At yesterday’s Unemployment Insurance Advisory Committee meeting ESD announced the reinstatement of three job search requirements per week. This will ensure workers collecting unemployment insurance are actively seeking work while collecting benefits. The requirement was paused in response to closures and curtailments related to COVID-19.
The business community has been encouraging reinstatement of job search requirements as the state moves towards the July 1st re-opening of all businesses. ESD is moving quickly to reinstate the job search requirement to help ease challenges employers are facing today and prepare for the July 1st reopening. Extra $300 weekly federal payment which was included in the American Rescue Plan will end on September 4, 2021.
Refusal to Work Clarification:The requirement that individuals receiving unemployment benefits must be “able and available for suitable work” does not change. See ESDWAGOV – Refusal to work for detailed information for both employers and workers.
However, those requirements include a handful of “good cause” reasons that a worker can continue to collect federal unemployment benefits and turn down suitable work. Those reasons include:
- Being at higher risk for severe COVID-19 related illness
- Living in a household with a person at high risk.
- Providing direct care for a high-risk person.
- Being asked to work at a worksite that does not follow guidelines published by the U.S. Department of Labor or Washington’s Department of Labor and Industries, or
- Care for a child who is unable to attend school or daycare because it has been closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, claimants cannot turn down suitable work because they will make more on unemployment, they do not want to work, or are simply nervous about returning to work.