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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: August 19, 2021 02:57 PM
From: Representative Shelby Labs
To: All House members
Subject: Unemployment Compensation Eligibility Clarification
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation to clarify the Unemployment Compensation (UC) Law, regarding claimants who take actions to discourage their own hire in order to continue receiving benefits. 
Under current law, all UC claimants are required to engage in an active search for work, unless they meet one of a few narrow exemptions.  To fulfill this eligibility requirement, claimants must apply for two jobs per week and complete one work search activity.  Likewise, the law provides that a claimant is ineligible in any week that they fail to apply for suitable work (when required by the department) or fail to accept, without good cause, suitable work that is offered to them.
The Department of Labor and Industry has indicated that claimants who take actions to discourage their own hire (skipping job interviews, making negative statements during an interview, etc.) or who refuse work prior to an interview without learning the details of a job are not eligible for UC benefits.  Indeed, the department has referenced UC staff manuals that maintain, “Discouraging one's hire is equal to refusing an available job.
Unfortunately, like many of my colleagues, I have heard numerous complaints from employers who note that many claimants have bluntly told them that they are only applying for a job to meet the work search requirements for UC eligibility – and that UC claimants routinely fail to attend job interviews or make statements that appear to be intended to prevent the claimant from being hired.
Therefore, I plan to introduce legislation to clarify the law regarding claimants who take actions to discourage employers from hiring them.  This legislation is not intended to create new policy.  Rather, it is intended to clarify what is already the intent of the UC law, and what the department has indicated is our public policy.  This bill will not create any additional requirements for any claimant who is searching for and applying for work in good faith. 
My legislation will clarify that a claimant is not eligible in any week that they discourage their own hire by taking actions including, but not limited to:
  • Failure or refusal to attend a job interview or other applicant selection activity related to a job the claimant applied for without good cause;
  • Refusing a job prior to an interview or a discussion of the details of a job with the employer; or
  • Failing to make a good faith effort to obtain employment, as evidenced by any statement or other actions of the claimant intended to discourage the claimant’s hire.
 My bill will also require that the Department of Labor and Industry create forms, or update existing forms, within 90 days of the effective date to enable employers to report claimants who discourage their own hire.
I hope that you will join me in cosponsoring this legislation.  Pennsylvania employers are desperate for workers, and we can help the situation in a small way by making our UC law very clear that claimants must be making a good faith effort to get hired.

Introduced as HB1819