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Work search requirement will return in July for those receiving unemployment compensation

Pennsylvania's Dept. of Labor and Industry Acting Secretary made the announcement that the requirement will return in July.

PENNSYLVANIA, USA — The work search requirement is coming back for people who are collecting unemployment compensation.

Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) Acting Secretary Jennifer Berrier announced it will return the week of July 11 with people collecting UC benefits starting to certify on July 18 that they have looked for work the previous week.

“As more Pennsylvanians become vaccinated and our case count continues to decline, workers can more safely return to the workforce,” said Acting Secretary Berrier. “We have been working with our stakeholder groups and have determined July is the ideal time to reinstate the work search requirement. PA CareerLink® locations across the state are ready to provide high quality, individualized assistance to out-of-work Pennsylvanians as more displaced workers begin the work search process.”

The work search requirement is returning weeks after the state's planned upgrade on its 40-year-old system will be complete. That upgrade will place the ability to file a new claim with the Department offline from 10pm May 30-June 7. The ability to file a continuing claim will be offline from June 3-7. Berrier said most claimants will not see a delay in their benefits. The new system goes online June 8th. All unemployment customer call centers will remain open during the transition.

Berrier told lawmakers Monday that the notion that people on unemployment are receiving a lot of money, and therefore don't want to work, isn't exactly the case. 

"I think what really gets overlooks is that the average claimant receives $640 a week," she said. She later added, "this $640 a week is actually 50% of the average weekly wage in Pennsylvania."

What people collecting unemployment compensation need to know about the new work search requirement:

Beginning July 18, individuals receiving benefits through any unemployment program in Pennsylvania (including Unemployment Compensation, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance) will need to certify each week that during the previous week they fulfilled the work search requirement by applying for two jobs and participating in one work search activity each week.

Eligible work search activities are:

  • Attending a job fair
  • Searching positions posted on the PA CareerLink® system or Internet job banks
  • Creating or posting a résumé in the PA CareerLink® system or posting a résumé in other résumé-posting services
  • Contacting colleagues, former co-workers or other individuals in similar professions or occupations to make known your availability for employment or obtain information about available positions, prospective employers or other employment opportunities
  • Utilizing an employment agency, employment registry or school placement service
  • Taking a civil service test or other pre-employment test
  • Participating in a program or activity offered through the PA CareerLink® system. If you live outside of Pennsylvania, you may participate in these types of activities offered by your state employment service.

Unemployment program benefit recipients are also required to accept an offer of suitable work. Individuals are also required to keep a log of their work search activities, which is subject to audit. A form to log work search activities can be found on L&I’s website here.

More information about work search, including answers to frequently asked questions, can be found on L&I’s website.