COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Later this month, the state of Ohio will require people who are receiving unemployment benefits to complete weekly work-search requirements.
“Now that Ohioans have had the opportunity to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and can safely return to work, it only makes sense that we restore work-search requirements for everyone,” said Ohio Governor Mike DeWine.
Earlier in the pandemic, the federal government allowed states to waive the work-search requirements. In December, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services resumed them
for people filing new unemployment claims.
“Ohio business owners are creating jobs faster than people are returning to the workforce,”
said Lt. Governor Jon Husted. “Now that all Ohio adults have access to the vaccine, it’s time to return to the traditional work requirements.”
The announcement that the work-search requirements will return comes as a number of restaurant owners and managers are facing a staffing shortage.
John Barker, president and CEO of the Ohio Restaurant Association, said the industry-wide staffing shortage is due to a number of factors, including that some who worked in the hospitality industry have changed jobs and started new careers.
Barker said employees are having a hard time finding childcare, some are concerned about contracting COVID-19 at work, and others are making more on unemployment than they would in a restaurant.
Barker said he believes resuming the requirements is a positive that will help operators return employees to the workforce.
“I think what we’re seeing right now is jobs and the economy — they’re soaring,” he said. “Things are coming back maybe faster than we anticipated, but the amount of people who are back in the workforce is lagging – maybe one, or two, three months. We’ve just got to get that in line.”
According to the state, acceptable work-search activities include applying for a job, attending a resume-writing course, and keeping and updating a reemployment plan on OhioMeansJobs.com.
While the work-search requirements will resume on the week of May 23, some individuals will be exempt under Ohio law. According to a release from the governor’s office, those include people who are temporarily laid off for 45 days or less, and those who are in approved training. Individuals who are members in good standing with a union hiring hall that refers members to jobs will meet the requirement. Additionally, those in approved schools or training may have their requirement met.
According to the state, ODJFS will notify impacted residents of this change.