Read the Maine Complete Count Committee report for the upcoming 2020 national census Bookmark and Share

January 2, 2020

Read the Maine Complete Count Committee report for the upcoming 2020 national census at the following web page:

https://www.maine.gov/dafs/reports

Information about the US National Census Count for 2020 Bookmark and Share

January 9, 2020

Job seekers!

The U.S. Census Bureau is looking for people to assist with the 2020 census beginning this coming April. For more information about working for the U.S. Census Bureau, please click on the following link:

https://2020census.gov/en/jobs.html

To find out why the census is so important to Maine, please visit the U.S. Census Information page by clicking on the following link:

https://2020census.gov/en.html

Tips for Unemployment Claimants Bookmark and Share

January 16, 2020

Tips for Unemployment Claimants

How to avoid being locked out:

One of the most common issues reported is being locked out of a benefit account due to failed password attempts. Currently you have two attempts available to enter your password correctly. If you fail to provide the correct password a third consecutive time, your account will be locked and can only be unlocked by an unemployment representative. We recommend that if you have entered your password incorrectly twice that you use the forgot password or forgot username links provided.

As long as you have activated the email address associated with the account when the account was created, you can click on the "Forgot Password" link underneath the login boxes to have a new temporary password generated and sent to the email address on file. Refer to the section below for instructions on how to activate your email if you have not done so already. You will be able to use this temporary password to log in and will be prompted to set up a new password, personal to you, at that time. For more information, please visit the ReEmployME Login Information page at https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/remelogin/

How to activate your email address in order to reset your own password:

To reset your own password, you will need to activate the email address associated with your ReEmployME account. Activating your email will also allow you to receive notifications via email when new information is added to your account, such as forms and decisions. If you have not yet activated your email address, or are not sure if you have, please do the following:

  1. Log in to your ReEmployME account.
  2. Navigate to Benefits Maintenance > Update Claimant Profile > Verify E-mail.
  3. On the next screen either enter your Verification Code received at the email address on file to activate your email or click on the word 'here' to have a new code generated and sent to the email address on file. (If you need another verification code, click here. An email will be sent to you with a new verification code.)

  4. If a new verification code is sent to you, go back to step 2 on the same screen and enter the code to complete the activation process.

You are now ready to reset your own password should you forget it. Remember to only try entering your password twice, or you will be locked out and require staff assistance to unlock your account!

Remember to file your weekly certifications every week

After you file your initial claim for benefits, in order to receive benefits, if eligible, you need to file weekly certifications. Do not wait to start filing even if there is a hold on your account pending a fact-finding or other issue. Our claim week runs from Sunday through Saturday. You can file for a week as of the Sunday following the prior week. You will need your work searches and the amount of wages earned (even if not yet paid) for the week claimed to file for the week.

  1. Log in to your ReEmployME account.
  2. Navigate to Weekly Certification > File Weekly Certification.

Please note: In order to file and complete your claim, after submitting and confirming your work search information, make sure to click the "Next" button in the bottom right hand corner of the screen. Doing so will load the weekly claim questions, which have to be completed in order to file your weekly certification.

Guidance on Coronavirus Response and Updates Bookmark and Share

March 11, 2020

Please click on the link listed below for guidelines and general information to help businesses, employers, and the public plan and respond to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Unemployment Insurance FAQs Regarding COVID-19 Bookmark and Share

March 18, 2020

Please click on the link listed below for guidelines and general information about Unemployment Insurance FAQs Regarding COVID-19.

Emergency Bill Offers New Flexibility in Maine's Unemployment Insurance Program Bookmark and Share

March 19, 2020

For Immediate Release: March 19, 2020

Emergency Bill Offers New Flexibility in Maine's Unemployment Insurance Program

AUGUSTA - Maine Department of Labor (Department) will begin to implement new flexible unemployment insurance (UI) measures that will benefit both workers and businesses thanks to emergency legislation from Governor Mills that was enacted by the Legislature Tuesday night. These temporary measures will help relieve the financial burden of temporary layoffs, isolation, and medically-necessary quarantine by making unemployment benefits available to individuals whose employment has been impacted by COVID-19.

"If workers do not have access to employer-provided paid time off or leave, this legislation can provide an important partial wage replacement," Labor Commissioner Laura Fortman said. This helps not only the individual but allows employers to retain their workforce and stabilize local economies.

Individuals who would otherwise be able and available to work and who maintain contact with their employer may now be eligible for UI. Anyone who has filed for unemployment benefits on or after March 15th will be reviewed under these new temporary measures. The legislation temporarily revises eligibility requirement to provide unemployment coverage in situations not typically covered, such as:

  • An employer temporarily ceases operation due to COVID-19
  • An individual is quarantined with the expectation of returning to work once the quarantine is over
  • An individual must take a leave of absence to care for a dependent who is affected

The legislation is not intended to provide sick leave or short-term disability payments. The legislation waives the work search requirement for individuals still connected to their employer and waives the one-week waiting period so that benefits will be available sooner. Important for businesses, any benefits paid under these provisions would not affect the employers experience rating record.

UI Claims can be filed online or by phone at: https://reemployme.maine.gov/ or 1-800-593-7660. The Department provides unemployment filing free of charge; individuals should never be asked to pay a fee to file a claim.

For more information and resources, visit the Departments COVID-19 page: https://www.maine.gov/labor/covid19/, and follow the Maine Department of Labor on Facebook @MElabor and Twitter @maine_labor.

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Maine Dept. of Labor Announces Shift to Online CareerCenter Services Bookmark and Share

March 19, 2020

For Immediate Release: March 19, 2020

Maine Dept. of Labor Announces Shift to Online CareerCenter Services

AUGUSTA - In order to follow the Maine Center for Disease Control's guidance on social distancing due to COVID-19, the Maine Department of Labor announces that CareerCenter services will accessed online and by phone. The quality of services to the public will not be affected however this shift will limit in-person contact and is consistent with public health strategies to limit the spread of COVID-19.

CareerCenter services are available online at www.mainecareercenter.gov. CareerCenter staff are also available by phone; phone numbers for specific CareerCenters can be found on the CareerCenter website. The statewide line is 1-888-457-8883. There is also a "live chat" option on the website, where the public can communicate directly with a CareerCenter consultant.

Temporarily shifting to online and by-phone services will allow the public to access important CareerCenter services from their home, Commissioner Laura Fortman said. We are committed to providing important public services while maintaining health and safety of our staff and the people we serve.

In addition:

  • All CareerCenter hosted job fairs will be cancelled for the next two weeks, at which point next steps will be assessed based on circumstances.

  • SafetyWorks! Training Institute (STI) classes have been cancelled through March 27th, including classes held at satellite locations. For more information or to sign up for future classes, visit: https://www.safetyworksmaine.gov/index.shtml.

Additional information from the Maine Department of Labor about COVID-19 guidance on workplace safety and health, unemployment insurance, and employment law can be found at https://www.maine.gov/labor/covid19/.

The Department provides unemployment filing free of charge; individuals should never be asked to pay to file their claim.

Dept. of Labor Posts Rules, to Hold Remote Public Hearing on Earned Paid Leave Bookmark and Share

March 25, 2020

Dept. of Labor Posts Rules, to Hold Remote Public Hearing on Earned Paid Leave

The Maine Department of Labor (MDOL) has published rules for the required rulemaking process for Public Law 2019 Ch. 156, "An Act Authorizing Earned Employee Leave." Governor Mills signed this bill into law last year, which will go into effect January 1, 2021.

On Wednesday, March 25, the proposed rules will be published, and the public comment period will open for the Earned Paid Leave Rules. The public comment period will remain open until April 27.

The draft rules will be published at https://www.maine.gov/labor/proposedrulemaking/. The website will have an option to submit comments electronically through a submission box. Public comments may be sent online, by email to bls.mdol@maine.gov (please note that it is about Earned Paid Leave rules in the subject), or through written correspondence to Maine Department of Labor, 54 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04330-0054. All submissions require a full name as well as a place of residence.

The Maine Department of Labor is also announcing a remote public hearing on the proposed rules:

  • April 15, 2020, 5-7 p.m.

During the public hearing, anyone interested in speaking will have up to three minutes to share their thoughts on the proposed draft rules. In consideration of recent health concerns, the public hearing will be remote-access only, rather than an in-person meeting. Details on how to participate will be available on the Department's website: https://www.maine.gov/labor/proposedrulemaking/.

The bill, LD369, required the Maine Department of Labor to write rules to ensure the legislation can be implemented and enforced appropriately. The posting of the draft rules is part of MDOLs rulemaking process as well as the required Maine Administrative Procedures Act (MAPA). Once the public comment period ends, MDOL will review and respond to all public comments that were submitted. After the public comment period ends, MDOL will have 120 days to adopt the rules or release a revised set of rules based on public comments.

The legislation guarantees earned time off for employees who work for a business with 11 or more employees. Small businesses with 10 or fewer employees and seasonal employers who regularly operate less than 26 weeks in a calendar year are exempt. The law requires that an employee earn one hour of paid leave from a single employer for every 40 hours worked, up to 40 hours in one year of employment. This leave can be used for any purpose by the worker, however they are required to give their employer as reasonable notice as is possible.

The rules written will provide guidance to employers as well as workers who benefit from the earned paid time off. The Maine Department of Labor will also provide new posters to employers outlining guidance for the rule on its website.

If you would like to be updated during the process, please email bls.mdol@maine.gov and ask to be placed on the Earned Paid Time Off rules mailing list.

The effective date of this law is January 1, 2021.

A link to the chaptered law (Public Law 2019 Ch. 156) may be found at the link below: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/getPDF.asp?paper=SP0110&item=4&snum=129

The Maine Department of Labor is an equal opportunity provider. Auxiliary aids and services are available to individuals with disabilities upon request.

MDOL: Update on Unemployment Insurance in Challenging Times Bookmark and Share

March 25, 2020

MDOL: Update on Unemployment Insurance in Challenging Times

AUGUSTA - A significant number of individuals are filing unemployment insurance (UI) claims and reaching out to the Department of Labor with questions, as Mainers lose work due to COVID-19, the novel coronavirus.

"The Maine Department of Labor is working as quickly as it can to process the unprecedented number of unemployment claims," said Commissioner Laura Fortman. The unemployment insurance program provides a critical economic lifeline and is experiencing extremely high volumes of claims and questions. For example, our unemployment insurance webpage had over 90,000 views on March 20, up from 1,400 a week before. We recommend that those filing a claim do so online, and we appreciate everyone's patience.

To help those accessing the unemployment system, the Department urges all to review these tips for common questions and follow the webpage links:

  • If you are unsure if you will be eligible for unemployment, we encourage you to apply. MDOL will review your application and make a case-by-case determination about eligibility. It is best to apply online; the system is available 24/7 (https://reemployme.maine.gov/).

  • MDOL has waived the work search requirement through May 14, consistent with the current duration of the temporary emergency unemployment insurance provisions signed by the Governor.

  • After the initial week that you file a claim, you must continue to file on a weekly basis.

  • The new measures are not intended to provide sick leave or short-term disability payments.

  • The waiting week has been waived as a result of the new UI legislation. If your account indicates that you have a waiting week, dont worry, ignore it. The system is being updated to reflect the new changes.

  • If your work was affected by COVID-19 the week of March 15 but you have been unable to file your claim for unemployment benefits yet, your initial claim will be accepted through the week of March 23. If eligible, you will not lose the previous weeks benefits.

  • The UI system allows two attempts to enter a password correctly; if you try a 3rd time your account will be locked. If you are unsure of your password (or have already tried twice), use Forgot Password link. A new temporary password will be generated and sent to the email address on file in your account. If you are locked out due to an incorrect password, CareerCenter staff can help you reset it: https://www.mainecareercenter.gov/locations/index.shtml

  • If you live in Maine but work in a different state, and need to apply for unemployment, you apply in the state where your employer is located.

  • If you do not have access to a computer or the internet, you can call 1-800-593-7660 between 8 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. Monday-Friday. If you just need help filing a claim or resetting your account password, you can contact a CareerCenter by phone for assistance: https://www.mainecareercenter.gov/locations/index.shtml

  • The Department recommends filing a claim on a computer, rather than a cellphone.

UI Claims can be filed online or by phone at: https://reemployme.maine.gov/ or 1-800-593-7660. The Department provides unemployment filing free of charge; individuals should never be asked to pay a fee to file a claim.

Maine Department of Labors Unemployment Insurance Program provides partial wage replacement for workers who experience job layoff, loss or reduction in hours through no fault of their own. Those applying must be able and available and looking for work. Governor Mills emergency COVID-19 legislation, signed into law March 18, enacted temporary measures will help relieve the financial burden of temporary layoffs, isolation, and medically-necessary quarantine created by COVID-19 by making unemployment benefits available to individuals who would have otherwise been able and available to work and who maintain contact with their employers. Anyone who has filed for unemployment benefits on or after March 15 will be reviewed under these new temporary measures.

For more information and resources, visit the Departments COVID-19 page: https://www.maine.gov/labor/covid19/, and follow the Maine Department of Labor on Facebook @MElabor and Twitter @maine_labor.

DVR and DBVI Offer Public Call In Via Zoom Bookmark and Share

April 24, 2020

To further aid with communication during the pandemic, the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) and the Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired (DBVI) are offering a public session on Thursdays from 2- 2:30. This is an opportunity for interested stakeholders to hear updates, ask questions, and make suggestions. To join the ZOOM session https://zoom.us/j/99638293857?pwd=bS85TVl2Ty9yUytraWpFMHRKbXR3UT09 Meeting ID: 996 3829 3857

Due to the public nature of the meeting, we will not be able to ensure confidentiality so we ask that issues pertaining to specific clients not be raised. Those questions should be addressed directly with the person's VR Counselor or a supervisor. If you are not sure who that person is, please call 623-6799 or email libby.stone-sterling@maine.gov (DVR) or brenda.g.drummond@maine.gov (DBVI)

Resource on How Public Benefits are Impacted by COVID-19 Bookmark and Share

May 1, 2020

The Maine Medical Center Department of Vocational Services' Benefits Counseling program has posted fact sheets to inform people with disabilities regarding how public benefits (SSI, SSDI, TANF,SNAP, etc.) could be impacted by COVID 19.

Go to https://www.benefitsandworkinme.org Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on Fact Sheets.

Letter to the editor: Coverage misrepresents Maine Labor Department's role Bookmark and Share

May 20, 2020

Read MDOL Commissioner Laura Fortman's Letter to the Editor in the Portland Press Herald concerning MDOL Jobless Data.

https://www.pressherald.com/2020/05/20/letter-to-the-editor-coverage-misrepresents-maine-jobless-rate/

State and Federal Officials Urge Mainers to Report Unemployment Fraud Bookmark and Share

May 26, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 26, 2020

Department of Justice District of Maine

State and Federal Officials Urge Mainers to Report Unemployment Fraud

PORTLAND, Maine: United States Attorney Halsey B. Frank, Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey and Maine Commissioner of Labor Laura Fortman warned that scammers are taking advantage of pandemic unemployment assistance programs to file fraudulent claims by using the personal information of other people, including Maine residents. They urged Mainers to notify the Maine Department of Labor if they believe that someone has used their identity to fraudulently apply for or obtain unemployment benefits. The online complaint form is at https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/

The U.S. Attorney's Office, Maine Department of Labor, Maine Attorney Generals Office, Maine State Police, Maine State Treasurer, U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General, U.S. Secret Service, Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcements Homeland Security Investigations and the FBI are working together to investigate and stop the fraudulent unemployment claims. In Maine, the U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General are spearheading the federal investigative effort.

"Although perhaps not surprising, it is outrageous that criminals are capitalizing on the current emergency to file fraudulent unemployment claims using stolen identity information," said U.S. Attorney Frank. The U.S. Attorneys Office is working closely with our state and federal partners to identify and halt this criminal behavior, and to bring to justice those who commit it. We ask anyone who believes they have been the victim of unemployment fraud to report it immediately.

Maine Attorney General Frey added, We will work with the Department of Labor to stop public funds from being released due to fraud, and we will coordinate with the U.S. Attorneys Office on the prosecution of those individuals who apply for or obtain public funds using stolen identities.

The U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General is committed to ensuring the integrity of the unemployment insurance program. The CARES Act provides enhanced unemployment benefits during these unprecedented times. The Office of Inspector General will work closely with the U.S. Department of Justice, Maine Department of Labor, and our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners to vigorously pursue those who seek to exploit the unemployment benefits our nation is providing to our fellow citizens in their time of need, stated Michael Mikulka, Special Agent-in-Charge, New York Region, U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General.

With the unprecedented increase in unemployment insurance claims over the past two months due to COVID-19, many states, including Maine, are seeing an increase in reports of identity theft in applications for unemployment benefits. Victims often discover that their personal information has been stolen only when they file an application for benefits and learn that claims have already been submitted using their name and personal information.

The Maine Department of Labor takes its responsibility to uphold the integrity of the unemployment program very seriously, Commissioner Laura Fortman said. MDOL will continue to work with our federal and state law enforcement partners to investigate and prevent fraud, while paying benefits to eligible Maine workers as quickly as possible.

In addition to creating a state-federal task force to detect and prevent fraud, MDOL has taken the following additional steps:

  • Coordinating with financial institutions to identify suspicious accounts;

  • Reviewing system changes needed to increase fraud detection; and

  • Blocking web addresses linked to fraud here in Maine and in other states.

If you believe that someone else has used your information to file a fraudulent unemployment application, please notify the Maine Department of Labor immediately at https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/ . Suspected fraud can also be reported to the National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form/ or (866) 720-5721.

If you think someone is using your personal information to open accounts, file taxes or make purchases, visit https://ww.identitytheft.gov to report and recover from identity theft. Additional identity theft resources can be found at https://www.maine.gov/ag/privacy/identity_theft.shtml or https://www.ftc.gov/faq/consumer-protection/report-identity-theft.

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Maine DOL Takes Action to Prevent and Stop Fraud Bookmark and Share

May 26, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 26, 2020

AUGUSTA - The Maine Department of Labor today announced steps it is taking to investigate, prevent, and stop fraud perpetrated by criminals.

Maine, like many other states, is seeing an increase of intentionally fraudulent unemployment claims over the past two months amid the rise in overall unemployment insurance claims due to COVID-19. This practice, known as impostor fraud, occurs when a person's Personally Identifiable Information, or PII, is used illegally to apply for unemployment benefits.

Criminals use PII stolen from outside data breaches or other illicit means to create fraudulent unemployment claims, in hopes that the innocent people whose information has been compromised never know that a claim was filed using their identity. Unemployment fraud is not only a risk to the individuals whose identities were stolen, but also to employers who fund the payment of benefits through taxes.

The Department announced today that it is temporarily pausing benefits for 48 hours this week and reinstating its normal 10-14 day processing time for initial unemployment claims, which was expedited to seven days in response to unprecedented demands of COVID-19, to investigate and prevent fraud and further enhance security of the unemployment system.

"The Maine Department of Labor takes its responsibility to uphold the integrity of the unemployment program very seriously," Commissioner Laura Fortman said. MDOL will continue to work with our federal and state law enforcement partners to investigate and prevent fraud, while paying benefits to eligible Maine workers as quickly as possible.

