Job search problems continue

At the 13 April 2016 Advisory Council meeting, the Council received two letters from state residents concerning the limitations on work search waivers that took effect this past winter.

The first, a 31 March 2016 e-mail message (originally sent to Sen. Harsdorf), explained:

Hi: I work for a concrete company that lays people off in early winter. I have been there for 10 years and have been laid off every winter since I started. Some winters I’m off longer than others, it just depends on different factors. This year (Dec 18th) I was laid off and longer than other winters, so that brings up the issue.

So with the new regulations in the unemployment I/we are suppose to look for work after 12 weeks. My employer does not like to loose workers (Drivers) because with my companies requirements it’s kind of hard to find drivers without accidents and DWIs and enough experience.

What I am trying to say is,there should be some stipulations put into place for (work search after 12 weeks) I’m on my 12th day over the 12 weeks. I was just informed Tuesday that I’m finally going back this next Monday the 4th. It was up in the air for the last few weeks, due to road restrictions and lack of business. Then to add insult to injury I find out my work truck is in the shop ((due to other drivers using it while on lay off)) and wouldn’t be road worthy for another week.

I did not do the job service thing and in turn I’m going to loose $1110. I was suppose to sign up with [DWD] and start applying @ 4 places a week. I did not do this because, If I was offered a different job I would probably have to turn it down, and I will explain why. I worked a job back in 1995 to 2002 and I left for more $ and I ended up making less than the other job. I should have made $500–$600 more a month but it didn’t work out that way. Hence the phrase (the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence) Since I have good benefits and wages with this job, I plan on staying for quite a while. So as far as the [job search requirements and work search waivers], there should be some changes made. I hope that I made sense… Please reply Thank You.

The second was a letter to the Council received on 28 March 2016:

Unemployment Insurance Advisory Council

I write this letter to each and every one of you, with hope it may do some good for the future beneficiaries, herself included.

My opinion; Whoever wrote and voted for this bill must be brain-dead, or forgot the reason for U.I. Without U.I. there would be many thousands of people on welfare. Do the math, which would be the most inexpensive way to go for the State and the U.S.government?

About me!

In my younger years I had a construction business in the Twin Cities area I struggled for years to build it into a profitable business. Than a recession hit. I was forced to sell. I began a new career with Glastron boat co. and later with Bombardier. Again, another recession. Bombardier closed all its facilities in the U.S. and again I was out of work. I than moved here to northwestern Wisconsin and started a new career with Burnett county Hiway dept. I worked there for 22 years. One day going home from work a lady ran over me on my motorcycle. It took two years to recover and of course I lost my job, as I didnt have enough sick leave to cover two years. I took an early retirement receiving only a small percentage of retirement income I had hoped for. When I was able I tried farming but that was a disaster, with prices what they are.

For the past two years I have worked for a dirt contractor as a dump truck driver. Last year they had there worst year in a decade, so my time was cut in half. My income from them was just over $6000. I filled for bankruptcy in 2015, something I will never get over. Through all of this I can’t recall ever drawing U.I. except for last year and this year. I must have a boatload of money paid on my behalf but yet I only draw $125 a week and have to jump your rope to even get that. Something is drastically wrong here. Its no wonder Donald Trump is so far ahead in the polls. WE NEED A CHANGE, A BIG CHANGE.

Let me tell you how this bill effects me and thousands just like me

I don’t have a computer and don’t even know how to operate one. My nearest job center is 42 miles away. I have signed up with them as requested, that is I think I have. I have had no confirmation of that. I have contacted employers within a reasonable distance. No response as of yet. I have to wonder what they will say when I tell them I have a job?

This, to me, seems like effort and money I don’t have down the drain, too accomplish nothing. Nothing fraudulent here:

I am CONFUSED and ANGRY

P.S. Maybe you should take off your high heels and come here for a couple of days. See how we live!

Notice that in both of these letters neither person has actually received all the unemployment benefits due them because of issues relating to registration at the job center of Wisconsin website, searching for jobs that likely pay less or have fewer benefits than their seasonal laid-off position, or jumping through hoops without feedback about which Department requirements are successfully completed.

In response to these letters, Janell Knutson explained to Council members that the writers of these letters were not asking for any specific changes and so she was just forwarding their concerns to the Council. Council members asked that she write the authors to let them know that the Advisory Council had received their letters.

Job search regs from early 2014 to be enforced on 14 June 2015

DWD announced today that:

Effective June 1, 2015, Secretary Reginald Newson of the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD), determined that DWD has the technological ability to implement the changes made by Clearinghouse Rule No. 13-081 to s. DWD 127.02 (intro.), and (2) to (11), Wis. Adm. Code.

The requirements of these provisions will be enforced beginning June 14, 2015.

UPDATE (28 May 2015): A revised announcement adds a reference to DWD 126.03.

