COVID-19 & the Texas Workforce Commission’s Work Search Requirement

By October 21, 2020October 22nd, 2020COVID-19

The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) will reinstate state work search requirements effective November 1, 2020. All individuals who receive unemployment benefits must complete the designated number of work searches starting on the date listed within their work search notification document (which can be found within their correspondence on www.ui.texasworkforce.org or U.S. Postal Mailbox). For example, individuals with a claim the week of November 1, 2020 must perform work searches for the week starting November 8, 2020. For individuals with existing claims who request payment the week of November 1, 2020, all work search requirements will be effective the week starting November 15, 2020.

Unemployment benefits temporarily assist individuals who incur a pause in employment. The work search requirement does not mean individuals must take the first job available to them. However, this requirement means that individuals must show an active effort to obtain employment. Furloughed individuals with a definite return to work date within twelve weeks of the layoff date will be exempt from work search requirements. Please be aware that the TWC will consider if return to work dates beyond twelve weeks can result in the waiver of work search at their discretion. Also, self-employed individuals who intend to reopen their business do not need to complete work search activities. However, self-employed individuals do need to take steps to reopen their business. Any 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?

Acceptable work search activities include, but are not limited to:

  • Registering on www.WorkInTexas.com. For assistance with the registration process, go to www.WorkInTexas.com, scroll down to the “News and Announcements” section, and select Registration Resources and Website Usage Tips. For support, please contact your local Workforce Solutions Office
  • Searching for jobs on www.WorkInTexas.com and using the Virtual Recruiter tool to receive alerts about new jobs that match your skills
  • Obtaining and following up on job contacts from www.WorkInTexas.com or Workforce Solutions office staff
  • Registering at a public workforce office in the state you live in if you do not live or work in Texas
  • Registering for work with a private employment agency, placement service of a school, or registering with other electronic job-matching systems (does not replace www.WorkInTexas.com registration)
  • Making in-person visits, completing a job application, or interviewing with employers who may reasonably be expected to have openings for suitable work. The job application can be submitted in person, online, by fax, or in any other manner directed by the employer and appropriate for the type of work being sought
  • Mailing a job application and/or a résumé as instructed by a public job notice
  • Creating a reemployment plan
  • Creating or uploading a résumé to online job boards
  • Participating in work-related networking events such as job clubs or job fairs, or employment-related workshops that offer instruction in improving the job seeker’s skills for obtaining employment
  • Using reemployment services and resources available at your nearest Workforce Solutions office virtually. For more details, contact your local Workforce Solutions office. Reemployment resources include:
  • Obtaining and using labor market information
  • Participating in reemployment services designed for job seekers
  • Participating in skills assessments for occupational matching
  • Participating in instructional workshops, such as résumé preparation and enhancement, job-search techniques, and interviewing skills
  • Completing a Metrix Learning course with a passing score
  • Participating in targeted training opportunities designed to improve skills

What resources are available to help individuals search for work?

The state has over 180 workforce solutions offices around the state to assist individuals with resumes and job searches. The state also partnered with Metrix Learning to offer over 5,000 online courses free to all Texans and these courses count as work search activities. Individuals who wish to sign up for courses can do so through their www.WorkinTexas.com account. Additionally, individuals are encouraged to visit www.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 individuals submit proof of work searches?

Individuals do not need to regularly submit proof of work searches to the state. During their payment requests, however, they will be asked to certify that they completed work search requirements for the request period. The state may occasionally ask individuals for a record of their activity at any time during a benefit year. Therefore, individuals must keep a detailed log of their activity recording the date and details of their work searches.

Do self-employed individuals need to complete work search activity?

Self-employed individuals must undertake work activities to resume their business and must certify this when requesting payment for unemployment benefits bi-weekly.  Self-employed individuals must perform work search activities, meet the minimum number of weekly work search activities, and apply for jobs suitable to their skills and talents if their business will not reopen.

Do furloughed workers need to complete work search activity?

Individuals who are in temporary layoff status should contact their employer regarding their return to work date. If individuals do not receive a definite return to work date, they should plan to search for full-time work and perform their work search requirements. Individuals directed to return to work by their employer must do so immediately.

 

Our office will monitor COVID-19 updates closely and will send out additional announcements as we become aware of any updates. You can also review these updates on our website at https://thomas-and-company.com/covid-19/ too.

 

Please reach out to your representative with any questions.

Mike Parker

Author Mike Parker

Mike has 30 years of experience in unemployment cost control management, and has been with Thomas & Company for 25 years. He is the primary contact with state agencies building strong relationships, lobbying for opportunities that increase quality of service and efficiencies, and insuring compliance with state specific requirements. He works with the client service team, answering technical questions related to the unemployment insurance programs administered by the individual states and oversees the processes associated with wage audits and fraudulent claim inquiries. Mike is a member of the SIDES Operations Committee and currently sits on four Operations Committee subcommittees.

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