Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development
Press Release

Work Search Requirement for Unemployment Benefits – How to Comply


By - May 19th, 2021 05:44 pm

MADISON – In February of this year, the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) published a new Emergency Rule that allowed DWD to continue to waive work searches for people who applied for Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits in response to the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

State law requires those who are applying for UI benefits to look for suitable jobs and provide information about their work search activities for each week they request benefits. This emergency rule allowed DWD to respond to the spread of COVID-19 by waiving those work searches for thousands of people. The department recognized the burden of the requirement on claimants when many businesses remained closed and job opportunities in certain sectors are still limited in response to the ongoing health and safety impacts of the global pandemic.

The work search requirement was slated to go back into effect July 10, 2021; however, today lawmakers voted to reinstate the requirement on Sunday, May 23rd, meaning that UI recipients are required to look for work to qualify for their benefits roughly seven weeks earlier than expected.

Beginning Sunday, a person must perform four activities related to searching for work each week to obtain their benefits.

How to comply with the work search requirement: (1) Perform and (2) Report

    • If you’re seeking UI benefits, you must register on JobCenterofWisconsin.com and perform four valid work search actions to secure suitable work for each week you’re requesting UI benefits. Suitable work is work that is reasonable considering your training, experience, and how long you’ve been unemployed.
    • You must report four actions in the week they are completed. You may not “bank” additional actions to be used toward future weeks. For example, if you complete eight work search actions in one week and none the following week, you will only be able to collect benefits in the first week.

**If you do not perform work search actions, benefits will be denied**

(1) Performing work search activity:

First, register on JobCenterofWisconsin.com (JCW) and complete a resume that will match you to open positions.

Examples of work search:

  • Resumes and applications
    • Submitting a resume or application to an employer that has openings or is taking applications is valid, UNLESS, you’re applying for work that you know you aren’t suited for or use language in your cover letter or application discouraging the employer from contacting or hiring you.
  • Registering with a placement facility, temporary help agency, or headhunter
  • Meeting with a career counselor
  • Participating in a professional work-related networking group or event
  • Posting a resume on an employment website
  • Interviewing for a job

Examples of invalid work search actions:

  • Viewing job ads or postings, but not applying for the jobs
  • Applying for work that you know that you would not accept or that is not suitable for you
  • Contacting an employer who has no openings and isn’t accepting applications
  • Repeatedly contacting a prospective employer, such as checking in on the status of the application or scheduling an interview

(2) Recording work search activity:

You can keep records on your own or use DWD’s weekly work search entry form found at my.unemployment.wisconsin.gov. You can report your activities after the week is completed on your weekly claim certification or during the week on the work search entry form.

You must keep a record – DWD is required by law to verify work search actions and you may be asked to provide proof of your work search actions.

For each work search action, be sure to include:

  • Date of action
  • Type of action
  • Name of business
  • Method used to contact
  • Name & title of the person contacted
  • Position applied for
  • Phone number
  • Address of business
  • Online – website & job number
  • Result of contact

While searching for a job, you may have an opportunity to work part-time or temporarily. This helps keep your skills current, and you may still be eligible for UI benefits.

** Failure to report work and earnings, conduct an active work search, or accurately report your availability for work can result in benefit denial**

You can also visit one of our many job centers located statewide. Please note that job centers are open by appointment-only.

To find additional resources to help you comply with the work search requirements, please visit our DWD News page.

Mentioned in This Press Release

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