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RULE §815.28Work Search Requirements

(a) Purpose. The purpose of this rule is to describe the work search requirements and process that must be met for claimants to continue to receive unemployment compensation benefits. A claimant is required to register for work, to actively seek work and be available for work, as well as accept suitable work. The rule also describes the process to be utilized by Local Workforce Development Boards (Boards) when formulating the numerical weekly work search contact requirements.

  (1) A claimant shall be considered available for work during the time the claimant is making a reasonable search for suitable work as defined by this section.

    (A) Work registration alone does not establish that the claimant is making a reasonable search for suitable work.

    (B) The claimant shall make a personal and diligent search for work.

    (C) Unreasonable limitations by a claimant as to salary, hours, or conditions of work indicate that a claimant is not making a reasonable search for suitable work.

    (D) The Agency expects each claimant to act in the same manner as a prudent person who is out of work and seeking work.

    (E) This section shall not apply to:

      (i) individuals participating in a Shared Work plan, §215.041(c) of the Act;

      (ii) individuals participating in Agency approved or Trade Act training, §207.022 and §207.023 of the Act;

      (iii) individuals on temporary layoff with a definite date to return to work that is within eight weeks or less from the date of layoff;

      (iv) individuals on temporary layoff with a definite return to work date that is within eight to 12 weeks from the date of layoff, provided the exemption from work search requirements is explicitly requested in writing by the separating employer;

      (v) individuals on temporary layoff with a definite return to work date that is more than 12 weeks from the date of layoff provided that a waiver from work search requirements is requested by the separating employer and granted by the Agency Executive Director. The Executive Director's decision is subject to review in any benefits appeal where ineligibility results from the decision. The requesting employer is a party of interest to any such appeal, as described in §815.15(c)(6) of this subchapter;

      (vi) individuals who are members in good standing of a union that maintains a nondiscriminatory hiring hall, as that term is defined by the Landrum-Griffin Act, and who maintain contact with and use the placement services of the hiring hall;

      (vii) individuals who perform jury service for a period of three days or longer, during the weeks in which the individual is actively performing jury service; or

      (viii) individuals who are otherwise exempted by law.

    (F) This section shall apply to all claimants unless specifically exempted, including:

      (i) recipients of state extended unemployment benefits, who are required to actively seek work under Texas Labor Code §209.043;

      (ii) recipients of federal extended unemployment benefits, except that if the legislation establishing such benefits or administrative directives for administering such benefits include work search requirements, which are in conflict with those established herein, the federal requirements or administrative directives shall apply; or

      (iii) individuals who are engaged in efforts to establish themselves in a self-employment venture.

  (2) The reasonableness of a search for work will, in part, depend upon the employment opportunities in the claimant's labor market area. A work search that may be appropriate in a labor market area with limited opportunities may be totally unacceptable in an area with greater opportunities.

(b) General Work Search Requirements. A claimant shall make the minimum number of weekly work search contacts as required by the Agency.

  (1) The claimant will be notified of the minimum number of weekly work search contacts required.

  (2) If there is a change to the minimum weekly number of work search contacts, the claimant shall be notified of the change in writing by U.S. mail.

  (3) Claimants are required to maintain weekly work search contact logs and may be required to submit weekly work search contact logs, using an acceptable method as determined by the Agency.

  (4) The Agency shall provide to and publish guidelines for claimants describing the types of activities that may constitute a work search contact for purposes of a productive search for suitable work. Examples of such activities include, but are not limited to:

    (A) utilizing employment resources available at Workforce Centers that directly lead to obtaining employment, such as:

      (i) using local labor market information;

      (ii) identifying skills the claimant possesses that are consistent with targeted or demand occupations in the local workforce development area;

      (iii) attending job search seminars, or other employment workshops that offer instruction in developing effective work search or interviewing techniques;

      (iv) obtaining job postings and seeking employment for suitable positions needed by local employers;

    (B) attending job search seminars, job clubs, or other employment workshops that offer instruction in improving individuals' skills for finding and obtaining employment;

    (C) interviewing with potential employers, in-person or by telephone;

    (D) registering for work with a private employment agency, placement facility of a school, or college or university if one is available to the claimant in his or her occupation or profession; and

    (E) other work search activities as may be provided in Agency guidelines.

  (5) Failure to comply with work search requirements, without good cause, could result in an ineligibility determination that may result in a loss of benefits.

(c) Number of Work Search Requirements. The minimum number of weekly contacts assigned shall be three work search contacts for all claimants, unless otherwise provided by this section.

(d) A Board, based on specific local labor market information and conditions, may advise the Agency that a claimant residing in the workforce area is required to make more than three work search contacts per week.

(e) Rural Counties. In counties designated as "rural" by the Agency the Board may reduce the minimum number of weekly work search contacts in response to specific local labor market information and conditions. "Rural" counties are defined as those counties having a population estimated by the Texas State Data Center at Texas A&M University to be not more than 10,000 as of July 1 of the most recent year for which county population estimates have been published.

(f) Local Boards shall have the flexibility within the guidelines provided in this section to formulate the appropriate minimum number of weekly work search contacts for their respective workforce area, using appropriate guidelines to be developed in consultation with Agency staff, and shall maintain written documentation. Boards shall review the minimum number of weekly work search contacts for each workforce area at least once per year on a date to be determined by the Agency.

(g) Local Policies. A Local Board shall develop, adopt, and modify its policies to promulgate the appropriate methodology for formulating the appropriate number of work search contacts for the workforce area in a public process consistent with the procedures required for compliance with the Texas Open Meetings Act, Texas Government Code, Chapter 551 et seq. A Board shall maintain written copies of the policies that are required by federal and state law or as requested by the Agency and make such policies available to the Agency and the public upon request. A Board shall also submit any modifications, amendments, or new policies to the Agency no later than two weeks after adoption of the policy by the Board.

Source Note: The provisions of this §815.28 adopted to be effective December 8, 2003, 28 TexReg 10968; amended to be effective August 15, 2004, 29 TexReg 7738

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