New Wisconsin job search emergency regs in effect

The Legislative Reference Bureau just published new emergency regulations for job search and job registration.

These emergency regulations significantly alter DWD 126, 127, and 129. A slight change is also made to DWD 128.01(2)(a).

Job registration changes

Weekly claim certifications will now be part of a weekly work registration requirement. And, claimants will have to complete their weekly claim certifications via an on-line system unless a claimant can show good cause for not being able to use a computer-based system. Good cause is defined as physical, mental, educational, or linguistic limitations.  The presumption of work registration when filing weekly claim certifications is eliminated.

There is no indication yet that DWD is providing on-line access for weekly claim filing in multiple languages, that instructions and help are available in multiple languages, and that different browsers and devices are being considered when using this on-line system.

Florida implemented similar on-line filing requirements in 2011, and the US Dep’t of Labor found that Florida’s on-line system was discriminatory.

Job search changes
The four job applications now mandated are a minimum. Under the new rules — DWD 127.06 — after four weeks of unemployment DWD may require claimants to increase their weekly efforts to five job applications a week, comply with the Department’s job search requirements (not sure what this compliance requirement actually means since claimants have to comply with these requirements anyway), or develop a work search plan that is approved by the Department.

This last requirement probably links to what the Department has been discussing with the Advisory Council about connecting claimants to employer vacancies at the Job Center of Wisconsin website. It appears that after four weeks of benefits, DWD may begin sending claimants specific employers to which an application must be made in addition to the four applications they already have to make.

The Department will also be asking claimants to verify their work search efforts. Verification will need to be done via “computer-based programs,” and those verification records need to kept for 52 weeks now. Yes, that number is correct. The Department wants claimants to retain their job search records for 52 weeks.

These job search records should include the following information.

  • job applications: the date on which the claimant made an employer contact; if available, the name and address of the employer and the name of the employer representative contacted; the type of work applied for; the method used to contact the employer and the results of the contact; or other verifiable information of the application.
  • civil service exams: the date on which the claimant took an examination, the location of the examination and the position for which the examination was taken.
  • union hiring hall or job placement agencies: the date on which the claimant registered and the name and address of the facility.
  • public employment office or reemployment service: the date of the visit, the name and address of the public employment office, training program or similar reemployment office and the name of the person with whom the claimant met.

Currently, DWD has forms available for recording this information.

Job search and registration waivers
Waivers are now limited in the following ways.

  • When still working for your customary employer, you now must work at least twenty hours with that customary employer before receiving a waiver for that week. Before, a waiver was available when any work was done for the claimant’s customary employer.When on layoff, the employer must now verify to DWD that the employer has a reasonable expectation of returning the claimant to work within eight weeks (an extension of an additional four weeks is also possible). Before, this reasonable expectation of returning to work was based on the employer’s prior layoff history and any specific reemployment dates that were available. Now, the waiver is based solely on what the employer says is his or her reasonable expectation of returning a claimant to work within that eight week period.
  • When starting a new job, the employer verifies to the Department that the new employer expects the claimant to begin working within the next four weeks.
  • When on layoff from a union hiring hall position, the union maintains records of its hiring hall activities, provides to the Department at its request any referrals the union has sent to the claimant (a new requirement), and the claimant maintains his or her union membership. Previously, the only information the Department asked for was whether the claimant was registered with the union hiring hall.

These changes to the waiver requirements are not yet effective, however, because DWD needs to re-program its computer systems to account for these changes. All of the other changes are effective now and will remain in effect until 25 February 2014. Hearings on making these rule changes permanent will take place on 4 November 2013.

Unemployment for federal workers without work at the moment

The US Department of Labor has information about furloughed federal employees applying for unemployment benefits. You can also download a PDF of this info.

In Wisconsin, there is a one-week waiting period. So, the budget stalemate must last longer than a week before any unemployment benefits are paid out.