These steps come as Maine, like other states, partners with the Federal government to combat fraudulent activity. The Maine Department of Labor is working with the U.S. Attorneys Office, Maine Attorney Generals Office, Maine State Police, Maine State Treasurer, U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General, U.S. Secret Service, Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcements Homeland Security Investigations and the FBI are working together to investigate and stop the fraudulent unemployment claims. In Maine, the U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General are spearheading the federal investigative effort.

In addition to the steps outlined above, Maine has joined a state-federal task force to detect and prevent fraud and is also:

  • Coordinating with financial institutions to identify suspicious accounts;
  • Reviewing system changes needed to increase fraud detection; and
  • Blocking web addresses linked to fraud here in Maine and in other states.

If you believe that someone else has used your information to file a fraudulent unemployment application, please notify the Maine Department of Labor immediately at https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/ .

Suspected fraud can also be reported to the National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form or (866) 720-5721.

If you think someone is using your personal information to open accounts, file taxes or make purchases, visit https://ww.identitytheft.gov to report and recover from identity theft. Additional identity theft resources can be found at https://www.maine.gov/ag/privacy/identity_theft.shtml or https://www.ftc.gov/faq/consumer-protection/report-identity-theft/ .

The Department of Justice put out a press release on unemployment fraud this morning: https://www.maine.gov/labor/news_events/article.shtml?id=2579879

Maine Dept. of Labor and Law Enforcement Investigating Fraud Bookmark and Share

May 27, 2020

For Immediate Release: May 27, 2020

Maine Dept. of Labor and Law Enforcement Investigating Fraud

AUGUSTA - As part of its effort to investigate, prevent, and stop fraud perpetrated by criminals, the Maine Department of Labor has received some 1,000 reports of potential unemployment imposter fraud that are now under investigation.

Imposter fraud is when a person's Personally Identifiable Information, or PII, is stolen and used illegally to apply for unemployment benefits. Maine is one of many U.S. states victimized by this criminal behavior and is working in close collaboration with state and federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies to investigate it.

The Department expects the number of reported claims linked to imposter fraud to increase as the investigation continues. To date, the Department has identified and cancelled some 2,200 unemployment claims determined to be fraudulent.

"While fraud is not new or unique, organized criminals across the nation are now targeting unemployment programs expanded during the pandemic in unprecedented ways," Commissioner Laura Fortman said. The Department of Labor takes our responsibility to defend the integrity of Maines unemployment seriously and we will continue to work closely with state and federal law enforcement officers to prevent, identify, and rectify cases of fraud wherever they occur.

In Maine, the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General and U.S. Secret Service are spearheading the Federal investigative effort. The Maine Department of Labor is working with the U.S. Attorneys Office, the Maine Attorney Generals Office, Maine State Police, Maine State Treasurer, U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General, U.S. Secret Service, Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcements Homeland Security Investigations and the FBI to investigate and stop the fraudulent unemployment claims.

An amount paid to potentially fraudulent claims made in Maine remains under investigation and is not yet available. Based on the experience of other states, illegal benefit payments made to fraudulent claims could total in the millions.

The Maine Attorney Generals Office strongly encourages any Maine people who believe their Personally Identifying Information may be compromised to take precautions.

The recent increase in unemployment insurance fraud highlights that identity theft in all forms is a persistent threat to Maine consumers, said Attorney General Aaron M. Frey. I urge all Mainers to take simple, common-sense steps to protect themselves.

The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) lists resources on their website to assist consumers with protecting themselves against identity theft and fraud. Individuals can also contact the Consumer Protection Division of the OAG at 1-800-436-2131 or via email at Consumer.Mediation@maine.gov .

Victims of identity theft and fraud will not have to repay unemployment benefits that were illegally applied for using their stolen information. Additionally, if a victim later needs to apply for unemployment benefits, they will still be able to do so.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/ .

The Department of Labor has taken a series of steps to investigate and prevent fraud and further enhance security of Maines unemployment system. The Department is:

  • Temporarily pausing benefits for 48 hours this week to allow the Department to remove suspected fraudulent claims;
  • Reinstating its normal 10-14 day processing time for initial unemployment claims, which had been expedited in response to the unprecedented demands of COVID-19;
  • Joining a state and federal task force to detect and prevent fraud;
  • Coordinating with financial institutions to identify suspicious accounts;
  • Reviewing system changes needed to increase fraud detection; and
  • Blocking web addresses linked to fraud in Maine and in other states.

The Department of Labor will continue to provide updates as information becomes available

Maine Department of Labor Cancels Thousands of Suspected Fraudulent Unemployment Claims, Asks for Claimants to Verify Identity Bookmark and Share

June 4, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 4, 2020

Maine Department of Labor Cancels Thousands of Suspected Fraudulent Unemployment Claims, Asks for Claimants to Verify Identity

AUGUSTA - The Maine Department of Labor, as part of its continuing investigation into organized criminal unemployment imposter fraud, cancelled over 12,000 initial claims and 16,800 weekly certifications that were suspected to be fraudulent, during the week ending May 30.

Unemployment imposter fraud is when a person's Personally Identifiable Information, or PII, is stolen by criminals from outside the unemployment system and used illegally to apply for unemployment benefits. Maine is one of many U.S. states working in close collaboration with state and federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies to investigate, stop, and prevent it.

The Department has received about 10,000 reports of potential unemployment imposter fraud so far that are under investigation. Some reports could be duplicates, if both the claimant and their employer reported the same instance of fraud.

"The magnitude of this organized criminal attack on our system is causing some legitimate claims to require additional verification," Commissioner Fortman said. We know these benefits are a lifeline for many Maine people during this unprecedented time, and the Department will work as hard as we can to distribute benefits as quickly as we can while we continue to combat this criminal activity.

As the Department announced last week, MDOL put a 48-72 hours hold on benefit payments to review claims for fraud. Many of those payments were released last Thursday. However, claims flagged as potentially fraudulent which show a status of paid, with a date of 9/9/9999 now require independent verification of identity.

The Department believes some held claims are likely legitimate and has created a streamlined process for people who believe their claim was cancelled or held for review incorrectly to provide proof of ID in order to reinstate their claims.

Those whose claims were cancelled for suspected fraud or whose claim has been flagged for potential fraud (showing a 9/9/9999), must email the Maine Department of Labor at its secure email IDVerification.UC@maine.gov and provide scans or photos of TWO forms of identification, one of which must be a government issued photo ID, along with a photo of themselves taken at the time of submission.

Photo IDs could include:

  • Drivers license
  • Passport
  • Military ID

Non-photo documentation could include:

  • Social Security Card
  • A recent utility bill that shows your name and residential address
  • Birth certificate

A team of trained law enforcement officers have been provided to the Department to expedite the validation of identities and release legitimate claims. Documentation will be worked through in the order it is submitted to the Department. As claims are reviewed and determined to be valid, payments will be released.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/.

Maine is one of many states investigating criminal unemployment imposter fraud with the U.S. Attorney's Office, Maine Department of Labor, Maine Attorney Generals Office, Maine IT, Maine State Police, Maine State Treasurer, U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General, U.S. Secret Service, Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcements Homeland Security Investigations and the FBI are working together to investigate and stop the fraudulent unemployment claims. In Maine, the U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General are spearheading the federal investigative effort. Based on the experience in other states, the Department believes the cost of the fraud could total tens of millions of dollars.

Dept. of Labor Cancels Thousands of Suspected Fraudulent Claims Week Ending June 6 Bookmark and Share

June 11, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 11, 2020

Dept. of Labor Cancels Thousands of Suspected Fraudulent Claims Week Ending June 6

AUGUSTA - The Maine Department of Labor is continuing to work with its state and federal law enforcement partners to investigate criminal unemployment imposter fraud. During the week ending June 6, the Maine Department of Labor cancelled about 6,500 initial claims and 11,500 weekly certifications suspected of being fraudulent.

To date, the Department has received over 17,000 reports of unemployment imposter fraud, some of which could be duplicates if both the employee and employer reported the fraud. The extent of potential unemployment imposter fraud remains under investigation.

Unemployment imposter fraud is when a person's Personally Identifiable Information, or PII, is stolen from outside the unemployment system and used illegally to apply for unemployment benefits. Maine is one of many U.S. states working in close collaboration with state and federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies to investigate and prevent it. Based on the experience of other states, the amount lost to fraud may be in the tens of millions.

The U.S. Attorney's Office, Maine Department of Labor, Maine Attorney Generals Office, Maine IT, Maine State Police, Maine State Treasurer, U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General, U.S. Secret Service, Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcements Homeland Security Investigations and the FBI are working together to investigate and stop the fraudulent unemployment claims. In Maine, the U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General are spearheading the federal investigative effort.

"The magnitude of fraudulent claims, and the amount of funds at risk of being lost to criminals, necessitated serious measures not taken under normal circumstances," said Commissioner Laura Fortman. The Department is working hard to get Mainers the benefits they deserve, and stop organized fraudsters and scammers from stealing from innocent workers and employers.

On May 26, the Department announced at https://www.maine.gov/labor/news_events/article.shtml?id=2584216, a temporary hold on benefit payments in light of rising awareness of fraud. On May 28, the Department released $76 million in benefits to about 65,000 people following its review. About $13 million in benefits filed by 2,200 individuals were cancelled as a fraudulent.

Another $49 million filed by 14,700 remained under review, based on indicators for fraud shared by Integrity Data Hub at https://integrity.naswa.org/data-hub/, a database of fraudulent unemployment activity across the country, and by state and federal law enforcement authorities. These claims, which show a status of paid with a date of 9/9/9999, now require independent verification of identity.

The Department believes some legitimate claims are being flagged as potentially fraudulent, through no fault of the claimant. The Department has created a secure process for people who believe their claim was cancelled or held for review incorrectly to provide proof of ID to reinstate their claims.

Those whose claims were cancelled for suspected fraud or whose claim has been flagged for potential fraud (showing a 9/9/9999), must email the Maine Department of Labor at its secure email IDVerification.UC@maine.gov and provide scans or photos of TWO forms of identification, one of which must be a government issued photo ID, along with a photo of themselves taken at the time of submission.

Photo IDs could include:

  • Drivers license
  • Passport
  • Military ID

Non-photo documentation could include:

  • Social Security Card
  • A recent utility bill that shows your name and residential address
  • Birth certificate

To expedite verifications, 16 law enforcement officers from the Maine Department of Corrections are now working with the department on a temporary basis to review identity documentation. Documentation will be worked through in the order it is submitted to the Department. As claims are reviewed and determined to be valid, payments will be released.

To date, the department has received 6,600 emails with supporting documentation to prove an individuals identity. Many of these are duplicates from claimants sending in verification multiple times. The Department requests that anyone trying to resolve a claim only submit their documentation once, as multiple submissions could cause further delays.

To date, over 3,500 claims have been verified and reinstated.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/ .

Read MDOL Commissioner Laura Fortman's Remarks to the Maine Legislature dated May 6, 2020 Bookmark and Share

June 12, 2020

Download the remarks of MDOL Commissioner Laura Fortman to the Maine Legislature's Committee on Labor and Housing at the hearing of May 6, 2020.

Supporting documents

PDF version

Word version

Read MDOL Commissioner Laura Fortman's letter to the Maine Legislature dated June 11, 2020 Bookmark and Share

June 12, 2020

Download MDOL Commissioner Laura Fortman's letter to the Maine Legislature dated June 11, 2020

Supporting documents

(PDF) Commissioner Laura Fortman's letter to the Maine Legislature.

Dept. of Labor Cancels Thousands of Suspected Fraudulent Claims Week Ending June 13 Bookmark and Share

June 18, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 18, 2020

Dept. of Labor Cancels Thousands of Suspected Fraudulent Claims Week Ending June 13

AUGUSTA - The Maine Department of Labor is continuing to work with its state and federal law enforcement partners to investigate criminal unemployment imposter fraud. During the week ending June 13, the Maine Department of Labor cancelled about 3,500 initial claims and 8,400 weekly certifications suspected of being fraudulent.

To date, the Department has received over 21,400 reports of unemployment imposter fraud, some of which are duplicates if both the employee and employer reported the fraud. The extent of potential unemployment imposter fraud remains under investigation.

Unemployment imposter fraud is when a person's Personally Identifiable Information, or PII, is stolen from outside the unemployment system and used illegally to apply for unemployment benefits. Maine is one of many U.S. states working in close collaboration with state and federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies to investigate and prevent it. Based on the experience of other states, the amount lost to fraud may be in the tens of millions.

The U.S. Attorney's Office, Maine Department of Labor, Maine Attorney Generals Office, Maine IT, Maine State Police, Maine State Treasurer, U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General, U.S. Secret Service, Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcements Homeland Security Investigations and the FBI are working together to investigate and stop the fraudulent unemployment claims. In Maine, the U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General are spearheading the federal investigative effort.

The Department announced - https://www.maine.gov/labor/news_events/article.shtml?id=2687943 last week that some claims were flagged for potential fraud, and that those claimants would need to submit ID verification documents to the department, to be reviewed by law enforcement officers.

"Since last week, we have doubled the number of law enforcement officers working with us to a total of 30," Commissioner Laura Fortman said. We regret that some people with legitimate claims must take this extra step to receive their benefits, but it is necessary to do this verification in order to ensure that criminals stealing innocent peoples personal information are not receiving money meant for the people of Maine.

To date, the department has received close to 13,000 emails with supporting documentation to prove an individuals identity. Many are duplicates from claimants sending in verification multiple times. The Department requests that anyone trying to resolve a claim only submit their documentation once, as multiple submissions could cause further delays.

To date, almost 7,300 claims have been verified and reinstated. By the end of the week, the Department expects to complete the verification of emails sent in so far, thanks to the partnership with the Department of Corrections. Moving forward, there will need to be continued maintenance as new potentially fraudulent claims are identified and documentation will need to be verified.

The Department and its partners are vigorously pursuing cases of unemployment imposter fraud. The investigation is ongoing, and new incidences of potential fraud are identified every day.

Those whose claims were cancelled for suspected fraud or whose claim has been flagged for potential fraud (showing a 9/9/9999), must email the Maine Department of Labor at its secure email IDVerification.UC@maine.gov and provide scans or photos of TWO forms of identification, one of which must be a government issued photo ID, along with a photo of themselves taken at the time of submission.

Photo IDs could include: - Drivers license - Passport - Military ID

Non-photo documentation could include: - A recent utility bill that shows your name and residential address - Social Security Card - Birth certificate

To expedite verifications, law enforcement officers from the Maine Department of Corrections are working with the department on a temporary basis to review identity documentation. Documentation will be worked through in the order it is submitted to the Department. As claims are reviewed and determined to be valid, payments are released.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/ .

Dept. of Labor Cancels Thousands of Suspected Fraudulent Claims Week Ending June 20 Bookmark and Share

June 25, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 25, 2020

Dept. of Labor Cancels Thousands of Suspected Fraudulent Claims Week Ending June 20

AUGUSTA - The Maine Department of Labor is continuing to work with its state and federal law enforcement partners to investigate criminal unemployment imposter fraud. During the week ending June 20, the Maine Department of Labor cancelled about 1,900 initial claims and 4,300 weekly certifications suspected of being fraudulent.

This means that between week ending May 30 through week ending June 20, the Department has cancelled roughly 23,900 initial claims and 41,000 weekly certifications that were determined to be fraudulent.

To date, the Department has received roughly 24,700 reports of unemployment imposter fraud, some of which are duplicates if both the employee and employer reported the fraud. The extent of potential unemployment imposter fraud remains under investigation.

Unemployment imposter fraud is when a person's Personally Identifiable Information, or PII, is stolen from outside the unemployment system and used illegally to apply for unemployment benefits. Maine is one of many U.S. states working in close collaboration with state and federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies to investigate and prevent it. Based on the experience of other states, the amount lost to fraud may be in the tens of millions.

The U.S. Attorney's Office, Maine Department of Labor, Maine Attorney Generals Office, Maine IT, Maine State Police, Maine State Treasurer, U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General, U.S. Secret Service, Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcements Homeland Security Investigations and the FBI are working together to investigate and stop the fraudulent unemployment claims. In Maine, the U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General are spearheading the federal investigative effort.

"In light of extensive identity theft and unemployment fraud being investigated across the country, the Maine Department of Labor is holding claims that are potentially fraudulent," Commissioner Laura Fortman said. We recognize that some legitimate claims are being held as part of this crucial effort. We are working as quickly as possible to separate the valid claims from claims filed by criminals. To date, we have reinstated about 9,700 claims to hardworking Mainers.

The Department and its partners are vigorously pursuing cases of unemployment imposter fraud. The investigation is ongoing, and new incidences of potential fraud are identified every day.

Those whose claims were cancelled for suspected fraud or whose claim has been flagged for potential fraud (showing a 9/9/9999), must email the Maine Department of Labor at its secure email IDVerification.UC@maine.gov and provide scans or photos of TWO forms of identification, one of which must be a government issued photo ID, along with a clear and recent photo of themselves taken at the time of submission.

Photo IDs could include: - Drivers license - Passport - Military ID

Non-photo documentation could include: - A recent utility bill that shows your name and residential address - Social Security Card - Birth certificate

To expedite verifications, law enforcement officers from the Maine Department of Corrections are working with the department on a temporary basis to review identity documentation. A confirmation message should be received after submission. Documentation will be worked through in the order it is submitted to the Department. As claims are reviewed and determined to be valid, payments are released.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/ .

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending June 27 Bookmark and Share

July 2, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 2, 2020

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending June 27

AUGUSTA - For the week ending June 27, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 3,000 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and an additional 2,200 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). These claims represent about 4,100 individuals filing an initial claim.

About 62,300 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment. In addition, about 28,000 weekly certifications were filed under PUA. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits. Data is preliminary and subject to revision.

Between March 15 and June 27, the Maine Department of Labor has seen about 165,000 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 74,600 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. There have been over 1.4 million weekly certifications filed, and the Department has paid out more than $957 million in federal and state unemployment benefits. Total benefits to Maine workers delivered by the Department during the pandemic are expected to surpass $1 billion within the next week.

"As we see the economy reopening, we want to make sure that people are aware of MDOL services to help Mainers re-enter the workforce," Commissioner Laura Fortman said. With the work search waiver coming to an end July 11 for those who are not connected to an employer, now is the time to sign up for the free Maine JobLink, look into CareerCenter services such as resume building and training information, and begin thinking about their next steps.

The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims as it investigates unemployment imposter fraud. Unemployment imposter fraud is when a person's Personally Identifiable Information, or PII, is stolen and used illegally to apply for unemployment benefits. Maine is one of many U.S. states working in close collaboration with state and federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies to investigate and prevent it.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/ .

Data on initial and continued claims, benefits paid, contributions received, the balance of the unemployment insurance trust fund, as well as other information, is available at https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html .

If you have not yet applied, you can do so at https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ . Click on the ReEmployME icon in the bottom left of the page. You will be prompted to create a claimant account, after which you can submit an unemployment claim and file your weekly certifications. Dont forget to verify your email address and sign up for direct deposit. There is no separate application for PUA. The application process will make the determination of whether you are eligible for state or PUA benefits based on your answers to questions. PUA benefits are available to anyone who is self-employed and does not receive W2 wages, regardless of the profitability of your business.

The Department of Labor recommends filing your claims online with a computer, as opposed to a smartphone, and during evening hours when internet traffic is less congested. The Department has implemented an alphabetical call in schedule to help reduce phone line congestion as the Department ramps up its capacity to receive and process claims. Last names beginning with A-H should call on Monday, I-Q on Tuesday; and R-Z on Wednesday. Thursday and Friday are left unassigned for those who miss their alphabetical day or need to call at that time.

