COVID-19 & the Texas Workforce Commission: Waiting Weeks, Work Searches, and the Shared Work Program

By March 20, 2020May 1st, 2020Uncategorized

The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) will temporarily waive their waiting week and work search requirements for unemployment benefits effective immediately. These measures support the state’s effort to address the impact of COVID-19 on the state economy and workforce.

Historically, a waiting week is the first payable week of an individual’s claim for benefits. Under normal circumstances, the TWC does not pay for the first week of a claim until an individual receives two times their weekly benefit amount, returns to full-time work, or exhausts their benefits. Also, individuals are typically required to register for work search on www.workintexas.com and meet minimum number of work search activities per week. The TWC can ensure individuals have access to needed resources by waiving these requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Individuals can apply for benefits through the TWC. To apply, individuals will need their last employer’s business name and address, first and last dates (month, day, year) they worked for their last employer, number of hours worked and pay rate if they worked in the week they filed (including Sunday), information related to their normal wage, and alien registration number (if not a U.S. citizen or national). Individuals can apply for benefits at any time through the TWC’s website: www.twc.texas.gov/jobseekers/unemployment-benefits-services.

The TWC also encourages employers to enroll in the Shared Work program as an alternative to layoffs. This program was developed to help Texas employers and employees withstand a slowdown in business, such as the slowdown caused by COVID-19. Shared Work allows employers to supplement their employees’ lost wages because of reduced work hours with partial unemployment benefits. With this program, employers can reduce normal weekly working hours for employees in an affected unit by at least ten percent but not more than forty percent. Shared Work benefits are payable to employees who qualify for, and participate in, an approved Shared Work Plan. Employees who qualify will receive both wages and unemployment benefits. More information on this program can be found at https://twc.texas.gov/businesses/shared-work.

For additional information about the TWC, please visit their website: www.texasworkforce.org.

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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