The regulations at issue are DWD 127.02:

DWD 127.02 Waiver of work search requirements. The department shall waive a claimant’s requirement to conduct at least 4 actions to search for suitable work if any of the following apply:

(1) The claimant performs at least 20 hours of work for any employer in that week.
(2)  The claimant is currently laid off from employment with an employer but there is a reasonable expectation that the claimant will be returning to employment within a period of 8 weeks, which may be extended an additional 4 weeks but may not exceed a total of 12 weeks. In determining whether the claimant has a reasonable expectation of reemployment by the employer, the department shall request the employer to verify the claimant’s employment status. If the employer does not verify the claimant’s employment status, the department may consider any of the following:
(a) The history of layoffs and reemployments by the employer.
(b) Any information that the employer furnished to the individual concerning the claimant’s anticipated reemployment date.
(c) Whether the claimant has recall rights with the employer under the terms of any applicable collective bargaining agreement.
(3)  The claimant has a reasonable expectation of starting employment with a new employer within 4 weeks and the employer has verified the anticipated starting date with the department. The waiver shall not exceed 4 weeks.
(4) The claimant has been laid off from work and routinely obtains work through a union referral and all of the following apply:
(a) The union is the primary method used by workers to obtain employment in the claimant’s customary occupation.
(b) The union maintains a record of unemployed members, and the referral activities of these members, and allows the department to inspect such records.
(c) The union provides, upon the request of the department, any information regarding a claimant’s registration with the union or any referrals for employment it has made to the claimant.
(d) Prospective employers of the claimant seldom place orders with the public employment office for jobs requiring occupational skills similar to those of the claimant.
(e) The claimant is registered for work with a union and satisfies the requirements of the union relating to job referral procedures, and maintains membership in good standing with the union.
(f) The union enters into an agreement with the department regarding the requirements of this subsection.
(6) The claimant is summoned to serve as a prospective or impaneled juror.
(7) The claimant is enrolled in and satisfactorily participating in a course of approved training under s. 108.04 (16), Stats., in a work share program under s. 108.062 (10m), Stats., or in a self-employment assistance program or another program that has been enacted by the Wisconsin or federal legislature and the program includes that claimants who participate in the program shall be waived by the department from work search requirements.
(8) The claimant has not made a search for suitable work because of an error made by personnel of the department.
(9)  The claimant’s most recent employer failed to post appropriate notice posters as to claiming unemployment benefits as required under s. DWD 120.01 and the claimant was not aware of the work search requirement.
(11)  The claimant has been referred for reemployment services, is participating in such services, or is not participating in such services, but has justifiable cause for failure to participate. Justifiable cause includes that the claimant is unable to participate due to any of the following:
(a) The claimant is summoned to serve as a prospective or impaneled juror.
(b) The claimant is enrolled and satisfactorily participating in a course of training approved by the department, in a work share program under s. 108.062 (10m), Stats., or in a self-employment assistance program or another program that has been enacted by the Wisconsin or federal legislature and the program includes that claimants who participate in the program shall be waived by the department from work search requirements.
(c) The claimant is employed.
(d) The claimant is attending a job interview.
(e) Circumstances which the department determines are beyond the claimant’s control.

 

And here is DWD 126.03:

DWD 126.03  Waiver of work registration requirement. The department shall waive a claimant’s work registration requirement for any given week if any of the following apply:
(2) The claimant is currently laid off from employment with an employer but the employer has verified with the department there is a reasonable expectation that the claimant will be returning to employment within a period of 8 weeks, which may be extended an additional 4 weeks but may not exceed a total of 12 weeks. If the employer does not verify the claimant’s employment status, the department may consider any of the following:
(am) The history of layoffs and reemployments by the employer.
(bm) Any information that the employer furnished to the individual concerning the claimant’s anticipated reemployment date.
(cm) Whether the claimant has recall rights with the employer under the terms of any applicable collective bargaining agreement.
(3) The claimant has a reasonable expectation of starting employment with a new employer within 4 weeks and the employer has verified the anticipated starting date with the department. The waiver shall not exceed 4 weeks.
(4) The claimant has been laid off from work and routinely obtains work through a union referral and all of the following apply:
(a) The union is the primary method used by workers to obtain employment in the claimant’s customary occupation.
(b) The union maintains a record of unemployed members, and the referral activities of these members, and allows the department to inspect such records.
(c) The union provides, upon the request of the department, any information regarding a claimant’s registration with the union or any referrals for employment it has made to the claimant.
(d) Prospective employers of the claimant seldom place orders with the public employment office for jobs requiring occupational skills similar to those of the claimant.
(e) The claimant is registered for work with a union and satisfies the requirements of the union relating to job referral procedures, and maintains membership in good standing with the union.
(f) The union enters into an agreement with the department regarding the requirements of this subsection.
(5) The claimant is summoned to serve as a prospective or impaneled juror.
(6) The claimant is enrolled in and satisfactorily participating in a course of approved training under s. 108.04 (16), Stats., in a work share program under s. 108.062 (10m), Stats., in a self-employment assistance program, or another program enacted by the Wisconsin or federal legislature and the program includes that claimants who participate in the program shall be waived by the department from work registration requirements.

Expect work search waivers to decline both in number and length under these now implemented regulations.