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More Changes to PA Unemployment Compensation Requirements

Posted on February 15, 2012

Unemployment compensation rules changed significantly on January 1, 2011. But just as Pennsylvania employers were getting used to the changes, Pennsylvania’s Department of Labor and Industry made some additional alterations to the unemployment compensation rules.

Amendments to Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation Law, effective January 1, 2012, introduced an “active search” requirement for unemployment compensation claimants. In order to maintain eligibility for unemployment compensation, applicants must now demonstrate that they are actively searching for work while receiving benefits. To implement these changes, the Department of Labor and Industry promulgated step-by-step requirements that applicants must meet to demonstrate they are actively searching for work. Of course, the requirements list several exceptions under which applicants may be excused from the requirement that they engage in an active search for work, including a layoff or “lack of work” exception. In order to qualify for the layoff or lack of work exception, the Department initially required applicants to project that they would return to work 28 calendar days from the date they last worked.

Recently, the Department of Labor and Industry eliminated the 28-day period as a requirement for the layoff or lack of work exception, after apparent negative feedback from employers in seasonal industries who utilize layoffs that frequently last longer than 28 days. Employers risked losing laid off employees if those employees were forced to actively search for work to receive unemployment compensation. Now, applicants hoping to meet the layoff or lack of work exception must demonstrate that their employers advised them in writing of a date they should anticipate returning to work. This demonstration of future employment satisfies the exception.

Employers must remember to take advantage of this change and provide laid off employees with written notification of their anticipated return-to-work date. Otherwise, employees will be forced to look elsewhere for work if they want to collect unemployment compensation during their time off, and employers may lose quality employees.

If you would like more information about unemployment compensation and how it affects your business, please contact any Knox Labor and Employment attorney at 814-459-2800.

Labor & Employment Department Attorneys

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