Phone lines are open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and may be reached at 1-800-593-7660. Roughly 2,000 calls are answered per day. Those who are unable to connect with a claims representative should submit a message at https://www.maine.gov/labor/contact .

For more information and resources, visit the Departments unemployment page: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment.

Follow the Maine Department of Labor on Facebook @MElabor and Twitter @maine_labor.

MDOL Investigation Into Suspected Fraudulent Claims Continues Bookmark and Share

July 2, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 2, 2020

MDOL Investigation Into Suspected Fraudulent Claims Continues

AUGUSTA - The Maine Department of Labor is continuing to work with its state and federal law enforcement partners to investigate criminal unemployment imposter fraud. During the week ending June 27, the Maine Department of Labor cancelled about 720 initial claims and 3,000 weekly certifications suspected of being fraudulent.

"Between week ending May 30 through week ending June 27, the Department has cancelled roughly 24,600 initial claims and 44,000 weekly certifications that were determined to be fraudulent," Commissioner Laura Fortman said. We continue to refine the fraud filters so that we prevent fraudulent claims while at the same time provide the least disruption for Maine people who need these funds.

To date, the Department has received roughly 26,100 reports of unemployment imposter fraud, some of which are duplicates if both the employee and employer reported the fraud. The Department has also reinstated almost 11,000 claims to legitimate claimants that had been flagged for potential fraud.

The extent of potential unemployment imposter fraud remains under investigation.

Unemployment imposter fraud is when a person's Personally Identifiable Information, or PII, is stolen from outside the unemployment system and used illegally to apply for unemployment benefits. Maine is one of many U.S. states working in close collaboration with state and federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies to investigate and prevent it. Based on the experience of other states, the amount lost to fraud may be in the tens of millions.

The U.S. Attorney's Office, Maine Department of Labor, Maine Attorney Generals Office, Maine IT, Maine State Police, Maine State Treasurer, U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General, U.S. Secret Service, Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcements Homeland Security Investigations and the FBI are working together to investigate and stop the fraudulent unemployment claims. In Maine, the U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General are spearheading the federal investigative effort.

The Department and its partners are vigorously pursuing cases of unemployment imposter fraud. The investigation is ongoing, and new incidences of potential fraud are identified every day.

Those whose claims were cancelled for suspected fraud or whose claim has been flagged for potential fraud (showing a paid date of 9/9/9999), must verify their identity in order to reinstate the claim. To do so, claimants should go online to the ReEmployME homepage at https://reemployme.maine.gov and follow the below directions:

  • Select Upload Documents for Identity Verification located just above the login link and provide the following: TWO forms of identification (scans or photos are okay), one of which must be a government issued photo ID.

Government issued photo IDs are:

  • Drivers license
  • Passport
  • Military ID
  • Federal or State employee ID

Non-photo documentation could include:

  • A recent utility bill that shows your name and residential address
  • Social Security Card
  • Birth certificate

To expedite verifications, law enforcement officers from the Maine Department of Corrections are working with the department on a temporary basis to review identity documentation. Documentation will be worked through in the order it is submitted to the Department. As claims are reviewed and determined to be valid, payments are released.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/ .

Maine Department of Labor surpasses $1 billion in benefits paid during pandemic Bookmark and Share

July 9, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 9, 2020

Maine Department of Labor surpasses $1 billion in benefits paid during pandemic

AUGUSTA - For the week ending July 4, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 2,800 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 2,300 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). These claims represent about 2,800 individuals filing an initial claim.

About 62,600 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment. In addition, about 24,700 weekly certifications were filed under PUA. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

Between March 15 and July 4, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out about $1.03 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits. By comparison, the Department paid out nearly $73.9 million in unemployment benefits in 2019.

"Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Department has paid out over $1 billion dollars in state and federal unemployment benefits," Commissioner Laura Fortman said. Infusing $1 billion dollars into the Maine economy has been a lifeline for both workers and communities.

From March 15 to July 4 period, the Department has handled approximately 168,000 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 77,000 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. There have been about 1.6 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. The official unemployment rate and accompanying economic data for June will be released on July 17, which will give a clearer picture of the state's economy.

Fraud Update

The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims as it investigates unemployment imposter fraud.

During the week ending July 4, the Department cancelled about 400 initial claims and 2,400 weekly certifications that were determined to be fraudulent.

In total, between the week ending May 30 through week ending July 4, the Department has cancelled roughly 25,000 initial claims and 46,400 weekly certifications that were determined to be fraudulent.

To date, the Department has received over 27,000 reports of unemployment imposter fraud, some of which are duplicates if both the employee and employer reported the fraud. The Department has also reinstated almost 11,600 claims to legitimate claimants that had been flagged for potential fraud.

Unemployment imposter fraud is when a persons Personally Identifiable Information, or PII, is stolen and used illegally to apply for unemployment benefits. Maine is one of many U.S. states working in close collaboration with state and federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies to investigate and prevent it.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/ .

The investigation is ongoing, and new incidences of potential fraud are identified every day.

Those whose claims were cancelled for suspected fraud or whose claim has been flagged for potential fraud (showing a paid date of 9/9/9999), must verify their identity in order to reinstate the claim. To do so, claimants should go online to the ReEmployME homepage at https://reemployme.maine.gov and follow the below directions:

Select Upload Documents for Identity Verification located just above the login link and provide the following: TWO forms of identification (scans or photos are okay), one of which must be a government issued photo ID.

Government issued photo IDs are:

  • Drivers license
  • Passport
  • Military ID
  • Federal or State employee ID

Non-photo documentation could include:

  • A recent utility bill that shows your name and residential address
  • Social Security Card
  • Birth certificate

To expedite verifications, law enforcement officers from the Maine Department of Corrections are working with the department on a temporary basis to review identity documentation. Documentation will be worked through in the order it is submitted to the Department. As claims are reviewed and determined to be valid, payments are released.

Data on initial and continued claims, benefits paid, contributions received, the balance of the unemployment insurance trust fund, as well as other information, is available at https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html .

Note: Claims data is production numbers, and do not equal the amount of individual people filing a claim.

If you have not yet applied, you can do so at https://www.maine.gov/unemployment . Click on the ReEmployME icon in the bottom left of the page. You will be prompted to create a claimant account, after which you can submit an unemployment claim and file your weekly certifications. Dont forget to verify your email address and sign up for direct deposit. There is no separate application for PUA. The application process will make the determination of whether you are eligible for state or PUA benefits based on your answers to questions. PUA benefits are available to anyone who is self-employed and does not receive W2 wages, regardless of the profitability of your business.

The Department of Labor recommends filing your claims online with a computer, as opposed to a smartphone, and during evening hours when internet traffic is less congested. The Department has implemented an alphabetical call in schedule to help reduce phone line congestion as the Department ramps up its capacity to receive and process claims. Last names beginning with A-H should call on Monday, I-Q on Tuesday; and R-Z on Wednesday. Thursday and Friday are left unassigned for those who miss their alphabetical day or need to call at that time.

Phone lines are open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and may be reached at 1-800-593-7660. Roughly 2,000 calls are answered per day. Those who are unable to connect with a claims representative should submit a message at https://www.maine.gov/labor/contact .

For more information and resources, visit the Departments unemployment page: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment .

Follow the Maine Department of Labor on Facebook @MElabor and Twitter @maine_labor.

Maine Department of Labor Announces Changes to Work Search Requirements for Unemployed Mainers Bookmark and Share

July 10, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 10, 2020

Maine Department of Labor Announces Changes to Work Search Requirements for Unemployed Mainers

AUGUSTA - In accordance with the recent extension through August 6 of the state's Civil Emergency due to COVID-19, the Department of Labor is further waiving the work search requirement for Maine people receiving unemployment benefits.

The work search waiver for workers temporarily laid off from their jobs, and who expect to return to them, now runs through September 5. This waiver was granted by emergency legislation on March 17 and extended the work search waiver for 30 days after the end of a civil emergency declaration.

The Department has also extended the work search through July 18 for anyone permanently laid off or not expecting to return to their employer. After July 18, they will be required to search for work in order to continue receiving benefits.

After July 18, all claimants will need to report on a weekly basis:

  • the employers that they have sought work from in the past week, or,

  • the employer to which they will be returning

Those who are still connected to their employer, and therefore not required to search for other work until September 5, must still be able and available to work for their employer.

Despite these extensions, the Department encourages all claimants to create a Maine JobLink account, update their resume, and explore online CareerCenter services. The Maine JobLink and CareerCenter services can be found here: https://www.mainecareercenter.gov .

If an employer has offered work to an employee and had it refused, they should notify the Department, so a fact-finding can be held to determine if there was good cause for the refusal of work. If not, then the claimant would no longer be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Employers can report refusals of work here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ucbr/

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending July 11 Bookmark and Share

July 16, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 16, 2020

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending July 11

AUGUSTA - For the week ending July 11, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 4,600 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 3,400 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). These claims represent about 4,400 individuals filing an initial claim.

While there is always a slight uptick in unemployment claims filed in early July due to temporary mill and factory shutdowns, because of widespread fraud attacks on unemployment insurance programs across the country, the Department is actively analyzing this increase.

About 60,000 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment. In addition, about 23,900 weekly certifications were filed under PUA. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

Between March 15 and July 11, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out about $1.1 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits. By comparison, the Department paid out less than $74 million in unemployment benefits in all of 2019.

The Department has handled approximately 172,400 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 80,200 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. There have been about 1.68 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Tomorrow morning, July 17, the Department of Labor will release monthly workforce data on the employment situation in June. That data on the change in payroll jobs and the unemployment rate provides the best indication of workforce conditions.

Fraud Update

The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims as it investigates unemployment imposter fraud.

During the week ending July 11, the Department cancelled about 300 initial claims and 1,800 weekly certifications that were determined to be fraudulent.

In total, between the week ending May 30 through week ending July 11, the Department has cancelled over 25,000 initial claims and 48,000 weekly certifications that were determined to be fraudulent.

To date, the Department has received about 19,400 unique reports of unemployment imposter fraud. This number does not include the duplicate reports that had been included in previous weeks. The Department has also reinstated almost 13,800 claims to legitimate claimants that had been flagged for potential fraud.

Unemployment imposter fraud is when a person's Personally Identifiable Information, or PII, is stolen and used illegally to apply for unemployment benefits. Maine is one of many U.S. states working in close collaboration with state and federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies to investigate and prevent it.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/ .

The investigation is ongoing, and new incidences of potential fraud are identified every day.

Those whose claims were cancelled for suspected fraud or whose claim has been flagged for potential fraud (showing a paid date of 9/9/9999), must verify their identity in order to reinstate the claim. To do so, claimants should go online to the ReEmployME homepage at https://reemployme.maine.gov and follow the below directions:

Select "Upload Documents for Identity Verification" located just above the login link and provide the following: TWO forms of identification (scans or photos are okay), one of which must be a government issued photo ID.

Government issued photo IDs are:

  • Drivers license
  • Passport
  • Military ID
  • Federal or State employee ID

Non-photo documentation could include:

  • A recent utility bill that shows your name and residential address
  • Social Security Card
  • Birth certificate

To expedite verifications, law enforcement officers from the Maine Department of Corrections are working with the department on a temporary basis to review identity documentation. Documentation will be worked through in the order it is submitted to the Department. As claims are reviewed and determined to be valid, payments are released.

Data on initial and continued claims, benefits paid, contributions received, the balance of the unemployment insurance trust fund, as well as other information, is available at https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html .

Note: Claims data is production numbers, and do not equal the amount of individual people filing a claim.

If you have not yet applied, you can do so at https://www.maine.gov/unemployment . Click on the ReEmployME icon in the bottom left of the page. You will be prompted to create a claimant account, after which you can submit an unemployment claim and file your weekly certifications. Dont forget to verify your email address and sign up for direct deposit. There is no separate application for PUA. The application process will make the determination of whether you are eligible for state or PUA benefits based on your answers to questions. PUA benefits are available to anyone who is self-employed and does not receive W2 wages, regardless of the profitability of your business.

The Department of Labor recommends filing your claims online with a computer, as opposed to a smartphone, and during evening hours when internet traffic is less congested. The Department has implemented an alphabetical call in schedule to help reduce phone line congestion as the Department ramps up its capacity to receive and process claims. Last names beginning with A-H should call on Monday, I-Q on Tuesday; and R-Z on Wednesday. Thursday and Friday are left unassigned for those who miss their alphabetical day or need to call at that time.

Phone lines are open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and may be reached at 1-800-593-7660. Roughly 2,000 calls are answered per day. Those who are unable to connect with a claims representative should submit a message at https://www.maine.gov/labor/contact .

For more information and resources, visit the Departments unemployment page: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment .

Follow the Maine Department of Labor on Facebook @MElabor and Twitter @maine_labor.

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending July 18 Bookmark and Share

July 23, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 23, 2020

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending July 18

AUGUSTA - For the week ending July 18, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 2,200 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 1,600 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). These claims represent about 2,300 individuals filing an initial claim.

About 59,900 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment. In addition, about 25,000 weekly certifications were filed under PUA. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

Between March 15 and July 18, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $1.17 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits. By comparison, the Department paid out less than $74 million in unemployment benefits in all of 2019.

The Department has handled approximately 174,600 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 81,900 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. There have been about 1.77 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision.

Fraud Update

The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims as it investigates unemployment imposter fraud.

During the week ending July 18, the Department cancelled about 1,300 initial claims and 195 weekly certifications that were determined to be fraudulent.

To date, the Department has received about 20,000 unique reports of unemployment imposter fraud. This number does not include the duplicate reports that had been included in previous weeks. The Department has also reinstated almost 15,000 claims to legitimate claimants that had been flagged for potential fraud.

Unemployment imposter fraud is when a person's Personally Identifiable Information, or PII, is stolen and used illegally to apply for unemployment benefits. Maine is one of many U.S. states working in close collaboration with state and federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies to investigate and prevent it.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/.

The investigation is ongoing, and new incidences of potential fraud are identified every day.

Those whose claims were cancelled for suspected fraud or whose claim has been flagged for potential fraud (showing a paid date of 9/9/9999), must verify their identity in order to reinstate the claim. To do so, claimants should go online to the ReEmployME homepage at https://reemployme.maine.gov and follow the below directions:

Select "Upload Documents for Identity Verification" located just above the login link and provide the following:

TWO forms of identification (scans or photos are okay), one of which must be a government issued photo ID.

Government issued photo IDs are:

  • Drivers license
  • Passport
  • Military ID
  • Federal or State employee ID

Non-photo documentation could include:

  • A recent utility bill that shows your name and residential address
  • Social Security Card
  • Birth certificate

To expedite verifications, law enforcement officers from the Maine Department of Corrections are working with the department on a temporary basis to review identity documentation. Documentation will be worked through in the order it is submitted to the Department. As claims are reviewed and determined to be valid, payments are released.

Data on initial and continued claims, benefits paid, contributions received, the balance of the unemployment insurance trust fund, as well as other information, is available at https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html .

Note: Claims data is production numbers, and do not equal the amount of individual people filing a claim. If you have not yet applied, you can do so at https://www.maine.gov/unemployment . Click on the ReEmployME icon in the bottom left of the page. You will be prompted to create a claimant account, after which you can submit an unemployment claim and file your weekly certifications. Dont forget to verify your email address and sign up for direct deposit. There is no separate application for PUA. The application process will make the determination of whether you are eligible for state or PUA benefits based on your answers to questions. PUA benefits are available to anyone who is self-employed and does not receive W2 wages, regardless of the profitability of your business.

The Department of Labor recommends filing your claims online with a computer, as opposed to a smartphone, and during evening hours when internet traffic is less congested. The Department has implemented an alphabetical call in schedule to help reduce phone line congestion as the Department ramps up its capacity to receive and process claims. Last names beginning with A-H should call on Monday, I-Q on Tuesday; and R-Z on Wednesday. Thursday and Friday are left unassigned for those who miss their alphabetical day or need to call at that time.

Phone lines are open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and may be reached at 1-800-593-7660. Roughly 2,000 calls are answered per day. Those who are unable to connect with a claims representative should submit a message at https://www.maine.gov/labor/contact .

For more information and resources, visit the Departments unemployment page: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment. Follow the Maine Department of Labor on Facebook @MElabor and Twitter @maine_labor.

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending July 25 Bookmark and Share

July 30, 2020

For Immediate Release: July 30, 2020

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending July 25

AUGUSTA - For the week ending July 25, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 2,000 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 600 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). These claims represent about 2,100 individuals filing an initial claim.

About 61,200 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment. In addition, about 26,000 weekly certifications were filed under PUA. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

Between March 15 and July 25, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $1.24 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits. By comparison, the Department paid out less than $74 million in unemployment benefits in all of 2019.

The Department has handled approximately 176,600 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 82,500 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. There have been almost 1.87 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html

Fraud Update

The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims as it investigates unemployment imposter fraud. During the week ending July 25, the Department cancelled about 670 initial claims and 260 weekly certifications that were determined to be fraudulent.

Unemployment imposter fraud is when a person's Personally Identifiable Information, or PII, is stolen and used illegally to apply for unemployment benefits. Maine is one of many U.S. states working in close collaboration with state and federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies to investigate and prevent it.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form:

https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/

Other Updates:

Eligibility for the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program, or the additional weekly $600, ended with benefit payments for the week ending July 25, 2020. This means that most people, depending on when they file their weekly certification for the week ending July 25, would receive that last payment during the week of July 26-August 1.

This is a federal program, and the Department is monitoring Congressional action for any possible extensions or changes to the FPUC program.

PUA Benefits:

The Maine Department of Labor (MDOL) is continuing to update the weekly benefit payments for people currently enrolled in the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. This involves matching current tax information to individual claims to pay Maine people their full benefit, retroactive to the date of their PUA eligibility.

Launched in Maine in May, PUA is one of three new federal unemployment programs created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It covers workers previously ineligible for unemployment, such as the self-employed and gig workers, and is available through the week ending December 26, 2020.

To expedite payments to Mainers during COVID-19, MDOL approved the minimum state PUA benefit of $172 per week for all those eligible for PUA, pending the matching of updated tax information. The PUA minimum benefit amount is federally required to be half of the state's average weekly benefit.

Self-employed individuals whose net income, or other PUA recipients whose gross wages in 2019 were below $15,224 will continue to receive the minimum benefit of $172 a week, and do not need to take any action other than continuing to file weekly certifications. Individuals with higher earnings are eligible for a maximum benefit under the PUA program of up to $445 or $462 per week, depending on whether their initial claim was filed before or after June 1.

Updating the state benefit amounts with tax information will occur in two phases.

  • Phase 1: At the end of last week MDOL began automatically matching claimants with available 2019 tax information to determine eligibility for a higher benefit amount. MDOL estimates that 60 percent of claimants will be matched automatically.

  • Phase 2: Any claimant whose information cannot be automatically matched will be asked to upload their supporting tax documents through their ReEmployME account. MDOL will contact these claimants through email and regular mail with instructions on how to upload this information. Notifications will begin later this week. Information will also be posted on the Departments website:

https://maine.gov/unemployment .

