Job Search Requirements Back on the Horizon for TX Unemployment Recipients – Monday, May 11, 2020 5:29PM

In Texas and other states under normal, non-COVID conditions, unemployment benefit recipients are required to search for work to maintain benefits.  Since the pandemic caused the closure of the vast majority of businesses, leaving few available jobs, that requirement was temporarily waived. There is talk now, however, that it will be reinstated once Texas businesses are allowed to open at 50% capacity. 

What does this mean to your practice?  Primarily 2 things.  First, if you offer to bring back employees that you temporarily furloughed due to the pandemic, and they refuse to return, they could lose their unemployment benefits.  This rule is actually already true legally, but likely not being enforced while the rules have been loosened and the state struggles to keep up with the vast quantity of recipients.  But additionally, if you have employees still on furlough with no return-to-work date set, they may be forced to seek new employment in order to maintain benefits.  And if they receive a suitable job offer they will be required to accept it, leaving you with a hole to fill in your staff. 

According to lawmakers, the mandatory search requirement could be put back in place as early as May 18, when the second phase of the plan to reopen Texas is expected to commence.