Claimant Alert: Job search requirement reinstated starting July 4, 2021

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June 10, 2021

Following a 15-month suspension of the requirement to search for jobs while receiving benefits, unemployment benefits claimants will once again need to conduct job searches starting July 4, the Employment Security Department (ESD) announced yesterday. (See https://esd.wa.gov/newsroom/job-search at ESD’s website.)

In response to the pandemic, Governor Inslee and the legislature agreed to stop enforcing the job search requirement in March 2020. Now, from July 4 forward, claimants will be required to conduct three job search activities and report on them each week they claim benefits. Complying with the requirement is essential because you must demonstrate you are available for and actively seeking a job in order to receive benefits. If claimants are not aware of this or do not comply, it can lead to overpayments.

When you file for benefits as of July 11, you will be asked to specifically name and document the contacts you made or activities you conducted each week. This is a stricter enforcement of the job search requirement than in the past, when claimants just needed to certify that they had contacted three potential employers to inquire about a job and to keep a job search log that ESD could review upon request.

ESD has launched a campaign on multiple fronts to inform claimants of the reinstated job search requirement and what they need to do to comply with it. The agency plans to send several messages and reminders to individual claimants, publicize the change on social media, post FAQs on the website, and conduct other outreach. 

The list of acceptable job search activities has expanded to include such things as: attending a resume workshop, watching a Youtube video on job searches, writing a 30-second speech to introduce yourself and your skills to an employer, participating in a job fair, setting up an account on Indeed or LinkedIn and uploading your resume to it, and much more. The full list is on ESD’s website at https://esd.wa.gov/unemployment/job-search-requirements.