|Posted:||December 16, 2022 02:44 PM|
|From:||Representative Shelby Labs|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||Unemployment Compensation Eligibility Clarification (Prior HB 1819)|
|I plan to reintroduce House Bill 1819 from the prior session 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 codify what courts have already found to be the intent of the 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:
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.
During the prior session, we worked on this bill in a bipartisan manner with both L&I committee chairmen and the department – and the bill passed the House with a broad bipartisan manner.