and construction, are designated by the first two digits in the code. Each establishment is assigned a six-digit code based on its primary products or services. There are 1,084 specific industries.

Industries that have the same first five digits in their code can be “rolled up” into industrial groups. For example, beef cattle ranching – 112111 – and cattle feedlots 112112 – can be rolled into a common cattle-raising group – 11211. In turn, these five-digit groups can be rolled into four-digit collections and the four-digit collections can be rolled into three-digit codes. The cattle-raising group can be combined with dairy cattle and milk product – 112120 – to get a four-digit code. Then, they can be rolled up with chicken and egg, hog, poultry and related. The resulting animal production major group can be combined with growers of grains, beans, fruit, vegetables, cotton, tobacco and peanuts to become a three-digit code – 113 (agriculture) – and then combined with logging, forestry, hunting, fishing and related industries to become 11 (agriculture, forestry, fishing & hunting).

There are 20 major groups:

Federal and state statistical agencies use the Standard Occupational Classification – SOC — to classify workers into 840 occupations. Those occupations then are rolled up into 23 major groups:

One of the best ways to understand occupations is to use O*NET, an online database containing information about occupations and associated skills, abilities, knowledge, work activities, tasks and interests. O*Net is used for career exploration, vocational counseling, finding job skills for résumés or position descriptions and for aligning training with current workplace needs.

— Kathryn.Tacke@labor.idaho.gov, regional economist
(208) 799-5000 ext. 3984

Attending a Job Fair? Six Tips For Success

A job fair is a great way for an employer with multiple job openings to meet several prospective employees at once.

So how can a job seeker stand out in the crowd? Workforce consultants from Idaho Department of Labor offices in Boise and Meridian have these tips to share.

How should a job seeker prepare for a job fair?

  • Research the companies that are participating. Learn more about their business and job openings and be prepared to answer any questions that may come up at the fair.
  • Practice a 15-second personal commercial including your name, your profession, occupation or the job you are seeking, your experience and a unique selling point (what sets you apart).
  • Arrange for childcare. You will be meeting employers and they will want to talk with you without any distractions.

How should a job seeker dress for a job fair?

Levi Sliwoski came to a job fair in May at the Boise local office dressed for an interview.

Levi Sliwoski came to a job fair in May at the Boise local office dressed for an interview.

First impressions leave lasting impressions. Dress for success and as if you are going to an interview. This includes making sure your shoes are shined and your clothes are pressed and unwrinkled.

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