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Right on the Money: We could hear as early as this week about unemployment work search requirements

Commissioners will meet this week, and could take up the issue of job search requirements for unemployment beneficiaries.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

DALLAS — This could be a big week for anyone in Texas collecting unemployment benefits. Commissioners at the state’s unemployment agency, the Texas Workforce Commission, may discuss reinstating the requirement that benefits recipients must conduct job searches each week to continue qualifying for payments.

So far during the pandemic, that requirement has been waived because so many businesses were closed or had suspended hiring. 

As the state’s economy has started to reopen, TWC has acknowledged that at some point it will resume the rule. Commissioners are scheduled for a regular meeting Tuesday morning, and the issue could be addressed.

But even if they decide to go forward with a plan to reinstitute the mandate for work searches, the agency says it will give people at least two weeks of notice before enforcing the rule.

When the job search rule returns, anyone getting benefits from the TWC will have to abide by it, whether they live in Texas or reside elsewhere. Click here for more details.

Those who live in Texas will be required to register at workintexas.com. Currently, there are hundreds of thousands of job listings on that site.

The state has begun fortifying that site ahead of an expected rush of users when the job search requirement comes back. Anyone receiving benefits should consider registering now ahead of any announcements, in case the website crashes like we saw with TWC’s unemployment sign up page in the first weeks of the pandemic.

Texas hiring thousands of contract tracers

A common entry on the job website is for contact tracers. Basically, when health officials identify people who may have come into contact with someone with COVID-19, they pass along the lists to contact tracers, who attempt to call and notify those people. 

The Texas Workforce Commission says up to 5,000 contact tracers will be hired in Texas. Those who are chosen for the jobs get online training, work remotely, and could earn up to $19 per hour, the TWC says.

Additionally, WFAA has been working with employers in North Texas who are hiring. To list job openings in North Texas, or to search the positions available, click here.

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