Massachusetts Reinstates Work-Search Requirement for Unemployment

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Massachusetts Reinstates Work-Search Requirement for Unemployment

Economy HR & Employment Law News | May 20, 2021
By: Sam Larson

Massachusetts next month will reinstate the requirement that people who collect unemployment benefits must actively search for a job, a move that is expected to draw more people into the workforce.

Governor Charlie Baker today rescinded an emergency regulation that had previously waived the work-search requirement.

Starting June 13 claimants collecting unemployment will be required to make at least three work searches per week and maintain a detailed written log of their activities to remain on the program. Claimants will also be required to attend a Career Center activity where they will connect with employers in their area.

Associated Industries of Massachusetts strongly supports the policy change and applauds the governor for the decision.

Getting qualified workers back into the workforce is an AIM priority. As vaccination rates rise and the state continues to re-open sectors of the economy, employers have struggled to find qualified people to fill jobs. In a survey conducted by AIM in late March, 60 percent of respondents indicated they were experiencing vacancies in the workforce and 53 percent could not find qualified candidates to fill those vacancies.

“AIM believes re-instating the work-search requirement will incentivize individuals to seek good, stable employment and fill the thousands of open jobs in the commonwealth,” said Brooke Thomson, Executive Vice President of Government Affairs at AIM.

The policy change represents one part of a broader strategy supported by AIM to move the Massachusetts economy back to normal. The association has also initiated efforts to bring more women back to the workforce after record numbers were forced to leave in 2020 due to COVID and child-care related issues.

In addition, AIM is advocating for incentives such as return-to-work or hiring bonuses, that could help meet the workforce demands. Other states are using a portion of their federal stimulus for similar programs and AIM encourages the commonwealth to follow suit.

Finally, AIM has called upon the Baker Administration to re-open the state’s career centers to aid in the work search.

If you have any questions about the reinstatement of this rule, or about the state unemployment insurance system and requirements generally, or to get involved in AIM advocacy on UI, please contact: Sam Larson at slarson@aimnet.org.