Legislature mulls bill to give unemployment recipients more flexibility

Jan 24, 2023, 12:39 PM | Updated: 12:48 pm
unemployment hiring sign...
(Photo by Leonardo Munoz/VIEWpress)
(Photo by Leonardo Munoz/VIEWpress)

As tech workers are laid off around the region, the legislature is debating a bill that would make it a little easier for people to keep their unemployment.

Traditionally, to get unemployment in Washington, you need to show you are applying for three jobs every week or doing three job search activities at your local unemployment office.

If passed, Senate Bill 5331 would expand the definition of job search activities to allow a variety of virtual actions that are not a direct application for a job. Examples could include writing a resume or cover letter, watching a video on how to do a job interview, attending a job-related webinar, drafting an elevator pitch, and uploading a profile to a job search website.

Unemployment claimants in Washington must start job search activities

The state’s unemployment office had allowed this more flexible definition of job search activities since the job search requirement returned during the pandemic, but the new proposal would make it a permanent change.

The idea behind the proposal is that this would encourage people to meaningfully work toward a job, instead of rushing to fill out applications for jobs they don’t want just to meet the weekly mandate.

“One of the things that we continue to hear is a problem is if people are going through the motions of applying for jobs that they don’t actually mean to take, it’s not serving anybody well,” said Caitlyn Jekel, government relations director with the Employment Security Department, during testimony. “If we’re in a period of high unemployment, and folks are going, ‘The only option I have to remain compliant with unemployment insurance is to crank out job applications,’ employers aren’t necessarily getting the job applicant that they want.”

Legislators who sponsored the bill said that it is important to give job-seekers options to keep up with the times.

New drug law would provide alternate route for those with addictions

“Keep in mind, we’ve come through a rather remarkable period with COVID, which has changed and altered the way we do a job search,” said Sen. Steve Conway (D-Tacoma). “This is natural to allow greater flexibility in the job search.”

For a full list of job search activities that will be accepted for unemployment, visit ESD’s website.

Local News

milwaukee park...
KIRO 7 News Staff

Man arrested after police respond to shooting near Milwaukee Park in Pacific

According to police, officers were called to an area near the park at 522 Milwaukee Blvd. S. for a shooting around 2:45 p.m.
13 hours ago
Associated Press

Man charged with murder in deaths of missing mom, girl

VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — The man named as a person of interest in the disappearance of his ex-girlfriend and her 7-year-old daughter was charged with two counts of murder in their deaths, police in Washington state said Friday. Detectives from the Vancouver Police Department booked Kirkland Warren for two counts of first-degree murder Friday after […]
2 days ago
KIRO Newsradio Newsdesk

Manufactured roadblocks lead to attempted kidnapping in Pierce County

The woman described the suspect as a Hispanic male between 20 and 30 years of age. He is approximately 5-foot-7.
2 days ago
human trafficking...
Shawn Garrett, KIRO 7 News

Vashon Island man arrested on ten federal charges related to human trafficking

According to the media release, Ruiz-Hernandez used force, threats of force, and physical violence to force an adult to work for him.
2 days ago
the last of us...
Frank Sumrall

‘The Last of Us’ Season 2, set in Seattle, to be filmed in BC

The series premiere was watched by 4.7 million viewers on the first day it was released — the second-biggest for HBO since 2010.
2 days ago
capitol campus...
Nicole Jennings

WSP prepares for any Trump-related unrest at WA State Capitol

The WSP is gearing up in case there is unrest on the State Capitol Campus in Olympia when former President Trump is arraigned.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Compassion International...

Brock Huard and Friends Rally Around The Fight for First Campaign

Professional athletes are teaming up to prevent infant mortality and empower women at risk in communities facing severe poverty.
Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.
SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!
safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Legislature mulls bill to give unemployment recipients more flexibility