Labor Dept. proposes amendment requiring UI recipients to register for work search activities

TRENTON -The state Labor Department formally proposed amendments requiring individuals who report for unemployment to also register for work search or work search-related activities, or risk losing their benefits for that week.

The amendments also require individuals to physically report to a one-stop center. If the person who receives unemployment insurance registers for a work search related activity but fails to show up, that person could lose their unemployment compensation.

Labor Department officials made clear that it’s a pending proposal and nothing’s been codified yet, adding that individuals are already required to report on ways they have been actively seeking work. While they are required to report, current state laws don’t provide enforcement ability requiring job seekers to register and participate in the activities.

Common work search activities include sending out resumes, going on job interviews, and condudting online job searches. Jobseekers are not required to use Jobs4Jersey but must demonstrate they are actively seeking work.

Stephanie Riehl, assistant vice president at the New Jersey Business and Industry Assocation (NJBIA), said her group supports the amendment, saying that “New Jersey’s unemployed must do all that they can to keep their edge” and be “encouraged to use all available tools at their disposal.”

Riehl pointed out that New Jersey’s jobs search website, Jobs4Jersey, provides not only job postings, but career counseling and information on various types of training.

“In addition to being accessible through personal computers, it can be accessed through One Stop Career Centers and local libraries which also often offer services in English and Spanish and can provide contacts to job seekers within occupations and industries.”

In her testimony, Sen. Barbara Buono said Christie is “out of touch,” assuming all New Jersey residents have ready access to the Internet in order to register for work-related activities.

She said there’s some 20 percent who lack Internet access because they’re struggling to pay the rent.

Buono said instead of helping people find a job, Christie is putting more obstacles in their way.

Labor Dept. proposes amendment requiring UI recipients to register for work search activities