Once redeterminations are made, claimants will receive a PUA monetary redetermination letter in the mail and in their ReEmployME account stating what their new benefit amount is. If retroactive benefits are due for past weeks, they will be made within 14 days of the claimant receiving their PUA redetermination letter. Claimants have the right to appeal the determination if they believe the information is not accurate.

Work Search and Maine JobLink Workshops:

Under Maine law, all unemployment claimants are required to show that they are actively seeking work in order to receive benefits. This requirement had been temporarily waived at the start of the pandemic.

Starting with the weekly certification for the week beginning August 9, all claimants will need to either provide information on their work search activity, or attest that they are self-employed or still connected with their employer.

Prior to the requirement being reinstated, the Department will post screenshots of what the additional weekly certification page will look like on its website and identify the questions claimants will be required to answer.

All unemployment claimants required to actively search for work must create an account on the Maine JobLink: https://joblink.maine.gov/. JobLink is a free job search tool, where claimants can upload their resumes and employers can post their job openings. In anticipation of this requirement, MDOL is holding virtual JobLink workshops twice a week, at 2 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. These workshops walk participants through how to create and use a JobLink account.

More information on how to register for a workshop can be found at https://www.mainecareercenter.com/employment/workshops.shtml Those who are still connected to an employer are not required to actively search for other work until after September 5. However, they must still be able and available to work for that employer if recalled.

If an employer has offered work to an employee and that employee refused the work, the employer should notify the Department. A fact-finding would be held to determine if there was good cause for the refusal of work. If no good cause is determined, then the claimant would no longer be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Employers can report refusals of work here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ucbr/

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending August 1 Bookmark and Share

August 6, 2020

For Immediate Release: August 6, 2020

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending August 1

AUGUSTA - For the week ending August 1, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 1,600 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 470 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). These claims represent about 1,700 individuals filing an initial claim.

About 53,100 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment. In addition, about 26,400 weekly certifications were filed under PUA. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

Between March 15 and August 1, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $1.32 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits. By comparison, the Department paid out less than $74 million in unemployment benefits in all of 2019.

The Department has handled approximately 178,200 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 82,900 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. There have been almost 1.95 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here:

https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html

Other Updates:

Newly enacted federal law clarifies billing for direct reimbursable employers:

Unlike private sector employers, nonprofit and government employers can choose to either pay into the unemployment trust fund or to cover the cost of any benefits paid out directly at the time of employee separation from the employer. Private employers must contribute to the unemployment trust fund, providing support so these unemployment resources are available during economic downturns. Those employers who choose not to pay the unemployment tax are typically responsible for 100% of the cost of any benefits paid to former employees.

The CARES Act provided federal funds to reimburse 50% of the state unemployment benefits after the direct reimbursable employers paid the full cost of benefits. The Department recognized the hardship this would cause and waited to charge direct reimbursable employers for the cost of unemployment benefits.

As of August 3rd, Congress passed and the President signed a bill that stipulates states can bill and collect the 50% due from these employers directly, a more streamlined and less onerous process than had been previously required.

The Department will now be updating charges and sending out notices in the coming weeks.
As of December 31, 2019, there were slightly over 1,000 direct reimbursable employers in Maine.

Fraud Update

The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims as it investigates unemployment imposter fraud.

During the week ending August 1, the Department cancelled about 530 initial claims and 520 weekly certifications that were determined to be fraudulent.

Unemployment imposter fraud is when a person's Personally Identifiable Information, or PII, is stolen and used illegally to apply for unemployment benefits. Maine is one of many U.S. states working in close collaboration with state and federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies to investigate and prevent it.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/

Self-Employed and Other PUA Recipients Can Upload Tax Documentation:

As announced last week, recipients of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), whose income documentation was not automatically matched to their claim, can upload their tax documents within their ReEmployME account to determine if they are eligible for retroactive benefits.

Guides and a video on how to upload this information can be found on the Department's website: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/pua/taxinfo/ .

Once redeterminations are made, claimants will receive a new monetary determination letter in the mail stating what their new benefit amount is. If retroactive benefits are due for past weeks, they will be made within 14 days of the claimant receiving their PUA redetermination letter. Claimants have the right to appeal the determination if they believe the information is not accurate.

Reminder: Since Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (the federal additional $600) was a supplement paid to individuals receiving other unemployment compensation benefits, the expiration of FPUC does not affect individuals eligibility for the underlying UI programs including state UI, or the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) or Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), which remain in place for weeks of unemployment ending on December 26, 2020.

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending August 8 Bookmark and Share

August 13, 2020

For Immediate Release: August 13, 2020

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending August 8

AUGUSTA - For the week ending August 8, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 1,500 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 280 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). These claims represent about 1,500 individuals filing an initial claim.

About 50,200 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment. In addition, about 26,800 weekly certifications were filed under PUA. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

Between March 15 and August 8, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out about $1.35 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits. By comparison, the Department paid out less than $74 million in unemployment benefits in all of 2019.

The Department has handled approximately 179,700 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 83,200 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. There have been about 2.03 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html

Other Updates:

Fraud Update

The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims as it investigates unemployment imposter fraud.

During the week ending August 8, the Department cancelled about 4,000 initial claims and 650 weekly certifications that were determined to be fraudulent.

Unemployment imposter fraud is when a person's Personally Identifiable Information, or PII, is stolen and used illegally to apply for unemployment benefits. Maine is one of many U.S. states working in close collaboration with state and federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies to investigate and prevent it.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/

Work Search Requirements Reinstated for Some Claimants Began August 9 - FAQs available on website Individuals who are permanently separated from their employer were required to start engaging in work search activities this week in order to continue receiving unemployment benefits.

Individuals still connected to an employer (which includes self-employed individuals that plan to continue self-employment) are not required to actively search for work until 30 days after the state's Civil Emergency Declaration ends. With the recent extension of the civil emergency, this means that claimants who are still connected to their employer do not need to search for work until after October 3.

Starting with the weekly certification for the week of August 9 (which can be filed starting on August 16), all claimants will need to either provide information on their work search activity, or attest that they are self-employed or still connected with their employer. Work search FAQs and screenshots of the weekly certification questions can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/faq/worksearch/

In response to the circumstances caused by the pandemic, the Department has expanded possible work search activities to include opportunities to enhance individual's marketability during these challenging economic times.

Work search activities are: - Attending a job fair/virtual job fair hosted by a CareerCenter - Participating in CareerCenter virtual reemployment services - Participating in a CareerCenter virtual workshop - Applying for a job for which you are reasonably qualified - Interviewing for a job for which you are reasonably qualified - Contacting an employer to inquire as to whether the employer is hiring - Participating in professional job-related education or skills development - Participating in networking events related to a job or occupation for which you are reasonably qualified

All unemployment claimants required to actively search for work must create an account on the Maine JobLink: https://joblink.maine.gov/

JobLink is a free job search tool, where claimants can upload their resumes and employers can post their job openings. In anticipation of this requirement, MDOL is holding virtual JobLink workshops twice a week, at 2 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. These workshops walk participants through how to create and use a JobLink account.

The CareerCenters are regularly updating and adding new workshops. Information on how to register for a workshop can be found at https://www.mainecareercenter.com/employment/workshops.shtml .

Those who are still connected to an employer are not required to actively search for other work until after October 3. However, they must still be able and available to work for that employer if recalled. If an employer has offered work to an employee and that employee refused the work, the employer should notify the Department. A fact-finding would be held to determine if there was good cause for the refusal of work. If no good cause is determined, then the claimant would no longer be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Employers can report refusals of work here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ucbr/

OSHA COVID-19 Resources Bookmark and Share

August 21, 2020

Please click on the following link:

https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending August 22 Bookmark and Share

August 23, 2020

For Immediate Release: August 27, 2020

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending August 22

AUGUSTA - For the week ending August 22, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 1,100 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 1,300 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). These claims represent about 1,300 individuals filing an initial claim.

About 40,900 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment. In addition, about 23,200 weekly certifications were filed under PUA. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

Between March 15 and August 22, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out about $1.4 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits.

The Department has handled approximately 182,100 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 85,700 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. There have been about 2.18 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html

Other Updates:

Fraud Update

The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims as it investigates unemployment imposter fraud.

During the week ending August 22, the Department cancelled about 380 initial claims and 50 weekly certifications that were determined to be fraudulent.

Unemployment imposter fraud is when a person's Personally Identifiable Information, or PII, is stolen and used illegally to apply for unemployment benefits. Maine is one of many U.S. states working in close collaboration with state and federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies to investigate and prevent it.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/

FEMA Approves Maine's Application for Supplemental Unemployment Assistance

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) informed the Maine Department of Labor (MDOL) and Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) the night of August 25 that it had approved Maine's application for Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) funding, which will temporarily add $300 to the weekly unemployment benefits of eligible Mainers.

MDOL will administer the Lost Wages Assistance program. Because the program utilizes disaster relief funding through FEMA, which is outside of the unemployment insurance system and the three new programs created by Congress, MDOL is in the process of standing up an entirely new program to administer the benefits. The Department estimates this process will take approximately three weeks, after which it will be able to begin issuing the benefit. FEMA will initially provide full funding for three weeks of benefits and then, upon request, funding on a weekly basis thereafter for as long as the available funds last. Per Presidential Memorandum, the program is set to expire on December 27, 2020.

This funding was made available to states by Presidential Memorandum on August 8, 2020, after an additional $600 weekly unemployment benefit authorized by Congress expired on July 31, 2020. The Memorandum directs FEMA to make available up to $44 billion from its Disaster Relief Fund for financial assistance to Americans who have lost wages due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Per current guidance from FEMA and the U.S. Department of Labor, individuals are eligible for Lost Wages Assistance if:

  • they are eligible for unemployment benefits
  • they are eligible for a weekly benefit of at least $100
  • they are unemployed, or are partially unemployed, as a direct result of the COVID-19.

Once the program is implemented, benefits will be paid retroactively starting with the week ending August 1, 2020. The payments will be made automatically based on unemployment claims received; individuals will not need to call or apply separately for this benefit.

Answers to frequently asked questions about the LWA program are posted on the Department of Labor's website: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ . It will be updated as more information becomes available.

MDOL Announced 13 weeks of Additional Unemployment Benefits Available This Week through State Extended Benefits Program

The Maine Department of Labor announced earlier this week that the State Extended Benefit (EB) program, which provides an additional 13 weeks of benefits, was available for Maine people who have exhausted their 13-weeks of federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC).

Individuals who are permanently separated from their employer must engage in work search activities each week in order to be eligible for benefits. EB follows the same work search guidelines as regular state unemployment insurance, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), and PEUC.

In response to the circumstances caused by the pandemic, the Department expanded possible work search activities to include opportunities to enhance individual's marketability during these challenging economic times. Work search activities are:

  • Attending a job fair/virtual job fair hosted by a CareerCenter
  • Participating in CareerCenter virtual reemployment services
  • Participating in a CareerCenter virtual workshop
  • Applying for a job for which you are reasonably qualified
  • Interviewing for a job for which you are reasonably qualified
  • Contacting an employer to inquire as to whether the employer is hiring
  • Participating in professional job-related education or skills development
  • Participating in networking events related to a job or occupation for which you are reasonably qualified

More information and answers to frequently asked questions on the work search requirement can be found at: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/faq/worksearch/

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending August 29 Bookmark and Share

September 3, 2020

For Immediate Release: September 3, 2020

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending August 29 AUGUSTA - For the week ending August 29, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 1,200 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and about 2,000 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). These claims represent about 1,300 individuals filing an initial claim.

More than 38,000 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 22,000 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, just over 7,000 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program and over 500 weekly certifications were filed for the state Extended Benefits program. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

Between March 15 and August 29, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out about $1.43 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits.

The Department has handled approximately 183,300 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 87,700 initial claims for the PUA program. There have been about 2.20 million weekly certifications filed. Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here:

https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html

Other Updates:

Fraud Update

The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims as it investigates unemployment imposter fraud.

During the week ending August 29, the Department cancelled about 443 initial claims and 50 weekly certifications that were determined to be fraudulent.

Unemployment imposter fraud is when a person's Personally Identifiable Information, or PII, is stolen and used illegally to apply for unemployment benefits. Maine is one of many U.S. states working in close collaboration with state and federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies to investigate and prevent it.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form:

https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/

Lost Wages Assistance Program-FEMA Funding Approved for Supplemental Unemployment Payments

Maine applied and was approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) funding which will temporarily add $300 to the weekly unemployment benefits of eligible Mainers.

MDOL will administer the Lost Wages Assistance program and is in the process of standing up an entirely new program to administer the benefits. The Department estimates this process will take approximately three weeks, after which it will be able to begin issuing the benefit in the middle of September. FEMA will initially provide full funding for three weeks of benefits and then, upon request, funding on a weekly basis thereafter for as long as the available funds last. Per the Presidential Memorandum (Executive Order), the program is set to expire on December 27, 2020.

This funding was made available to states by Presidential Memorandum on August 8, 2020, after an additional $600 weekly unemployment benefit authorized by Congress expired on July 31, 2020. The Memorandum directs FEMA to make available up to $44 billion from its Disaster Relief Fund for financial assistance to Americans who have lost wages due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Current guidance from FEMA and the U.S. Department of Labor states that individuals are eligible for Lost Wages Assistance if:

  • they are eligible for unemployment benefits
  • they are eligible for a weekly benefit of at least $100
  • they are unemployed, or are partially unemployed, as a direct result of the COVID-19.

Once the program is implemented, benefits will be paid retroactively starting with the week ending August 1, 2020. The payments will be made automatically based on unemployment claims received; individuals will not need to call or apply separately for this benefit.

Answers to frequently asked questions about the LWA program are posted on the Department of Labor's website:

https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/.

It will be updated as more information becomes available.

Work Search

Individuals who are permanently separated from their employer must engage in work search activities each week in order to be eligible for benefits. EB follows the same work search guidelines as regular state unemployment insurance, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), and PEUC.

In response to the circumstances caused by the pandemic, the Department expanded possible work search activities to include opportunities to enhance individual's marketability during these challenging economic times. Work search activities are:

  • Attending a job fair/virtual job fair hosted by a CareerCenter
  • Participating in CareerCenter virtual reemployment services
  • Participating in a CareerCenter virtual workshop
  • Applying for a job for which you are reasonably qualified
  • Interviewing for a job for which you are reasonably qualified
  • Contacting an employer to inquire as to whether the employer is hiring
  • Participating in professional job-related education or skills development
  • Participating in networking events related to a job or occupation for which you are reasonably qualified

More information and answers to frequently asked questions on the work search requirement can be found at:

https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/faq/worksearch/

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending September 5 Bookmark and Share

September 10, 2020

For Immediate Release: September 10, 2020

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending September 5

AUGUSTA - For the week ending September 5, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 1,100 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 1,700 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). These claims represent about 1,500 individuals filing an initial claim.

About 35,500 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 22,000 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, just over 7,700 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program and 800 weekly certifications were filed for the state Extended Benefits program. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

Between March 15 and September 5, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $1.44 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits.

The Department has handled approximately 184,400 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 89,500 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. There have been over 2.3 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html .

Other Updates:

Fraud Update

The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims as it investigates unemployment imposter fraud.

During the week ending September 5, the Department cancelled about 350 initial claims and 50 weekly certifications that were determined to be fraudulent.

Unemployment imposter fraud is when a person's Personally Identifiable Information, or PII, is stolen and used illegally to apply for unemployment benefits. Maine is one of many U.S. states working in close collaboration with state and federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies to investigate and prevent it.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/

First Payments of Lost Wage Assistance Program to be Issued in Coming Days

Maine was approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) funding which will temporarily add $300 to the weekly unemployment benefits of eligible Mainers.

The Department expects to issue the first round of payments in the coming days. Benefits will be paid retroactively starting with the week ending August 1, 2020. The payments will be made automatically based on unemployment claims received; individuals will not need to call or apply separately for this benefit.

Current guidance from FEMA and the U.S. Department of Labor states that individuals are eligible for Lost Wages Assistance if:

  • they are eligible for unemployment benefits
  • they are eligible for a weekly benefit of at least $100
  • they are unemployed, or are partially unemployed, as a direct result of the COVID-19.

Answers to frequently asked questions about the LWA program are posted on the Department of Labor's website: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/. It will be updated as more information becomes available.

Maine Hire-A-Vet Campaign Kicks-off September 15

Maines annual Hire-A-Vet campaign is back! Hire-A-Vet is a statewide effort to reach at least 100 employers who have committed to hire at least 100 veterans and military family members during a 100-day period. A kick-off event and hiring fair is being held virtually from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on September 15. Opening remarks will be followed by a virtual hiring fair from 1-4 p.m. with more than 200 expected employers looking to recruit veterans, military members, and civilians.

Employers can join the 2020 Maine Hire-A-Vet Campaign and job seekers can get more information and register for the kick-off event by visiting: https://www.mainecareercenter.com/mhav/

The Maine Hire-A-Vet Campaign provides support for employers to expand the hiring of veterans through a network of state and federal agencies, resources and nonprofits, education on military language and culture, recruiting and hiring assistance, and recognition for the hiring and advancement of veterans and military family members.

Work Search

Individuals who are permanently separated from their employer must engage in work search activities each week in order to be eligible for benefits.

In response to the circumstances caused by the pandemic, the Department expanded possible work search activities to include opportunities to enhance individual's marketability during these challenging economic times. Work search activities are:

  • Attending a job fair/virtual job fair hosted by a CareerCenter
  • Participating in CareerCenter virtual reemployment services
  • Participating in a CareerCenter virtual workshop
  • Applying for a job for which you are reasonably qualified
  • Interviewing for a job for which you are reasonably qualified
  • Contacting an employer to inquire as to whether the employer is hiring
  • Participating in professional job-related education or skills development
  • Participating in networking events related to a job or occupation for which you are reasonably qualified More information and answers to frequently asked questions on the work search requirement can be found at:

https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/faq/worksearch/

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending September 12 Bookmark and Share

September 17, 2020

For Immediate Release: September 17, 2020

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending September 12

AUGUSTA - For the week ending September 12, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 1,400 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 1,000 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). These claims represent about 2,300 individuals filing an initial claim.

About 29,800 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 18,200 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, just over 7,900 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program and 800 weekly certifications were filed for the state Extended Benefits program. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

Between March 15 and September 12, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $1.5 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits.

The Department has handled approximately 185,800 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 90,400 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. There have been over 2.3 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html

Other Updates:

Lost Wage Assistance Program Update:

Maine was approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) the night of August 25 for Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) funding, which provides retroactive $300 to eligible Mainers for the weeks ending August 1-September 5. FEMA has announced that all states approved for LWA funding receive funds to cover those 6 weeks, and then the program ends.

The Department issued the first round of LWA payments, covering the weeks ending August 1, 8, and 15, the night of September 11. The second round of payments, covering weeks ending August 22, 29, and September 5, were issued last night (September 16).

The timing of when eligible people receive the funds depends on their individual financial institution's processing schedule. LWA payments are made separately from regular unemployment weekly benefits. Eligibility for LWA is determined on a week-by-week basis. Someone may be eligible for some of the covered weeks, but not others.

