As more businesses continue to reopen across Missouri, the Missouri Department of Labor’s Division of Employment Security announced the return of unemployment requirements.
Starting the week of July 5, Missourians who want to continue receiving unemployment benefits will be required to complete three work search activities per week. Work searches were always a requirement for unemployment benefits but were lifted for those who filed a coronavirus-related unemployment claim.
News-Press NOW reached out to the Missouri Department of Labor and the Missouri Job Center and both declined to comment.
Individuals with an employer-submitted recall date, in approved training, and employees on the Shared Work program are exempt from the work search requirement.
Work search activities include filing an application with an employer or through job posting sites, attending a job fair, job interview and re-employment service or skills workshop. Part-time employment performed during a week is credited on a per-day basis. All work searches must be reported each week on uinteract.labor.mo.gov or when filing the weekly request for payment.
Missouri State Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer said now that there’s no statewide stay-at-home order and the economy is opening back up, it’s important to get people back to work.
“Normally you have to be searching for work to qualify for unemployment insurance, but obviously when the economy is shut down you can’t have that work search environment because no jobs are available,” Luetkemeyer said.
Luetkemeyer believes small business owners especially are supporting the return of the requirements because it’s been difficult to get employees receiving unemployment checks to come back to work.
“Right now, people are frankly making more money on unemployment than they are working and it creates a real economic disincentive to get workers back,” Luetkemeyer said.
Since March 28, eligible Missourians have been receiving an average weekly benefit payment of nearly $900, which includes a $600 federal supplement.
People filing for unemployment in Missouri on or after July 5, now have a waiting week requirement again. The waiting week is the first week of a claim for which the individual is eligible for unemployment benefits but during this week, such individuals are not paid benefits. Missourians approved for benefits may receive compensation for the waiting week as the last payment on the regular unemployment claim.
Also beginning July 5, employers will be charged again for unemployment claims against their account. Employers wanting to reduce the amount of charges being made against their accounts must report employees that either refuse to return to work or are receiving pay through the Paycheck Protection Program.
Missouri Job Centers have started to reopen to the public, but the location in St. Joseph is still closed. Those needing help with job searches can receive services over the phone by calling 816-387-2380.