Budget provision raises bar for those seeking unemployment benefitsLooking for work at least four times a week would be a criterion for continued unemployment benefits, under a plan approved by GOP lawmakers.
By: By Shawn Johnson, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
Looking for work at least four times a week would be a criterion for continued unemployment benefits, under a plan approved by GOP lawmakers.
Right now in Wisconsin, someone has to do two job searches a week to receive unemployment benefits. Governor Scott Walker’s proposed budget doubles that to four.
Republican lawmakers approved of Walker’s plan and upped the ante, giving the state Department of Workforce Development (DWD) the discretion to require even more than four work searches for some workers. It passed the legislature’s Joint Finance Committee on a party line vote with Republicans like Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette) strongly in favor.
“If you’re in a high-demand career — if you’re a welder, a pipefitter or electrician in my community right now — and you’re unemployed, you should be doing more than four searches, because there [are] plenty of jobs out there. So to give DWD by rule the authority to increase those searches because there is a glut of jobs out there, I think is a reasonable step.”
But there’s nothing in the plan passed by GOP lawmakers that zeroes in on any particular field like welding, meaning the state could require five, six or more weekly searches for any type of worker. Cory Mason (D-Racine) said that won’t help people find work if the jobs aren’t there.
“There’s no glut of jobs that people are avoiding. I wish that was the case. What you have here is raising the bar on unemployment insurance that doesn’t seem about getting people back to work; it seems like it’s about kicking people off of unemployment insurance.”
All 50 states require some proof that a person is searching for work to receive unemployment insurance, but if this plan becomes law, Wisconsin’s requirement would be among the most demanding. Just two states currently require four weekly work searches. Florida alone requires five searches.