Those who need to answer an additional COVID-19 question in order to determine LWA eligibility had correspondence sent to them September 15 by email, if they have opted to receive correspondence by email. Those who did not opt for correspondence by email will receive the instructions in the mail. The instructions will also appear in their unemployment accounts correspondence tab within 2-3 business days. If someone had already received LWA payments for which they are eligible, and also received the correspondence, they should still complete the additional question to ensure they receive all payments for which they are eligible.

Individuals are eligible for Lost Wages Assistance if:

  • they are eligible for unemployment benefits
  • they are eligible for a weekly benefit of at least $100
  • they are unemployed, or are partially unemployed, as a direct result of the COVID-19.

Answers to frequently asked questions about the LWA program are posted on the Department of Labors website: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/.

Fraud Update

The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims as it investigates unemployment imposter fraud.

During the week ending September 5, the Department cancelled about 480 initial claims and 1 weekly certification that were determined to be fraudulent. Unemployment imposter fraud is when a person's Personally Identifiable Information, or PII, is stolen and used illegally to apply for unemployment benefits. Maine is one of many U.S. states working in close collaboration with state and federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies to investigate and prevent it.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/.

Earned Paid Leave Law Update:

The Maine Department of Labor (MDOL) announced on September 14 that it has adopted the final Rules for Maines groundbreaking Earned Paid Leave Law, which ensures employees of businesses with more than 10 employees can earn up to 40 hours of annual paid leave starting in January 2021.

It is estimated that the vast majority of Maine workers will be able to accrue and use paid leave under the law, with some estimates totaling 85 percent. Maine is the first state to permit using this leave for reasons outside of illness, as long as employees give their employer reasonable notice.

Gov. Janet Mills signed the Earned Paid Leave Law in May 2019, after working with a diverse group of stakeholders to create a consensus to support Maine workers who lacked paid leave. It received strong bipartisan support in the Legislature and an endorsement from the Maine State Chamber of Commerce. MDOL was directed to lead the laws implementation.

The Earned Paid Leave Law applies to employers with more than 10 workers in Maine for 120 days or more in a calendar year, except for seasonal industries as defined in the statute. Employers covered by the law must provide employees with one hour of paid leave for every 40 hours they work, up to a maximum of 40 hours of paid leave per year.

The law, "An Act Authorizing Earned Employee Leave" (26 MRS 637) goes into effect on January 1, 2021. While MDOL itself was charged with adopting the Rules to implement the statute, the MDOLs Bureau of Labor Standards is charged with its enforcement.

MDOL held 10 public listening sessions last fall on the law prior to the formal rulemaking process. It also held a virtual public hearing and received written comments on the draft Rules, responses to which have been posted online at maine.gov/labor.

The Rules provide clarity to employers, workers, and others on how the Department intends to implement the statute. To find more information:

Work Search

Individuals who are permanently separated from their employer must engage in work search activities each week in order to be eligible for benefits. In response to the circumstances caused by the pandemic, the Department expanded possible work search activities to include opportunities to enhance individual's marketability during these challenging economic times. Work search activities are:

  • Attending a job fair/virtual job fair hosted by a CareerCenter
  • Participating in CareerCenter virtual reemployment services
  • Participating in a CareerCenter virtual workshop
  • Applying for a job for which you are reasonably qualified
  • Interviewing for a job for which you are reasonably qualified
  • Contacting an employer to inquire as to whether the employer is hiring
  • Participating in professional job-related education or skills development
  • Participating in networking events related to a job or occupation for which you are reasonably qualified

More information and answers to frequently asked questions on the work search requirement can be found at: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/faq/worksearch/

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending September 19 Bookmark and Share

September 24, 2020

For Immediate Release: September 24, 2020

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending September 19

AUGUSTA - For the week ending September 19, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 1,400 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 1,200 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). These claims represent about 2,200 individuals filing an initial claim.

About 27,700 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 17,700 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 8,600 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program and 900 weekly certifications were filed for the state Extended Benefits program. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

Between March 15 and September 19, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $1.55 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits.

The Department has handled approximately 187,200 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 91,700 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. There have been over 2.4 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html

Other Updates:

Fraud Update

The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims as it investigates unemployment imposter fraud.

During the week ending September 19, the Department cancelled about 730 initial claims and 3 weekly certifications that were determined to be fraudulent.

Unemployment imposter fraud is when a person's Personally Identifiable Information, or PII, is stolen and used illegally to apply for unemployment benefits. Maine is one of many U.S. states working in close collaboration with state and federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies to investigate and prevent it.

The U.S. Department of Justice has put out an Unemployment Insurance Consumer Fraud Protection Guide - https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/docs/2020/USDOJUIFraudConsumerProtectionGuideFinal.pdf with information on unemployment fraud and what to do if you believe your information has been used to file a fraudulent claim.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/

Lost Wage Assistance Program Update:

The Department continues to evaluate people's eligibility for the LWA program. LWA payments to those who have been found eligible since September 16 were released last night (Wednesday, 9/23). LWA payments are released separately from regular unemployment benefit payments. Once payments are released, the timeframe in which an individual receives the payment depends on their individual financial institutions deposit policies.

Maine was approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) the night of August 25 for Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) funding, which provides retroactive $300 to eligible Mainers for the weeks ending August 1-September 5. FEMA has announced that all states approved for LWA funding receive funds to cover those 6 weeks, and then the program ends.

The Department issued the first round of LWA payments, covering the weeks ending August 1, 8, and 15, the night of September 11. The second round of payments, covering weeks ending August 22, 29, and September 5, were issued September 16.

The Department also continues to send out correspondence to those who need to answer additional questions in order to determine eligibility for LWA. Everyone who is found to be eligible will receive retroactive payments.

If someone had already received LWA payments for which they are eligible, and also received the correspondence, they should still complete the additional question to ensure they receive all payments for which they are eligible.

Individuals are eligible for Lost Wages Assistance if:

  • they are eligible for unemployment benefits
  • they are eligible for a weekly benefit of at least $100
  • they are unemployed, or are partially unemployed, as a direct result of the COVID-19.

Eligibility for LWA is determined on a week-by-week basis. Someone may be eligible for some of the covered weeks, but not others.

Answers to frequently asked questions about the LWA program are posted on the Department of Labors website: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ .

Governor Mills Signs Executive Order Reinstating Work Search Requirements for All Unemployment Claimants Beginning Oct. 4

On September 17, Governor Janet Mills signed an executive order that will reinstate weekly work search activity requirements for all unemployment claimants in order to retain eligibility to receive unemployment benefits, beginning on Sunday, October 4, 2020. The only exception is for individuals in medical quarantine due to potential COVID-19 exposure.

Work search activity requirements for those who were permanently separated from their employer were previously reinstated on August 9. The executive order applies to those who are self-employed and workers planning on returning to their employer. Work search activity requirements for these claimants had been waived in conjunction with Maines State of Civil Emergency.

The work search requirement is being reinstated now that Maine has one of the lowest COVID-19 infection rates in the country, and Maine businesses are reopening, actively seeking workers, and are demonstrating that work can be performed safely.

Self-employed individuals will need to attest to engaging in activities designed to fully reopen their business. More information will be released prior to the work search activity requirement being reinstated.

The Maine Department of Labor had also previously expanded its definition of "work search" to include work-related activities such as attending skill development seminars or networking events, which makes complying with the work search requirement easier.

Beginning with the weekly certification covering the week of October 4-10, which can be filed starting on October 11, all unemployment claimants will be required to answer questions about their work search activities. In response to the circumstances caused by the pandemic, the Department expanded possible work search activities to include opportunities to enhance individual's marketability during these challenging economic times.

Work search activities include: - Attending a job fair/virtual job fair hosted by a CareerCenter - Participating in CareerCenter virtual reemployment services - Participating in a CareerCenter virtual workshop - Applying for a job for which you are reasonably qualified - Interviewing for a job for which you are reasonably qualified - Contacting an employer to inquire as to whether the employer is hiring - Participating in professional job-related education or skills development - Participating in networking events related to a job or occupation for which you are reasonably qualified

For example, taking a class with Coursera counts as a work search activity. The Maine Department of Labor announced in August that Maine has partnered with Coursera, a leading online learning platform, in its Coursera Workforce Recovery Initiative - https://www.coursera.org/government/workforce-recovery . This initiative is designed to support governments worldwide in providing unemployed workers with free access to 3,800 online courses.

The goal of this partnership is to help laid off workers develop the knowledge and skills to become re-employed more quickly. Up to 5,000 unemployed Mainers can sign up to take classes through the Coursera platform.

The registration period for Coursera has been extended through October 31, 2020. Learners enrolled will have until the end of the year to complete the courses. For more information on how to sign up, please contact a CareerCenter: https://www.mainecareercenter.gov .

All claimants are also required to be registered on the Maine JobLink, a free job search tool, where claimants can upload their resumes and employers can post their job openings: https://joblink.maine.gov/ada/r/

The CareerCenters hold frequent virtual workshops on how to use the Maine JobLink. To register any of the CareerCenter workshops, please visit: http://www.mainecareercenter.com/employment/workshops.shtml People can also call their local CareerCenter to schedule a 1:1 appointment with a CareerCenter Consultant to explore work search activity options specific to the persons individual needs.

More information and answers to frequently asked questions on the work search requirement can be found at: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/faq/worksearch/

If an employer has offered work to an employee and that employee refused the work, the employer should notify the Department. A fact-finding would be held to determine if there was good cause for the refusal of work. If no good cause is determined, then the claimant would no longer be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Employers can report refusals of work here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ucbr/

Briefing to the Maine Legislature 09-25-2020 Bookmark and Share

September 25, 2020

View the Maine Department of Labor's Briefing to the Maine Legislature by Commissioner Laura Fortman and Deputy Commissioner Kimberly Smith on September 25, 2020.

Please click on the following link to view the YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-FTuwBbBxt0&feature=youtu.be

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending September 26 Bookmark and Share

October 1, 2020

For Immediate Release: October 1, 2020

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending September 26

AUGUSTA - For the week ending September 26, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 1,600 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 1,200 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). These claims represent about 2,300 individuals filing an initial claim.

About 24,400 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 17,900 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 10,700 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program and 900 weekly certifications were filed for the state Extended Benefits program. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

Between March 15 and September 26, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $1.57 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits.

The Department has handled approximately 188,800 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 92,800 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. There have been over 2.4 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html

Other Updates:

Fraud Update

The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims as it investigates unemployment imposter fraud.

During the week ending September 26, the Department cancelled about 23,600 initial claims and 1 weekly certification that were determined to be fraudulent.

These cancelled claims are the culmination of initial claims that were identified as potentially fraudulent. The Department holds potentially fraudulent claims and gives individuals the opportunity to verify their identity. These cancelled claims represent a periodic cancellation of claims for which no appropriate identification could be provided.

Unemployment imposter fraud is when a person's Personally Identifiable Information, or PII, is stolen and used illegally to apply for unemployment benefits. Maine is one of many U.S. states working in close collaboration with state and federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies to investigate and prevent it.

The U.S. Department of Justice has put out an Unemployment Insurance Consumer Fraud Protection Guide - https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/docs/2020/USDOJUIFraudConsumerProtectionGuideFinal.pdf with information on unemployment fraud and what to do if you believe your information has been used to file a fraudulent claim.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/ .

Lost Wage Assistance Program Update:

The Department continues to evaluate people's eligibility for the LWA program, and release retroactive payments to those newly determined eligible at least once a week. LWA payments are released separately from regular unemployment benefit payments. Once payments are released, the timeframe in which an individual receives the payment depends on their individual financial institutions deposit policies.

Maine was approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) the night of August 25 for Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) funding, which provides retroactive $300 to eligible Mainers for the weeks ending August 1-September 5. FEMA has announced that all states approved for LWA funding receive funds to cover those 6 weeks, and then the program ends.

The Department issued the first round of LWA payments, covering the weeks ending August 1, 8, and 15, the night of September 11. The second round of payments, covering weeks ending August 22, 29, and September 5, were issued September 16.

The Department also continues to send out correspondence to those who need to answer additional questions in order to determine eligibility for LWA. Everyone who is found to be eligible will receive retroactive payments.

If someone had already received LWA payments for which they are eligible, and also received the correspondence, they should still complete the additional question to ensure they receive all payments for which they are eligible.

Individuals are eligible for Lost Wages Assistance if:

  • they are eligible for unemployment benefits
  • they are eligible for a weekly benefit of at least $100
  • they are unemployed, or are partially unemployed, as a direct result of the COVID-19.

Eligibility for LWA is determined on a week-by-week basis. Someone may be eligible for some of the covered weeks, but not others. Answers to frequently asked questions about the LWA program are posted on the Department of Labors website: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ .

Work Search Requirements Reinstated for All Unemployment Claimants Beginning Oct. 4

On September 17, Governor Janet Mills signed an executive order that will reinstate weekly work search activity requirements for all unemployment claimants in order to retain eligibility to receive unemployment benefits, beginning on Sunday, October 4, 2020. The only exception is for individuals in medical quarantine due to potential COVID-19 exposure.

Work search activity requirements for those who were permanently separated from their employer were previously reinstated on August 9. The executive order applies to those who are self-employed and workers planning on returning to their employer.

The work search requirement is being reinstated now that Maine has one of the lowest COVID-19 infection rates in the country, and Maine businesses are reopening, actively seeking workers, and are demonstrating that work can be performed safely.

Self-employed individuals will need to attest to engaging in activities designed to fully reopen their business.

The Maine Department of Labor had also previously expanded its definition of "work search" to include work-related activities such as attending skill development seminars or networking events, which makes complying with the work search requirement easier.

Beginning with the weekly certification covering the week of October 4-10, which can be filed starting on October 11, all unemployment claimants will be required to answer questions about their work search activities.

In response to the circumstances caused by the pandemic, the Department expanded possible work search activities to include opportunities to enhance individual's marketability during these challenging economic times.

Work search activities include:

  • Attending a job fair/virtual job fair hosted by a CareerCenter
  • Participating in CareerCenter virtual reemployment services
  • Participating in a CareerCenter virtual workshop
  • Applying for a job for which you are reasonably qualified
  • Interviewing for a job for which you are reasonably qualified
  • Contacting an employer to inquire as to whether the employer is hiring
  • Participating in professional job-related education or skills development
  • Participating in networking events related to a job or occupation for which you are reasonably qualified

For example, taking a class with Coursera counts as a work search activity. The Maine Department of Labor announced in August that Maine has partnered with Coursera, a leading online learning platform, in its Coursera Workforce Recovery Initiative - https://www.coursera.org/government/workforce-recovery . This initiative is designed to support governments worldwide in providing unemployed workers with free access to 3,800 online courses.

The goal of this partnership is to help laid off workers develop the knowledge and skills to become re-employed more quickly. Up to 5,000 unemployed Mainers can sign up to take classes through the Coursera platform.

The registration period for Coursera has been extended through October 31, 2020. Learners enrolled will have until the end of the year to complete the courses. For more information on how to sign up, please contact a CareerCenter: https://www.mainecareercenter.gov .

All claimants are also required to be registered on the Maine JobLink, a free job search tool, where claimants can upload their resumes and employers can post their job openings: https://joblink.maine.gov/ada/r/ .

The CareerCenters hold frequent virtual workshops on how to use the Maine JobLink. To register any of the CareerCenter workshops, please visit: https://www.mainecareercenter.com/employment/workshops.shtml

People can also call their local CareerCenter to schedule a 1:1 appointment with a CareerCenter Consultant to explore work search activity options specific to the persons individual needs.

More information and answers to frequently asked questions on the work search requirement can be found at: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/faq/worksearch/

If an employer has offered work to an employee and that employee refused the work, the employer should notify the Department. A fact-finding would be held to determine if there was good cause for the refusal of work. If no good cause is determined, then the claimant would no longer be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Employers can report refusals of work here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ucbr/

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending October 3 Bookmark and Share

October 8, 2020

For Immediate Release: October 8, 2020

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending October 3

AUGUSTA - For the week ending October 3, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 1,700 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 670 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). During the week ending Oct. 3 there were about 2,150 individuals filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.

About 22,300 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 15,900 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 13,000 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program and 950 weekly certifications were filed for the state Extended Benefits program. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

Between March 15 and October 3, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $1.59 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits.

The Department has handled approximately 190,500 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 93,500 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. There have been over 2.5 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html

Other Updates:

Fraud Update The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims as it investigates unemployment imposter fraud.

During the week ending October 3, the Department cancelled 217 initial claims and 4 weekly certifications that were determined to be fraudulent. Unemployment imposter fraud is when a person's Personally Identifiable Information, or PII, is stolen and used illegally to apply for unemployment benefits. Maine is one of many U.S. states working in close collaboration with state and federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies to investigate and prevent it.

The U.S. Department of Justice has put out an Unemployment Insurance Consumer Fraud Protection Guide - https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/docs/2020/USDOJUIFraudConsumerProtectionGuideFinal.pdf - with information on unemployment fraud and what to do if you believe your information has been used to file a fraudulent claim.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/

Media Advisory: MDOL's Center for Workforce Research and Information (CWRI) will release a report on the Employment Outlook to 2028 the morning of Tuesday, Oct. 13. CWRI will hold a virtual media briefing at 11 a.m. Tuesday about the report - details to follow.

Reminder: Due to the holiday, financial institutions are closed on Monday, October 12. Therefore, weekly certifications filed Friday, October 9 through Monday, October 12 will be delayed one business day.

The ReEmployME website, and therefore unemployment claimants online accounts, is going to be unavailable from 9 p.m. Friday, October 16, through 9 p.m. Saturday, October 17, due to scheduled maintenance.

Lost Wage Assistance Program Update:

The Department continues to evaluate peoples eligibility for the LWA program, and release retroactive payments to those newly determined eligible at least once a week. LWA payments are released separately from regular unemployment benefit payments. Once payments are released, the timeframe in which an individual receives the payment depends on their individual financial institutions deposit policies.

Maine was approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) the night of August 25 for Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) funding, which provides retroactive $300 to eligible Mainers for the weeks ending August 1-September 5. FEMA has announced that all states approved for LWA funding receive funds to cover those 6 weeks, and then the program ends.

The Department issued the first round of LWA payments, covering the weeks ending August 1, 8, and 15, the night of September 11. The second round of payments, covering weeks ending August 22, 29, and September 5, were issued September 16.

The Department also continues to send out correspondence to those who need to answer additional questions in order to determine eligibility for LWA. Everyone who is found to be eligible will receive retroactive payments.

Individuals are eligible for Lost Wages Assistance if:

  • they are eligible for unemployment benefits
  • they are eligible for a weekly benefit of at least $100
  • they are unemployed, or are partially unemployed, as a direct result of the COVID-19.

Eligibility for LWA is determined on a week-by-week basis. Someone may be eligible for some of the covered weeks, but not others. Answers to frequently asked questions about the LWA program are posted on the Department of Labors website: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ .

Work Search Requirements Reinstated for All Unemployment Claimants Began Oct. 4

On Sunday, October 4, 2020, weekly work search related activity requirements for all unemployment claimants were reinstated. The only exception is for individuals in medical quarantine due to potential COVID-19 exposure.

Work search activity requirements for those who were permanently separated from their employer were previously reinstated on August 9. The executive order applies to those who are self-employed and workers planning on returning to their employer.

The work search activity requirement was reinstated now that Maine has one of the lowest COVID-19 infection rates in the country, and Maine businesses are reopening, actively seeking workers, and are demonstrating that work can be performed safely.

