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Date: October 13, 2020
Media Contact: James BernsenPhone: 512-636-6994
UI Claimants Can Document Their Efforts Virtually and Through Skills Enhancement
AUSTIN – The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) announced today that as the Texas economy continues to open TWC will reinstate state work search requirements, which had been suspended since March, but will resume on November 1, 2020. Work search is a federal requirement to receive unemployment benefits. Individuals will continue to receive benefits but must show an active effort to obtain new employment. A wide variety of activities qualify as a work search, see below for more information.
All individuals receiving unemployment benefits will need to complete the designated number of work searches, beginning on the date listed in their work search notification document. The work search notification document can be found in their correspondence inbox at ui.texasworkforce.org or U.S. Postal Mailbox. For example, individuals with an initial or additional claim the week of November 1st – work search activities would be effective the week beginning November 8th. For individuals with existing claims requesting payment the week of November 1st, work search activities would be effective the week beginning November 15. TWC encourages all claimants to refer to their work search notification document.
“The COVID-19 crisis has been difficult for everyone, creating new challenges for workers, employers and their families,” said TWC Executive Director Ed Serna. “Let me be clear: we are not over it. But we’re seeing employment opportunities begin to bounce back in Texas as our economy restarts. There are opportunities out there and getting Texans back to work and businesses up and running again will create even more.”
Texas businesses are hiring right now. There are approximately over 695,000 jobs available in Texas on WorkInTexas.com, the state’s online jobs portal, in addition to jobs available elsewhere. As more and more businesses come back online, those numbers should increase.
Unemployment insurance benefits are not intended as a replacement for a job, but a temporary benefit to help workers until they can resume employment. The work search requirement does not mean workers must take the first job available. It means that they must show an active effort to obtain new employment to continue benefits. As long as they do this, their benefits will continue for as long as they are eligible.
Furloughed workers with a definite return to work date that is within 12 weeks of the layoff are exempt from work search requirements. Return to work dates beyond 12 weeks can result in the waiver of work search at the discretion of TWC. While Self-employed individuals who intend to reopen their business do not need to complete work search activities. They do need to take steps to reopen their business. Self-employed individuals who do not intend to reopen their business will need to complete work search activities.
What counts as a work search activity?
TWC has determined that acceptable work search activities include, but are not limited to:
What resources are available to help individuals search for work?
TWC has over 180 workforce solutions offices around the state ready to assist claimants with everything from resume writing to job searching. TWC has partnered with Metrix Learning to offer over 5,000 online courses free to all Texans. These courses count as work search activities. Individuals wishing to sign up can do so through their WorkinTexas.com account. Additionally, Job seekers are encouraged to visit WorkInTexas.com, the state’s job portal, for access to hundreds of thousands of public and private sector jobs, as well as links to education and training opportunities, resume assistance and other resources.
How do claimants submit proof of work search to TWC?
Claimants do not need to regularly submit proof of work search. During their payment requests they will be asked to certify that they completed work search requirements for the request period. TWC may occasionally ask claimants for a record of their activity. Claimants must keep a detailed log of their activity recording the date and details of the work search. TWC can request this activity log anytime during their benefit year.
Do Self-Employed individuals need to complete work search activity?
Self-Employed PUA claimants are required to undertake work activities to resume their business and must certify this when requesting payment for unemployment benefits bi-weekly. If the business will not reopen, Self-Employed PUA claimants are required to perform work search activities, meet the minimum number of weekly work search activities, and apply for jobs suitable to their skills and talents. They also have a resume waiting for their completion in WorkInTexas.com, the opportunity to apply for work through WorkInTexas.com, and have the same resources available to them as other job seekers through Workforce Solutions offices.
Do Furloughed workers need to complete work search activity?
Claimants who believe they are in temporary layoff status should contact their employer regarding their return to work date. If they do not receive a definite return to work date, they should plan to search for full-time work and adhere to work search requirements when reinstated. Claimants directed to return to work by their employer must do so immediately.
The Texas Workforce Commission is a state agency dedicated to helping Texas employers, workers and communities prosper economically. For details on TWC and the services it offers in coordination with its network of local workforce development boards, call 512-463-8942 or visit www.texasworkforce.org. To receive notifications about TWC programs and services subscribe to our email updates.
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