Legislation would reinstate job search requirement for unemployed compensation

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The Senate Labor and Industry Committee recently advanced legislation that would reinstate the requirement that unemployment claimants search for work to be eligible to receive compensation.

The Department of Labor and Industry suspended the requirements last year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the mitigation orders. The General Assembly voted to continue the suspension until the end of 2020. On Jan. 1, the department extended the suspension indefinitely.

Acting Labor and Industry Secretary Jennifer Berrier has said that the work-search requirement will resume July 18, and the job registration requirement will resume in September.

“Unlike when the work search requirement was relaxed, the vaccine is now widely available,” state Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R-Greene County), committee chairwoman, said. “Infection rates continue to drop, and even the governor has begun to reopen the state for business. Yet, Pennsylvania is still not realizing the economic recovery that is possible. Many employers across the state are still struggling to fill needed roles as some people have determined that the financial benefit of collecting unemployment is more attractive than returning to work.”

The committee also advanced three other bills that address workplace issues, including one that would change the way businesses are deemed essential and life-sustaining in future disaster declarations.