Self-employed individuals will need to attest to engaging in activities designed to fully reopen their business.

Beginning with the weekly certification covering the week of October 4-10, which can be filed starting on October 11, all unemployment claimants will be required to answer questions about their work search activities.

In response to the circumstances caused by the pandemic, the Department expanded possible work search activities to include opportunities to enhance individual's marketability during these challenging economic times.

Work search activities include:

  • Attending a job fair/virtual job fair hosted by a CareerCenter
  • Participating in CareerCenter virtual reemployment services
  • Participating in a CareerCenter virtual workshop
  • Applying for a job for which you are reasonably qualified
  • Interviewing for a job for which you are reasonably qualified
  • Contacting an employer to inquire as to whether the employer is hiring
  • Participating in professional job-related education or skills development
  • Participating in networking events related to a job or occupation for which you are reasonably qualified

For example, taking a class with Coursera counts as a work search activity. The Maine Department of Labor announced in August that Maine has partnered with Coursera, a leading online learning platform, in its Coursera Workforce Recovery Initiative - https://www.coursera.org/government/workforce-recovery . This initiative is designed to support governments worldwide in providing unemployed workers with free access to 3,800 online courses.

The goal of this partnership is to help laid off workers develop the knowledge and skills to become re-employed more quickly. Up to 5,000 unemployed Mainers can sign up to take classes through the Coursera platform.

The registration period for Coursera has been extended through October 31, 2020. Learners enrolled will have until the end of the year to complete the courses. For more information on how to sign up, please contact a CareerCenter: https://www.mainecareercenter.gov .

All claimants are also required to be registered on the Maine JobLink, a free job search tool, where claimants can upload their resumes and employers can post their job openings: https://joblink.maine.gov/ada/r/

The CareerCenters hold frequent virtual workshops on how to use the Maine JobLink. To register any of the CareerCenter workshops, please visit: http://www.mainecareercenter.com/employment/workshops.shtml

People can also call their local CareerCenter to schedule a 1:1 appointment with a CareerCenter Consultant to explore work search activity options specific to the persons individual needs.

More information and answers to frequently asked questions on the work search requirement can be found at: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/faq/worksearch/

If an employer has offered work to an employee and that employee refused the work, the employer should notify the Department. A fact-finding would be held to determine if there was good cause for the refusal of work. If no good cause is determined, then the claimant would no longer be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Employers can report refusals of work here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ucbr/

Maine Chosen for National Disability and Employment Boot Camp Bookmark and Share

October 9, 2020

For Immediate Release: October 9, 2020

Maine Chosen for National Disability and Employment Boot Camp

AUGUSTA - The Maine Department of Labor (MDOL) announced today that Maine is one of six states chosen to participate in a Disability and Employment Boot Camp, an innovative opportunity for states and local workforce programs being facilitated by the U. S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration Disability and Employment Initiative.

The Disability and Employment Boot Camp is an opportunity for small teams to address emerging needs as they serve both people with disabilities and businesses during a period of economic recovery.

According to U.S. DOL, participating teams, with experienced coaches support, will work to develop and test solutions for challenges that are impacting how they provide safe, accessible services to adults and youth with disabilities. The goal is to strengthen the capacity of the American Job Centers network to support individuals with disabilities to enter, stay in, or return to the labor force as the country manages a national transformation in the way we work and the availability of work.

"Maine is a leader in providing equal employment opportunities for people with disabilities," Labor Commissioner Laura Fortman said. This new opportunity will provide critical training to support our efforts to ensure Maine people with disabilities can enter, stay in, or return to the work force, especially during this unprecedented time.

Maine is the only state in the country that both prohibits sub-minimum wages to workers with disabilities and has an Employment First law.

Employment First is a national and state-level effort to ensure that gainful employment is a priority focus of publicly funded programs and services for people with disabilities. It is a banner under which states are taking proactive steps to increase the workforce participation rate of their working-age residents with disabilities, putting in place policies and programmatic strategies to ensure that employment is the first and preferred option offered to each person with a disability while expanding the workforce available to meet business needs.

Maines team includes experts on workforce and economic development and higher education as well as members of the State Chamber of Commerce. Maines plan is to focus on employer outreach in an effort to coordinate the existing disability employment initiatives, develop consistent messaging, identify and fill gaps in employer services.

This Boot Camp initiative begins during the 75th observance of National Disability Employment Awareness Month - https://www.dol.gov/agencies/odep/initiatives/ndeam , which takes place every October. Governor Janet Mills recently signed a proclamation - https://www.maine.gov/governor/mills/sites/maine.gov.governor.mills/files/inline-files/Disability%20Employment%20Awareness%20Month%20-%20October%202020.pdf - commemorating the month. This years theme is Increasing Access and Opportunity.

The Disability and Employment Boot Camp will take place from October 2020 through March 2021.

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month! Bookmark and Share

October 8, 2020

This year marks the 75th observance of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, as well as the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

You are invited to commemorate both milestones with a range of events and activities in Maine centered on the theme, "Increasing Access and Opportunity." Come join us!

View the Maine Department of Labor's YouTube video about National Disability Employment Awareness Month 2020:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJtsgSTfGvQ&feature=youtu.be

Supporting documents

For more information (PDF)

For more information (Word)

Briefing to the Maine Legislature10-09-2020 Bookmark and Share

October 9, 2020

View the Maine Department of Labor's Briefing to the Maine Legislature by Commissioner Laura Fortman and Deputy Commissioner Kimberly Smith on October 9, 2020.

Please click on the following link to view the YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_GqhZyJWB8&feature=youtu.be

Maine Department of Labor Releases Ten-Year Workforce Outlook Bookmark and Share

October 13, 2020

For Immediate Release: October 13, 2020

Maine Department of Labor Releases Ten-Year Workforce Outlook

AUGUSTA - Today, the Maine Department of Labor's Center for Workforce Research and Information (CWRI) released its employment projections for the period from 2018 to 2028.

Employment Outlook to 2028 highlights the broad demographic trends in Maine that affect the projected size and rate of change in the states employment environment. This forecast replaces the prior 10-year forecast for 2016 to 2026, which was published in 2018. In this new report, the CWRI is finding:

  • Overall employment in Maine is forecasted to decline slightly between 2018 and 2028 as the number of "baby boomers" reaching traditional retirement age outpaces the number of young people aging into the labor force;
  • More than 750,000 job openings are forecasted in the decade through 2028, which reflects the dynamism in Maines labor market;
  • Normal gains in productivity by Maines labor force may meet or exceed 100 percent of the demand for products and services of its population, even if overall employment declines as forecast;

The full narrative is available at https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/publications/pdf/EmploymentOutlookto2028.pdf .

The data is available at https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/outlook.html .

Employment Outlook to 2028 Briefing Bookmark and Share

October 13, 2020

View the Maine Department of Labor's Press Briefing about the Employment Outlook to 2028 report.

Please click on the following link to view the YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=znNTJG4p-SY&feature=youtu.be

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending October 10 Bookmark and Share

October 15, 2020

For Immediate Release: October 15, 2020

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending October 10

AUGUSTA - For the week ending October 10, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 1,500 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 914 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). During the week ending Oct. 10 there were almost 2,000 individuals filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.

About 19,100 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 16,050 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 14,200 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program and 820 weekly certifications were filed for the state Extended Benefits program. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

Between March 15 and October 10, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $1.6 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits.

The Department has handled approximately 192,000 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 94,400 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. There have been over 2.58 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html

Other Updates:

Fraud Update

The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims as it investigates unemployment imposter fraud.

During the week ending October 10, the Department cancelled 249 initial claims and 9 weekly certifications that were determined to be fraudulent.

Unemployment imposter fraud is when a person's Personally Identifiable Information, or PII, is stolen and used illegally to apply for unemployment benefits. Maine is one of many U.S. states working in close collaboration with state and federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies to investigate and prevent it.

The U.S. Department of Justice has put out an Unemployment Insurance Consumer Fraud Protection Guide with information on unemployment fraud and what to do if you believe your information has been used to file a fraudulent claim.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/

Reminder: The ReEmployME website, and therefore unemployment claimant's online accounts, is going to be unavailable from 9 p.m. Friday, October 16, through 9 p.m. Saturday, October 17, due to scheduled maintenance.

Lost Wage Assistance Program Update:

The Department continues to evaluate peoples eligibility for the LWA program, and release retroactive payments to those newly determined eligible at least once a week. LWA payments are released separately from regular unemployment benefit payments. Once payments are released, the timeframe in which an individual receives the payment depends on their individual financial institutions deposit policies.

Maine was approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) the night of August 25 for Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) funding, which provides retroactive $300 to eligible Mainers for the weeks ending August 1-September 5. FEMA has announced that all states approved for LWA funding receive funds to cover those 6 weeks, and then the program ends.

The Department issued the first round of LWA payments, covering the weeks ending August 1, 8, and 15, the night of September 11. The second round of payments, covering weeks ending August 22, 29, and September 5, were issued September 16.

The Department also continues to send out correspondence to those who need to answer additional questions in order to determine eligibility for LWA. Everyone who is found to be eligible will receive retroactive payments.

Individuals are eligible for Lost Wages Assistance if:

  • they are eligible for unemployment benefits
  • they are eligible for a weekly benefit of at least $100
  • they are unemployed, or are partially unemployed, as a direct result of the COVID-19.

Eligibility for LWA is determined on a week-by-week basis. Someone may be eligible for some of the covered weeks, but not others. Answers to frequently asked questions about the LWA program are posted on the Department of Labors website: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ .

Work Search Requirements Reinstated for All Unemployment Claimants Began Oct. 4

On October 4, 2020, weekly work search related activity requirements for all unemployment claimants were reinstated. The only exception is for individuals in medical quarantine due to potential COVID-19 exposure.

The work search activity requirement was reinstated now that Maine has one of the lowest COVID-19 infection rates in the country, and Maine businesses are reopening, actively seeking workers, and are demonstrating that work can be performed safely.

Self-employed individuals will need to attest to engaging in activities designed to fully reopen their business.

In response to the circumstances caused by the pandemic, the Department expanded possible work search activities to include opportunities to enhance individual's marketability during these challenging economic times.

Work search activities include:

  • Attending a job fair/virtual job fair hosted by a CareerCenter
  • Participating in CareerCenter virtual reemployment services
  • Participating in a CareerCenter virtual workshop
  • Applying for a job for which you are reasonably qualified
  • Interviewing for a job for which you are reasonably qualified
  • Contacting an employer to inquire as to whether the employer is hiring
  • Participating in professional job-related education or skills development
  • Participating in networking events related to a job or occupation for which you are reasonably qualified
  • Working part-time

For example, taking a class with Coursera counts as a work search activity. The Maine Department of Labor announced in August that Maine has partnered with Coursera, a leading online learning platform, in its Coursera Workforce Recovery Initiative - https://www.coursera.org/government/workforce-recovery . This initiative is designed to support governments worldwide in providing unemployed workers with free access to 3,800 online courses.

The goal of this partnership is to help laid off workers develop the knowledge and skills to become re-employed more quickly. Up to 5,000 unemployed Mainers can sign up to take classes through the Coursera platform.

The registration period for Coursera has been extended through October 31, 2020. Learners enrolled will have until the end of the year to complete the courses. For more information on how to sign up, please contact a CareerCenter: https://www.mainecareercenter.gov .

A video on how to file work search related activities questions if taking a Coursera course can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZkJT-nHR1w&feature=youtu.be

All claimants are also required to be registered on the Maine JobLink, a free job search tool, where claimants can upload their resumes and employers can post their job openings: https://joblink.maine.gov/ada/r/

The CareerCenters hold frequent virtual workshops on how to use the Maine JobLink. To register any of the CareerCenter workshops, please visit: http://www.mainecareercenter.com/employment/workshops.shtml

People can also call their local CareerCenter to schedule a 1:1 appointment with a CareerCenter Consultant to explore work search activity options specific to the persons individual needs.

More information and answers to frequently asked questions on the work search requirement can be found at: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/faq/worksearch/

If an employer has offered work to an employee and that employee refused the work, the employer should notify the Department. A fact-finding would be held to determine if there was good cause for the refusal of work. If no good cause is determined, then the claimant would no longer be eligible for unemployment benefits. Employers can report refusals of work here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ucbr/

Maine Dept. of Labor Warns of Unemployment Insurance Phishing Scams Bookmark and Share

October 19, 2020

For Immediate Release: October 19, 2020

Maine Dept. of Labor Warns of Unemployment Insurance Phishing Scams

AUGUSTA - The Maine Department of Labor is warning unemployment claimants and adding extra security measures to protect beneficiaries from fraudulent email "phishing" scams - https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/how-recognize-and-avoid-phishing-scams - in which bad actors steal usernames and passwords, use them to log into unemployment accounts, and change the payment information.

The Department was notified by the U.S. Department of Labor of scams happening across the country and is taking proactive action to review and prevent impact on Maine claimants. The Department has also received reports of phishing attempts in Maine.

Some phishing attempts mimicked the Maine Department of Labor and provided a link to reset a password.

The Department will never send a password reset email that wasn't requested by the individual. If someone did not request a reset and receives one of these emails, they should immediately delete the email and not respond.

Claimants log-in information could also be potentially obtained by criminals if someone uses the same log-in information for multiple websites and that log-in information is compromised. The Department strongly recommends that claimants use a password that is unique to their unemployment account and is not used for anything else.

The Department wants to ensure that unemployment benefits go to eligible Maine people and not to criminals, Commissioner Laura Fortman said. Maine, along with other unemployment insurance programs across the country and in cooperation with law enforcement partners, is continuing to investigate fraudulent activity and put measures in place to prevent it.

The Department continues to evolve its fraud prevention techniques and is adding extra authentication technology to the ReEmployME system. The Department is temporarily holding several hundred claims while awaiting additional verification from the individuals. Individuals whose claims are on hold will be notified by email to call 1-800-593-7660 for further guidance.

What unemployment claimants should do to protect themselves:

  • Before filing their next weekly certification, they should go to Benefits Maintenance > Payment Options to verify their current payment information and update as needed.
  • Click on the link in Benefits Maintenance to verify their email address. This will generate an email with instructions on how to complete the process.
  • After verifying their email, the Department recommends changing their password to one that is not being used in any other online system. They will need to verify their email account before creating a new password by hitting forgot password on the log-in page. This will also generate an email within which they will need to click on a link. Passwords should not be shared with anyone.
  • Unsolicited emails about resetting passwords should be immediately deleted.
  • If unemployment benefit payments for prior weeks filed appear to have been redirected to a bank account that is not theirs, they should contact the Department.

What unemployment claimants should do to protect themselves: Before filing their next weekly certification, they should go to Benefits Maintenance > Payment Options to verify their current payment information and update as needed. Click on the link in Benefits Maintenance to verify their email address. This will generate an email with instructions on how to complete the process. After verifying their email, the Department recommends changing their password to one that is not being used in any other online system. They will need to verify their email account before creating a new password by hitting forgot password on the log-in page. This will also generate an email within which they will need to click on a link. Passwords should not be shared with anyone. Unsolicited emails about resetting passwords should be immediately deleted. If unemployment benefit payments for prior weeks filed appear to have been redirected to a bank account that is not theirs, they should contact the Department.

Workforce Conditions in Maine Continued to Gradually Improve in September Bookmark and Share

October 20, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 20, 2020 Contact: Glenn Mills 207-621-5192

Workforce Conditions in Maine Continued to Gradually Improve in September

AUGUSTA - Workforce conditions continued to recover in September from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The monthly payroll and household surveys indicate:

  • Nonfarm payroll jobs increased 4,700 in September
  • 53,900 jobs have been recovered since the April low; the September total remained down 50,600 from February
  • The unemployment rate decreased to 6.1 percent
  • Labor force participation remained lower than normal, causing unemployment estimates to understate the impact of job loss on the labor market

Seasonally Adjusted Estimates

Payroll Survey Estimates The number of nonfarm payroll jobs in Maine increased by 4,700 in September. The private sector added 7,900 jobs, primarily in the manufacturing, leisure and hospitality, retail trade, and professional and business services sectors. The gain in manufacturing jobs was primarily due to the end of the shipbuilders strike in Bath. Jobs in the public sector decreased 3,200, mostly in local governments because seasonal job gains in public education were smaller than normal to the start the school year.

The 586,700 nonfarm jobs in September was up 53,900 from the April low, but remained 50,600 (7.9 percent) lower than in February before the pandemic began to impact the labor market. The highest rates of job loss between February and September were in the leisure and hospitality, information, and private education sectors. All sectors had net job losses between February and April, and most have had net job gains between April and September. The number of jobs in the construction; transportation, warehousing, and utilities; and wholesale and trade sectors was close to pre-pandemic levels in September.

The jobs recovery continued throughout the state in September. The rate of net job loss from February to September was close to the statewide rate in each of the three metro areas and the non-metro balance of the state.

Household Survey Estimates The unemployment rate decreased to 6.1 percent for September from a revised rate of 7.0 percent for August. The number of unemployed decreased 5,900 from August to 41,400 for September.

Unemployment estimates for September understate the level of job displacement that has occurred because health concerns, childcare challenges, and other factors prevented many jobless people from being available to work or from engaging in work search, as they normally would. Those who were not available for work or did not engage in work search were not counted as unemployed they were not in the labor force. If labor force participation was as high as it was in February, Maine's unemployment rate would have been 9.2 percent in September. (This also factors people who expect to return to their job who were classified by survey interviewers as employed, rather than as temporarily unemployed, as they properly should have been.)

U.S and New England Household Survey Estimates The U.S. unemployment rate of 7.9 percent was down from 8.4 percent for August and the New England rate of 8.4 percent was down from 9.5 percent. September rates for other states in the region were 6.0 percent in New Hampshire, 4.2 percent in Vermont, 9.6 percent in Massachusetts, 10.5 percent in Rhode Island, and 7.8 percent in Connecticut.

Not Seasonally Adjusted Substate Estimates

The not seasonally adjusted statewide unemployment rate estimate of 5.4 percent for September was up from 2.3 percent one year ago. Unemployment rates were lowest for Sagadahoc County (4.5 percent) and highest for Oxford County (7.1 percent).

Among the three metro areas, the unemployment rate was at the statewide average in Portland-South Portland (5.4 percent), above it in Lewiston-Auburn (5.8 percent), and below it in Bangor (4.9 percent).

October workforce estimates will be published Friday, November 20 at 10 a.m. (Data Release Schedule https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/releaseDates.html ).

This release is available here - https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/news/release.html

Labor force and unemployment data is available here- https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/laus1.html

Nonfarm payroll jobs data is available here - https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ces1.html

Monthly workforce estimates are cooperatively produced and released by the Maine Department of Labor, Center for Workforce Research and Information and the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

NOTES

  1. Preliminary seasonally-adjusted labor force estimates, including rates (labor force participation, employment, and unemployment rates), and levels (labor force, employed, and unemployed) tend to move in a direction for several months and then reverse course. Those directional trends are largely driven by a smoothing procedure and may not indicate a change in underlying workforce conditions. Annual revisions (published in March each year) tend to moderate or eliminate those directional patterns. A comparison of 2019 preliminary and revised estimates of labor force and unemployment rates, as well as nonfarm payroll jobs, is available at https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/blogs/2019workforcedata_revisions.pdf .

  2. The 90 percent confidence interval for statewide unemployment rates for September is 0.7 percentage points above or below the published estimate .

