Proposal Changes Unemployment Work Search Requirement
[UPDATE: At its July 30 meeting, the Regulation Review Committee voted unanimously to accept recommendations from the legislature’s non-partisan Legislative Commissioners’ Office to reject the regulation without prejudice.
LCO raised a number of substantive issues with the regulation, including the failure to address conflicting language in statute, a lack of clarity regarding language in the exemption from the work search requirement, inaccurate internal citations, and a host of technical corrections.
Committee members did not have the opportunity to raise additional concerns with the regulation, including those raised by CBIA regarding the difference in treatment between unionized and non-unionized workers. It is likely the regulation will be amended and resubmitted for consideration at a future meeting.]
State lawmakers are considering a number of changes to the unemployment compensation system.
The General Assembly’s Regulation Review Committee will meet July 30 to act on a regulatory proposal intended to modernize and update the system’s work search requirements.
The proposal features two benefits for members of organized labor.
Section 2 updates work search requirements found in Regulation 31-235-23 to add greater specificity on what constitutes a work search, long a requirement for those receiving unemployment compensation.
Under new subsection (g), added language allows an individual receiving unemployment benefits to be excused from that work search requirement if the claimant is:
- job attached and is scheduled to return to work on a definite date as prescribed by the administrator;
- union attached;
- engaged in state-approved training;
- participating in an approved shared work program; or
- serving on jury duty.
Non-Union Job Offers
While most of these reasons make sense, being attached to a union should not be a reason to be exempted from looking for a job.
The final section of the proposal would repeal three existing regulations.
One of those regulations, 31-235-21, deals with the requirement that to receive benefits, a claimant must be available for work, and willing, able, and ready to accept suitable work, irrespective of its union or non-union nature.
Repealing this section effectively allows individuals who belong to a union to refuse to accept a job and continue collecting benefits simply because an offer came from a non-union shop.
Connecticut will borrow an estimated $1 billion from the federal government to shore up the state’s unemployment compensation trust fund following the 700,000-plus claims filed during the pandemic.
It is not in the best interest of the state to allow people to forego work search efforts and refuse suitable employment simply because they belong to a union.
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