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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: November 17, 2023 02:44 PM
From: Senator Michele Brooks
To: All Senate 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, 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 or fail to accept, without good cause, suitable work that is offered to them. Regrettably, there have been instances where this process gets abused, creating an unfair environment for both employers in need of workers, and for those who receive Unemployment Compensation by complying with the law. 
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.  The department has referenced UC staff manuals that maintain, “Discouraging one's hire is equal to refusing an available job.
I plan to introduce legislation clarifying 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 already public policy.  This bill will not create any additional requirements for any claimant who is searching 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.
To help ensure results, my bill requires the Department of Labor and Industry to create forms, or update existing forms, within 90 days of the effective date of this legislation, 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 SB1109