  3. To assess job growth, we recommend looking at nonfarm jobs from the payroll survey rather than at resident employment from the household survey. The payroll survey is larger, has smaller margins of error, and is subject to smaller revisions. A 2016 blog on the differences in accuracy of the two measures provides more context at https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/blogs/imprecise_data.pdf .

  4. Nonfarm payroll jobs estimates tend to be volatile from month to month because there is variability in the sample of reporting employers and their representativeness for the universe of all employers. Additionally, seasonal adjustment is imperfect because weather, the beginning and ending of school semesters, holidays, and other events do not always occur with the same timing relative to the pay period that includes the 12th day of the month, which is the reference period. This sometimes exacerbates monthly volatility. Users should look to the trend over multiple months rather than the change from one specific month to another. Estimates for the period from October 2019 to September 2020 will be replaced with actual payroll data in March 2021. Those benchmark revisions are likely to show less volatility than preliminary estimates do.

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending October 17 Bookmark and Share

October 22, 2020

For Immediate Release: October 22, 2020

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending October 17

AUGUSTA - For the week ending October 17, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 1,300 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 500 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). This represents almost 1,600 individuals filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.

About 15,600 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 14,900 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 13,800 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program and 700 weekly certifications were filed for the state Extended Benefits program. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

Between March 15 and October 17, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $1.6 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits.

The Department has handled approximately 193,400 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 94,900 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. There have been over 2.6 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html

Other Updates:

Fraud Update

The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims as it investigates unemployment imposter fraud.

During the week ending October 17, the Department cancelled about 2,900 initial claims and 22 weekly certifications that were determined to be fraudulent.

Unemployment imposter fraud is when a person's Personally Identifiable Information, or PII, is stolen and used illegally to apply for unemployment benefits. Maine is one of many U.S. states working in close collaboration with state and federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies to investigate and prevent it.

The Maine Department of Labor is also warning unemployment claimants and adding extra security measures to protect beneficiaries from fraudulent email "phishing" scams" in which bad actors steal usernames and passwords, use them to log into unemployment accounts, and change the payment information.

The Department was notified by the U.S. Department of Labor of scams happening across the country and is taking proactive action to review and prevent impact on Maine claimants. The Department has also received reports of phishing attempts in Maine.

Some phishing attempts mimicked the Maine Department of Labor and provided a link to reset a password.

The Department will never send a password reset email that wasn't requested by the individual. If someone did not request a reset and receives one of these emails, they should immediately delete the email and not respond.

Claimants log-in information could also be potentially obtained by criminals if someone uses the same log-in information for multiple websites and that log-in information is compromised. The Department strongly recommends that claimants use a password that is unique to their unemployment account and is not used for anything else.

The Department continues to evolve its fraud prevention techniques and is adding extra authentication technology to the ReEmployME system. The Department is temporarily holding several hundred claims while awaiting additional verification from the individuals. Individuals whose claims are on hold will be notified by email to call 1-800-593-7660 for further guidance.

What unemployment claimants should do to protect themselves:

-Before filing their next weekly certification, they should go to Benefits Maintenance > Payment Options to verify their current payment information and update as needed. -Click on the link in Benefits Maintenance to verify their email address. This will generate an email with instructions on how to complete the process. -After verifying their email, the Department recommends changing their password to one that is not being used in any other online system. They will need to verify their email account before creating a new password by hitting forgot password on the log-in page. This will also generate an email within which they will need to click on a link. Passwords should not be shared with anyone. -Unsolicited emails about resetting passwords should be immediately deleted. -If unemployment benefit payments for prior weeks filed appear to have been redirected to a bank account that is not theirs, they should contact the Department.

The U.S. Department of Justice has put out an Unemployment Insurance Consumer Fraud Protection Guide with information on unemployment fraud and what to do if you believe your information has been used to file a fraudulent claim. The guide can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/docs/2020/USDOJUIFraudConsumerProtectionGuideFinal.pdf

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/

**Workforce Updates: Workforce Conditions in Maine Continued to Gradually Improve in September **

On October 20, the Center for Workforce Research and information released the unemployment rate and labor force participation information for September. Workforce conditions continued to recover in September from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The monthly payroll and household surveys indicate:

-Nonfarm payroll jobs increased 4,700 in September -53,900 jobs have been recovered since the April low; the September total remained down 50,600 from February -The unemployment rate decreased to 6.1 percent -Labor force participation remained lower than normal, causing unemployment estimates to understate the impact of job loss on the labor market

The full narrative and data can be found at: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/news/release.html

Lost Wage Assistance Program Update:

The Department continues to evaluate people's eligibility for the LWA program, and release retroactive payments to those newly determined eligible at least once a week. LWA payments are released separately from regular unemployment benefit payments. Once payments are released, the timeframe in which an individual receives the payment depends on their individual financial institutions deposit policies.

Maine was approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) the night of August 25 for Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) funding, which provides retroactive $300 to eligible Mainers for the weeks ending August 1-September 5. FEMA has announced that all states approved for LWA funding receive funds to cover those 6 weeks, and then the program ends.

The Department issued the first round of LWA payments, covering the weeks ending August 1, 8, and 15, the night of September 11. The second round of payments, covering weeks ending August 22, 29, and September 5, were issued September 16.

The Department also continues to send out correspondence to those who need to answer additional questions in order to determine eligibility for LWA. Everyone who is found to be eligible will receive retroactive payments.

Individuals are eligible for Lost Wages Assistance if: - they are eligible for unemployment benefits - they are eligible for a weekly benefit of at least $100 - they are unemployed, or are partially unemployed, as a direct result of the COVID-19.

Eligibility for LWA is determined on a week-by-week basis. Someone may be eligible for some of the covered weeks, but not others.

Answers to frequently asked questions about the LWA program are posted on the Department of Labors website: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/.

Work Search Requirements Reinstated for All Unemployment Claimants Began Oct. 4

On October 4, 2020, weekly work search related activity requirements for all unemployment claimants were reinstated. The only exception is for individuals in medical quarantine due to potential COVID-19 exposure.

The work search activity requirement was reinstated now that Maine has one of the lowest COVID-19 infection rates in the country, and Maine businesses are reopening, actively seeking workers, and are demonstrating that work can be performed safely.

Self-employed individuals will need to attest to engaging in activities designed to fully reopen their business.

In response to the circumstances caused by the pandemic, the Department expanded possible work search activities to include opportunities to enhance individual's marketability during these challenging economic times.

Work search activities include:

  • Attending a job fair/virtual job fair hosted by a CareerCenter
  • Participating in CareerCenter virtual reemployment services
  • Participating in a CareerCenter virtual workshop
  • Applying for a job for which you are reasonably qualified
  • Interviewing for a job for which you are reasonably qualified
  • Contacting an employer to inquire as to whether the employer is hiring
  • Participating in professional job-related education or skills development
  • Participating in networking events related to a job or occupation for which you are reasonably qualified
  • Working part-time

For example, taking a class with Coursera counts as a work search activity. The Maine Department of Labor announced in August that Maine has partnered with Coursera, a leading online learning platform, in its Coursera Workforce Recovery Initiative - https://www.coursera.org/government/workforce-recovery . This initiative is designed to support governments worldwide in providing unemployed workers with free access to 3,800 online courses.

The goal of this partnership is to help laid off workers develop the knowledge and skills to become re-employed more quickly. Up to 5,000 unemployed Mainers can sign up to take classes through the Coursera platform.

The registration period for Coursera has been extended through October 31, 2020. Learners enrolled will have until the end of the year to complete the courses. For more information on how to sign up, please contact a CareerCenter: https://www.mainecareercenter.gov .

A video on how to file work search related activities questions if taking a Coursera course can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZkJT-nHR1w&feature=youtu.be

All claimants are also required to be registered on the Maine JobLink, a free job search tool, where claimants can upload their resumes and employers can post their job openings: https://joblink.maine.gov/ada/r/

The CareerCenters hold frequent virtual workshops on how to use the Maine JobLink. To register any of the CareerCenter workshops, please visit: http://www.mainecareercenter.com/employment/workshops.shtml

People can also call their local CareerCenter to schedule a 1:1 appointment with a CareerCenter Consultant to explore work search activity options specific to the persons individual needs.

More information and answers to frequently asked questions on the work search requirement can be found at: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/faq/worksearch/

If an employer has offered work to an employee and that employee refused the work, the employer should notify the Department. A fact-finding would be held to determine if there was good cause for the refusal of work. If no good cause is determined, then the claimant would no longer be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Employers can report refusals of work here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ucbr/

Briefing to the Maine Legislature 10-23-2020 Bookmark and Share

October 23, 2020

View the Maine Department of Labor's Briefing to the Maine Legislature by Commissioner Laura Fortman and Deputy Commissioner Kimberly Smith on October 23, 2020.

Please click on the following link to view the YouTube video: https://youtu.be/uB2vLMu6ejM

Upcoming Apprenticeship Webinar Bookmark and Share

November 2, 2020

Are you exploring Apprenticeship as a career pathway? Interested in the construction trades?

If so, please join the Maine Department of Labor for an EMPLOYER SPOTLIGHT in our new webinar series featuring Apprenticeship employer, Reed & Reed.

In this webinar, Robin Wood, H.R. Director and Todd Gilley, H.R. Recruiter, of Reed & Reed will discuss an overview of Reed & Reed's recruiting and hiring process, review how apprenticeships work, discuss the qualities they are seeking in their apprentices and how to get started in an apprenticeship. Reed & Reed has jobs available statewide and performs a wide range of heavy, civil construction services associated with the building of cable-stayed bridges, marine terminals, wind farms, commercial buildings, pile driving, parking garages and environmental remediation.

Please join us on November 19, 2020, 9-10:30 a.m. Click on the following link to watch:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88566080427?pwd=bmJxZURXL3RyUGc0NnVOV2RsOFVRdz09#success

Supporting documents

Informational Flyer (PDF)

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending October 31 Bookmark and Share

November 5, 2020

For Immediate Release: November 5, 2020

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending October 31

AUGUSTA - For the week ending October 31, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 1,700 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 470 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). In total, approximately 2,500 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.

About 12,900 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 15,100 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 14,400 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program and 1,650 weekly certifications were filed for the state Extended Benefits program. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

NOTE: Extended Benefit Program Available through November 14. The state Extended Benefit (EB) program provides up to 13 weeks of unemployment benefits to those who have exhausted both their state unemployment insurance and then federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC).

The EB program is only in effect during times of high unemployment. EB is in effect when the average insured unemployment rate for the last 13 weeks is at least 5% and is more than 120% of the average for the last 2 years for the same time period. The insured unemployment rate is based on weekly claims for state unemployment benefits, and is different than the unemployment rate announced each month.

When EB ends, some individuals may be eligible for PUA benefits. PUA is available for people affected by COVID-19 and who aren't eligible for or who have exhausted the other available programs. PUA provides benefits for 39 weeks but is reduced by the number of weeks of state unemployment and EB already paid.

Between March 15 and October 31, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $1.6 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits.

The Department has handled approximately 196,500 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 96,100 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. There have been over 2.7 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html

Other Updates:

Fraud Update

The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims as it investigates unemployment imposter fraud.

During the week ending October 31, the Department cancelled 1,337 initial claims and 37 weekly certifications that were determined to be fraudulent.

Unemployment imposter fraud is when a person's Personally Identifiable Information, or PII, is stolen and used illegally to apply for unemployment benefits. Maine is one of many U.S. states working in close collaboration with state and federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies to investigate and prevent it

The Maine Department of Labor is also warning unemployment claimants and adding extra security measures to protect beneficiaries from fraudulent email "phishing" scams" in which bad actors steal usernames and passwords, use them to log into unemployment accounts, and change the payment information.

The Department was notified by the U.S. Department of Labor of scams happening across the country and is taking proactive action to review and prevent impact on Maine claimants. The Department has also received reports of phishing attempts in Maine.

Some phishing attempts mimicked the Maine Department of Labor and provided a link to reset a password, or a link to look at recent account activity.

The Department will never send a password reset email that wasn't requested by the individual. If someone did not request a reset and receives one of these emails, they should immediately delete the email and not respond. If they receive an email requesting they look at the recent activity in their account, they should not click on any links in the email, and instead go straight to their account.

Claimants log-in information could also be potentially obtained by criminals if someone uses the same log-in information for multiple websites and that log-in information is compromised. The Department strongly recommends that claimants use a password that is unique to their unemployment account and is not used for anything else.

Claimants log-in information could also be potentially obtained by criminals if someone uses the same log-in information for multiple websites and that log-in information is compromised. The Department strongly recommends that claimants use a password that is unique to their unemployment account and is not used for anything else.

What unemployment claimants should do to protect themselves:

  • Before filing their next weekly certification, they should go to Benefits Maintenance > Payment Options to verify their current payment information and update as needed.
  • Click on the link in Benefits Maintenance to verify their email address. This will generate an email with instructions on how to complete the process.
  • After verifying their email, the Department recommends changing their password to one that is not being used in any other online system. They will need to verify their email account before creating a new password by hitting forgot password on the log-in page. This will also generate an email within which they will need to click on a link. Passwords should not be shared with anyone.
  • Unsolicited emails about resetting passwords should be immediately deleted.
  • If unemployment benefit payments for prior weeks filed appear to have been redirected to a bank account that is not theirs, they should contact the Department.

The U.S. Department of Justice has put out an Unemployment Insurance Consumer Fraud Protection Guide - https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/docs/2020/USDOJUIFraudConsumerProtectionGuideFinal.pdf - with information on unemployment fraud and what to do if you believe your information has been used to file a fraudulent claim.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/

Lost Wage Assistance Program Update:

The Department continues to evaluate peoples eligibility for the LWA program, and release retroactive payments to those newly determined eligible at least once a week. LWA payments are released separately from regular unemployment benefit payments. Once payments are released, the timeframe in which an individual receives the payment depends on their individual financial institutions deposit policies.

Maine was approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) the night of August 25 for Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) funding, which provides retroactive $300 to eligible Mainers for the weeks ending August 1-September 5. FEMA has announced that all states approved for LWA funding receive funds to cover those 6 weeks, and then the program ends.

The Department issued the first round of LWA payments, covering the weeks ending August 1, 8, and 15, the night of September 11. The second round of payments, covering weeks ending August 22, 29, and September 5, were issued September 16.

There are some claimants who have fact-finding issues that must be resolved before LWA can be paid. The Department has also sent out correspondence to those who need to answer additional questions in order to determine eligibility for LWA. Everyone who is found to be eligible will receive retroactive payments.

Individuals are eligible for Lost Wages Assistance if: - they are eligible for unemployment benefits - they are eligible for a weekly benefit of at least $100 - they are unemployed, or are partially unemployed, as a direct result of the COVID-19.

Eligibility for LWA is determined on a week-by-week basis. Someone may be eligible for some of the covered weeks, but not others. Answers to frequently asked questions about the LWA program are posted on the Department of Labors website: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ .

Work Search Requirements Reinstated for All Unemployment Claimants Began Oct. 4

On October 4, 2020, weekly work search related activity requirements for all unemployment claimants were reinstated. The only exception is for individuals in medical quarantine due to potential COVID-19 exposure.

The work search activity requirement was reinstated now that Maine has one of the lowest COVID-19 infection rates in the country, and Maine businesses are reopening, actively seeking workers, and are demonstrating that work can be performed safely.

Self-employed individuals will need to attest to engaging in activities designed to fully reopen their business.

In response to the circumstances caused by the pandemic, the Department expanded possible work search activities to include opportunities to enhance individual's marketability during these challenging economic times.

Work search activities include: - Attending a job fair/virtual job fair hosted by a CareerCenter - Participating in CareerCenter virtual reemployment services - Participating in a CareerCenter virtual workshop - Applying for a job for which you are reasonably qualified - Interviewing for a job for which you are reasonably qualified - Contacting an employer to inquire as to whether the employer is hiring - Participating in professional job-related education or skills development - Participating in networking events related to a job or occupation for which you are reasonably qualified - Working part-time

For example, taking a class with Coursera counts as a work search activity. A video on how to file work search related activities questions if taking a Coursera course can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZkJT-nHR1w&feature=youtu.be

All claimants are also required to be registered on the Maine JobLink, a free job search tool, where claimants can upload their resumes and employers can post their job openings: https://joblink.maine.gov/ada/r/

The CareerCenters hold frequent virtual workshops on how to use the Maine JobLink. To register any of the CareerCenter workshops, please visit: http://www.mainecareercenter.com/employment/workshops.shtml

People can also call their local CareerCenter to schedule a 1:1 appointment with a CareerCenter Consultant to explore work search activity options specific to the persons individual needs.

More information, videos, and answers to frequently asked questions on the work search requirement can be found at: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/faq/worksearch/

If an employer has offered work to an employee and that employee refused the work, the employer should notify the Department. A fact-finding would be held to determine if there was good cause for the refusal of work. If no good cause is determined, then the claimant would no longer be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Employers can report refusals of work here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ucbr/

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending November 7 Bookmark and Share

November 12, 2020

For Immediate Release: November 12, 2020

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending November 7

AUGUSTA - For the week ending November 7, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 2,300 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 300 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). The increase in state initial claims is due to seasonal layoffs in eating and drinking places, lodging, and construction industries. In total, approximately 2,900 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.

About 12,550 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 14,200 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 14,300 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program and 1,900 weekly certifications were filed for the state Extended Benefits program. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

NOTE: Extended Benefit Program Ending November 14. The state Extended Benefit (EB) program provides up to 13 weeks of unemployment benefits to those who have exhausted both their state unemployment insurance and then federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC).

The EB program is only in effect during times of high unemployment. EB is in effect when the average insured unemployment rate for the last 13 weeks is at least 5% and is more than 120% of the average for the last 2 years for the same time period. The insured unemployment rate is based on weekly claims for state unemployment benefits, and is different than the unemployment rate announced each month.

When EB ends, some individuals may be eligible for PUA benefits. PUA is available for people affected by COVID-19 and who aren't eligible for or who have exhausted the other available programs. PUA provides benefits for 39 weeks but is reduced by the number of weeks of state unemployment and EB already paid.

Reminder that CareerCenter services- https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/MEDOL/bulletins/2aa7228?fbclid=IwAR1phq7T51IZVDHcboJ4A2KOY7DKEE22YAiBCYaFT1iAz9u-m7FI4aX1k are available to help people identify and take next their steps.

Between March 15 and November 7, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $1.6 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits.

The Department has handled approximately 198,800 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 96,400 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. There have been over 2.7 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html

Other Updates:

Fraud Update

The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims as it investigates unemployment imposter fraud. During the week ending November 7, the Department cancelled 4,690 initial claims and 17 weekly certifications that were determined to be fraudulent.

Unemployment imposter fraud is when a person's Personally Identifiable Information, or PII, is stolen and used illegally to apply for unemployment benefits. Maine is one of many U.S. states working in close collaboration with state and federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies to investigate and prevent it.

The Maine Department of Labor is also warning unemployment claimants and adding extra security measures to protect beneficiaries from fraudulent email "phishing" scams in which bad actors steal usernames and passwords, use them to log into unemployment accounts, and change the payment information.

The Department was notified by the U.S. Department of Labor of scams happening across the country and is taking proactive action to review and prevent impact on Maine claimants. The Department has also received reports of phishing attempts in Maine.

