As Missouri continues to reopen under the Show Me Strong Recovery effort and businesses resume operation, the Missouri Department of Labor’s Division of Employment Security announces the return of unemployment requirements.
Work Search Activities Resume
Beginning with the week of July 5, 2020, individuals wishing to continue to receive unemployment benefits (including the $600 federal supplement available through July 25, 2020) will be required to perform work search activities that had been lifted for those that had filed a coronavirus-related unemployment claim.
Work search activities are required for programs including regular Unemployment Insurance (UI), Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Extended Benefits (EB), and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC). Individuals with an employer-submitted recall date, in approved training, and those employees on the Shared Work program will be exempt from the work search requirement. All other claimants will be required to perform and report three work search activities per week to remain eligible for benefits. Union members with a hiring or referral hall may contact their hall three times per week or attend training for the required number of work search activities.
Qualified work search activities include, but are not limited to, filing an application (online or in-person) with an employer or through job posting sites or attending a job fair, job interview, reemployment service or skills workshop. Part-time employment performed during a week is credited on a per-day basis.
Missouri Job Centers are available to assist unemployed workers with these requirements by providing customized job searches through jobs.mo.gov, job fairs, Reemployment Services and Eligibility Assessment (RESEA) appointments, workshops to help develop and refine skills and other training programs. Employers are encouraged to post job openings on MoJobs. For more information about services available through the Missouri Job Centers, visit jobs.mo.gov.
Employer Account Charges Will Resume
Also beginning July 5, 2020, employers will once again be charged for unemployment claims against their account. Employers wishing to reduce the amount of charges being made against their accounts are encouraged to report employees that either refuse to return to work or are receiving pay through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Employers can report those instances through their UInteract account or by visiting labor.mo.gov and clicking on “Report Employee Work Refusals” or “Report PPP Wages Paid to Employees.” Separately, guidance will be provided related to the Shared Work program and any continued waiver of employer account charges.
Waiting Week Resumes for All-New Unemployment Claims
For those filing for unemployment in Missouri on or after July 5, 2020, a waiting week requirement will again be imposed. The waiting week is the first week of a claim for which the individual is eligible for unemployment benefits but during this week, such an individual is not paid benefits. Individuals who are approved for benefits may receive compensation for the waiting week as the last payment on the regular unemployment claim.
The DES reminds unemployed workers that they should report any earnings (including PPP payments) and any work refusal when filing their weekly request for payment. Failing to do so will result in an overpayment of unemployment benefits. Any overpaid benefits (including the $600 federal supplement) will have to be repaid before an individual can receive any future unemployment benefits. Additionally, failing to report earnings and work refusals can be considered fraud, and the individual could be subject to fines of up to 100 percent of overpaid amounts and criminal prosecution.