Some phishing attempts mimicked the Maine Department of Labor and provided a link to reset a password, or a link to look at recent account activity.

The Department will never send a password reset email that wasn't requested by the individual. If someone did not request a reset and receives one of these emails, they should immediately delete the email and not respond. If they receive an email requesting they look at the recent activity in their account, they should not click on any links in the email, and instead go straight to their account.

Claimants log-in information could also be potentially obtained by criminals if someone uses the same log-in information for multiple websites and that log-in information is compromised. The Department strongly recommends that claimants use a password that is unique to their unemployment account and is not used for anything else.

The Department continues to evolve its fraud prevention techniques and is adding extra authentication technology to the ReEmployME system. The Department is temporarily holding several hundred claims while awaiting additional verification from the individuals. Individuals whose claims are on hold will be notified by email to call 1-800-593-7660 for further guidance.

What unemployment claimants should do to protect themselves:

  • Before filing their next weekly certification, they should go to Benefits Maintenance > Payment Options to verify their current payment information and update as needed.
  • Click on the link in Benefits Maintenance to verify their email address. This will generate an email with instructions on how to complete the process.
  • After verifying their email, the Department recommends changing their password to one that is not being used in any other online system. They will need to verify their email account before creating a new password by hitting forgot password on the log-in page. This will also generate an email within which they will need to click on a link. Passwords should not be shared with anyone.
  • Unsolicited emails about resetting passwords should be immediately deleted.
  • If unemployment benefit payments for prior weeks filed appear to have been redirected to a bank account that is not theirs, they should contact the Department.

The U.S. Department of Justice has put out an Unemployment Insurance Consumer Fraud Protection Guide - https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/docs/2020/USDOJUIFraudConsumerProtectionGuideFinal.pdf with information on unemployment fraud and what to do if you believe your information has been used to file a fraudulent claim.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/

Lost Wage Assistance Program Update:

The Department continues to evaluate peoples eligibility for the LWA program, and release retroactive payments to those newly determined eligible at least once a week. LWA payments are released separately from regular unemployment benefit payments. Once payments are released, the timeframe in which an individual receives the payment depends on their individual financial institutions deposit policies.

Maine was approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) the night of August 25 for Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) funding, which provides retroactive $300 to eligible Mainers for the weeks ending August 1-September 5. FEMA has announced that all states approved for LWA funding receive funds to cover those 6 weeks, and then the program ends.

The Department issued the first round of LWA payments, covering the weeks ending August 1, 8, and 15, the night of September 11. The second round of payments, covering weeks ending August 22, 29, and September 5, were issued September 16.

There are some claimants who have fact-finding issues that must be resolved before LWA can be paid. The Department has also sent out correspondence to those who need to answer additional questions in order to determine eligibility for LWA. Everyone who is found to be eligible will receive retroactive payments.

Individuals are eligible for Lost Wages Assistance if: - they are eligible for unemployment benefits - they are eligible for a weekly benefit of at least $100 - they are unemployed, or are partially unemployed, as a direct result of the COVID-19.

Eligibility for LWA is determined on a week-by-week basis. Someone may be eligible for some of the covered weeks, but not others.

Answers to frequently asked questions about the LWA program are posted on the Department of Labors website: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ .

Work Search Requirements Reinstated for All Unemployment Claimants Began Oct. 4

On October 4, 2020, weekly work search related activity requirements for all unemployment claimants were reinstated. The only exception is for individuals in medical quarantine due to potential COVID-19 exposure.

The work search activity requirement was reinstated now that Maine has one of the lowest COVID-19 infection rates in the country, and Maine businesses are reopening, actively seeking workers, and are demonstrating that work can be performed safely.

Self-employed individuals will need to attest to engaging in activities designed to fully reopen their business.

In response to the circumstances caused by the pandemic, the Department expanded possible work search activities to include opportunities to enhance individual's marketability during these challenging economic times.

Work search activities include: - Attending a job fair/virtual job fair hosted by a CareerCenter - Participating in CareerCenter virtual reemployment services - Participating in a CareerCenter virtual workshop - Applying for a job for which you are reasonably qualified - Interviewing for a job for which you are reasonably qualified - Contacting an employer to inquire as to whether the employer is hiring - Participating in professional job-related education or skills development - Participating in networking events related to a job or occupation for which you are reasonably qualified - Working part-time

For example, taking a class with Coursera counts as a work search activity. A video on how to file work search related activities questions if taking a Coursera course can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZkJT-nHR1w&feature=youtu.be

All claimants are also required to be registered on the Maine JobLink, a free job search tool, where claimants can upload their resumes and employers can post their job openings: https://joblink.maine.gov/ada/r/

The CareerCenters hold frequent virtual workshops on how to use the Maine JobLink. To register any of the CareerCenter workshops, please visit: http://www.mainecareercenter.com/employment/workshops.shtml

People can also call their local CareerCenter to schedule a 1:1 appointment with a CareerCenter Consultant to explore work search activity options specific to the persons individual needs.

More information, videos, and answers to frequently asked questions on the work search requirement can be found at: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/faq/worksearch/

If an employer has offered work to an employee and that employee refused the work, the employer should notify the Department. A fact-finding would be held to determine if there was good cause for the refusal of work. If no good cause is determined, then the claimant would no longer be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Employers can report refusals of work here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ucbr/

Three Maine Employers Awarded National HIRE Vets Medallion Bookmark and Share

November 16, 2020

For Immediate Release: November 16, 2020

Three Maine Employers Awarded National HIRE Vets Medallion

AUGUSTA - Governor Janet Mills and Commissioner of the Maine Department of Labor Laura Fortman today congratulated three Maine employers Bath Iron Works, Career Systems Development CorporationPenobscot Job Corps Center, and Dead River Company for being named 2020 HIRE Vets Medallion Award recipients by the U.S. Department of Labor. The award recognizes employers across the nation who exemplify a commitment to civilian employment of U.S. military veterans.

"Maine has a long and proud tradition of military service that directly translates into invaluable leadership and skills that we are fortunate to have in our workforce," Governor Janet Mills said. On behalf of the people of Maine, I thank these companies for recognizing the value that veterans bring to our state and for their commitment to hiring and supporting our nation's heroes.

Congratulations to Bath Iron Works, Career Systems Development CorporationPenobscot Job Corps Center, and Dead River Company! BIW and Dead River Co. are also annual participants in our Maine Hire-A-Vet Campaign, which is currently working to get at least 100 veterans hired within 100 days, Commissioner Laura Fortman said. It is partnerships like these that demonstrate the benefits of hiring veterans for both employers and the skilled workers who have given so much for our country.

Administered by the federal Departments Veterans Employment and Training Service, the annual HIRE Vets Medallion program has awarded 1,341 HIRE Vets Medallions since its inception in 2018. It is the only federal-level veterans employment award that recognizes a company or organizations commitment to veteran hiring, retention and professional development.

In 2019, Dead River Company became the first employer in Maine to receive the award. We are often thanked for our focus on veteran hiring and we are honored to receive this prestigious recognition, Guy Langevin, Dead River Company Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer, said. Veterans are a talented, productive segment of the workforce. They possess learning agility; they are great teammates and; they align with our mission to serve our customers. Simply put, we have found that hiring veterans makes us a better company and we thank our veterans for choosing Dead River Company.

The U.S. Department of Labor recognized 675 employers nationwide with this years award. Collectively, this years award recipients hired more than 37,000 veterans since 2018.

As one of the states largest private employers, BIW is proud to currently employ over 1,000 veterans. We need to hire thousands of new employees in the next few years and veterans will remain a key focus because of the skills, capabilities and dedication they bring to our essential mission providing the ships our U.S. Navy Customer needs, Jon Mason, BIW Vice President of Human Resources, said.

We are most pleased to have been awarded the Gold Medallion Award in recognition of our commitment to the hiring and success of our veterans, Jim Downie, Job Corps Human Resources Manager, said. Career Systems Development Corporation and Penobscot Job Corps Center will continue to provide career opportunities to the many men and women who have served in our nation with distinction and have played a key role in the success of our students.

Criteria for recognition vary by level (Platinum or Gold) and employer size (Large, Medium, and Small).

2020 Maine Award Recipients:

  • Bath Iron Works Corporation Platinum, Large
  • Dead River Company Gold, Large
  • Career Systems Development CorporationPenobscot Job Corps Center Gold, Medium

Maine is fortunate to have companies like Bath Iron Works, Career Systems Development CorporationPenobscot Job Corps Center, and the Dead River Company not only as employers, but as business who continually look to veterans to create a strong workforce in the State of Maine, David Richmond, Director of the Maine Bureau of Veterans Services, said. Experience matters and veterans truly provide a solid foundation in any work environment. Congratulations to the three businesses for earning the 2020 HIRE Vets Medallion Award.

A press release from the U.S. Department of Labor can be found here: https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/vets/vets20201110

For more information about the HIRE Vets Medallion Program and its criteria, visit https://www.hirevets.gov/

For more information on the Maine Hire-A-Vet Campaign, visit https://www.mainecareercenter.com/mhav/

Free virtual employment workshops and info sessions to help individuals connect to resources. Bookmark and Share

November 18, 2020

Maine's three local workforce boards, in partnership with their respective service providers, have collaborated to provide free, virtual employment workshops and info sessions to help individuals connect to resources, build job skills, and find and maintain employment.

For more information, please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/o/maines-workforce-collaborative-30966159321

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending November 14 Bookmark and Share

November 19, 2020

For Immediate Release: November 14, 2020

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending November 14

AUGUSTA - For the week ending November 14, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 2,000 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 300 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). In total, approximately 2,550 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.

About 11,800 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 13,900 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 13,900 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program and 2,200 weekly certifications were filed for the state Extended Benefits program. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

NOTE: Extended Benefit Program Ending November 14. The state Extended Benefit (EB) program provides up to 13 weeks of unemployment benefits to those who have exhausted both their state unemployment insurance and then federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC).

About 11,800 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 13,900 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 13,900 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program and 2,200 weekly certifications were filed for the state Extended Benefits program. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

Some individuals who were receiving EB may be eligible for PUA benefits. PUA is available for people affected by COVID-19 and who aren't eligible for or who have exhausted the other available programs. PUA provides benefits for 39 weeks but is reduced by the number of weeks of state unemployment and EB already paid. They should continue to file weekly certifications so that eligibility can be determined.

Reminder that CareerCenter services- https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/MEDOL/bulletins/2aa7228?fbclid=IwAR1phq7T51IZVDHcboJ4A2KOY7DKEE22YAiBCYaFT1iAz9u-m7FI4aX1k are available to help people identify and take next their steps. The Department recommends that individuals register on the Maine JobLink as well, which includes a weekly newsletter for job seekers highlighting opportunities and training.

Between March 15 and November 14, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $1.66 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits.

The Department has handled approximately 200,800 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 96,700 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. There have been over 2.8 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html

Other Updates:

Fraud Update

The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims as it investigates unemployment imposter fraud.

During the week ending November 14, the Department cancelled 1,900 initial claims and 25 weekly certifications that were determined to be fraudulent.

Unemployment imposter fraud is when a person's Personally Identifiable Information, or PII, is stolen and used illegally to apply for unemployment benefits. Maine is one of many U.S. states working in close collaboration with state and federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies to investigate and prevent it.

The Maine Department of Labor is also warning unemployment claimants and adding extra security measures to protect beneficiaries from fraudulent email "phishing" scams" in which bad actors steal usernames and passwords, use them to log into unemployment accounts, and change the payment information.

The Department was notified by the U.S. Department of Labor of scams happening across the country and is taking proactive action to review and prevent impact on Maine claimants. The Department has also received reports of phishing attempts in Maine.

Some phishing attempts mimicked the Maine Department of Labor and provided a link to reset a password, or a link to look at recent account activity.

The Department will never send a password reset email that wasn't requested by the individual. If someone did not request a reset and receives one of these emails, they should immediately delete the email and not respond. If they receive an email requesting they look at the recent activity in their account, they should not click on any links in the email, and instead go straight to their account.

Claimants log-in information could also be potentially obtained by criminals if someone uses the same log-in information for multiple websites and that log-in information is compromised. The Department strongly recommends that claimants use a password that is unique to their unemployment account and is not used for anything else.

The Department continues to evolve its fraud prevention techniques and is adding extra authentication technology to the ReEmployME system. The Department is temporarily holding several hundred claims while awaiting additional verification from the individuals. Individuals whose claims are on hold will be notified by email to call 1-800-593-7660 for further guidance.

What unemployment claimants should do to protect themselves:

  • Before filing their next weekly certification, they should go to Benefits Maintenance > Payment Options to verify their current payment information and update as needed.
  • Click on the link in Benefits Maintenance to verify their email address. This will generate an email with instructions on how to complete the process.
  • After verifying their email, the Department recommends changing their password to one that is not being used in any other online system. They will need to verify their email account before creating a new password by hitting forgot password on the log-in page. This will also generate an email within which they will need to click on a link. Passwords should not be shared with anyone.
  • Unsolicited emails about resetting passwords should be immediately deleted.
  • If unemployment benefit payments for prior weeks filed appear to have been redirected to a bank account that is not theirs, they should contact the Department.

The U.S. Department of Justice has put out an Unemployment Insurance Consumer Fraud Protection Guide - https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/docs/2020/USDOJUIFraudConsumerProtectionGuideFinal.pdf with information on unemployment fraud and what to do if you believe your information has been used to file a fraudulent claim.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/

Work Search Related Activities Requirement:

Weekly work search related activity requirements are in effect for all unemployment claimants. The only exception is for individuals in medical quarantine due to potential COVID-19 exposure.

Self-employed individuals need to attest to engaging in activities designed to fully reopen their business.

In response to the circumstances caused by the pandemic, the Department expanded possible work search activities to include opportunities to enhance individual's marketability during these challenging economic times.

Work search activities include:

  • Attending a job fair/virtual job fair hosted by a CareerCenter
  • Participating in CareerCenter virtual reemployment services
  • Participating in a CareerCenter virtual workshop
  • Applying for a job for which you are reasonably qualified
  • Interviewing for a job for which you are reasonably qualified
  • Contacting an employer to inquire as to whether the employer is hiring
  • Participating in professional job-related education or skills development
  • Participating in networking events related to a job or occupation for which you are reasonably qualified
  • Working part-time

For example, some resources through the Maine State Library count as a work search activity. Below are brief descriptions of the services and links to them on the Digital Maine Library.

Learning Express Library: https://libraries.maine.edu/mainedatabases/authmaine.asp?db=lel

  • Career Preparation includes: exploring new careers, including health care and green jobs; preparing for career exams, such as nursing assistant or real estate salesperson
  • Computer Skills includes everything from basic computer operation to specific Microsoft software
  • Adult Core Skills are geared at improving math and reading skills

Pronunciator: https://libraries.maine.edu/mainedatabases/authmaine.asp?db=pll - Learning a second language can be useful personally and professionally

Petersons Career Prep: https://libraries.maine.edu/mainedatabases/authmaine.asp?db=pcp - Resume development
- Career exploration
- Other job-related guidance

All claimants are also required to be registered on the Maine JobLink, a free job search tool, where claimants can upload their resumes and employers can post their job openings: https://joblink.maine.gov/ada/r/

The CareerCenters hold frequent virtual workshops on how to use the Maine JobLink. To register any of the CareerCenter workshops, please visit: http://www.mainecareercenter.com/employment/workshops.shtml

People can also call their local CareerCenter to schedule a 1:1 appointment with a CareerCenter Consultant to explore work search activity options specific to the persons individual needs.

More information, videos, and answers to frequently asked questions on the work search requirement can be found at: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/faq/worksearch/

If an employer has offered work to an employee and that employee refused the work, the employer should notify the Department. A fact-finding would be held to determine if there was good cause for the refusal of work. If no good cause is determined, then the claimant would no longer be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Employers can report refusals of work here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ucbr/

Briefing to the Maine Legislature 11-20-2020 Bookmark and Share

November 20, 2020

View the Maine Department of Labor's Briefing to the Maine Legislature by Commissioner Laura Fortman and Deputy Commissioner Kimberly Smith on November 20, 2020.

Please click on the following link to view the YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWiLTt7TdWA&feature=youtu.be

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending November 21 Bookmark and Share

November 25, 2020

For Immediate Release: November 25, 2020

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending November 14

AUGUSTA - For the week ending November 21, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 2,200 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 2,000 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). In total, approximately 2,800 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim. The increase in PUA initial claims is due to eligible claimants who were on the state Extended Benefit (EB) program when it ended November 14 moving to the PUA program.

About 11,800 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 13,700 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 13,500 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program and 2,400 weekly certifications were filed for the state Extended Benefits program. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

NOTE: Extended Benefit Program Ending November 14. The state Extended Benefit (EB) program provided up to 13 weeks of unemployment benefits to those who exhausted both their state unemployment insurance and then federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC).

The EB program is only in effect during times of high unemployment. EB is in effect when the average insured unemployment rate for the last 13 weeks is at least 5% and is more than 120% of the average for the last 2 years for the same time period. The insured unemployment rate is based on weekly claims for state unemployment benefits, and is different than the unemployment rate announced each month.

Some individuals who were receiving EB may be eligible for PUA benefits. PUA is available for people affected by COVID-19 and who aren't eligible for or who have exhausted the other available programs. PUA provides benefits for 39 weeks but is reduced by the number of weeks of state unemployment and EB already paid. They should continue to file weekly certifications so that eligibility can be determined.

Reminder that CareerCenter services are available to help people identify and take next their steps. It is a requirement that those receiving unemployment insurance benefits also be registered on the Maine JobLink, which includes a weekly newsletter for job seekers highlighting opportunities and training.

Between March 15 and November 21, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $1.68 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits.

The Department has handled approximately 203,000 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 98,700 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. There have been over 2.8 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html

Other Updates:

Fraud Update

The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims as it investigates unemployment imposter fraud.

During the week ending November 21, the Department cancelled 806 initial claims and 15 weekly certifications that were determined to be fraudulent.

Unemployment imposter fraud is when a person's Personally Identifiable Information, or PII, is stolen and used illegally to apply for unemployment benefits. Maine is one of many U.S. states working in close collaboration with state and federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies to investigate and prevent it.

The Maine Department of Labor is also warning unemployment claimants and adding extra security measures to protect beneficiaries from fraudulent email "phishing" scams" in which bad actors steal usernames and passwords, use them to log into unemployment accounts, and change the payment information.

The Department was notified by the U.S. Department of Labor of scams happening across the country and is taking proactive action to review and prevent impact on Maine claimants. The Department has also received reports of phishing attempts in Maine.

Claimants log-in information could also be potentially obtained by criminals if someone uses the same log-in information for multiple websites and that log-in information is compromised. The Department strongly recommends that claimants use a password that is unique to their unemployment account and is not used for anything else.

The Department continues to evolve its fraud prevention techniques and is adding extra authentication technology to the ReEmployME system. The Department is temporarily holding several hundred claims while awaiting additional verification from the individuals. Individuals whose claims are on hold will be notified by email to call 1-800-593-7660 for further guidance.

What unemployment claimants should do to protect themselves: - Before filing their next weekly certification, they should go to Benefits Maintenance > Payment Options to verify their current payment information and update as needed. - Click on the link in Benefits Maintenance to verify their email address. This will generate an email with instructions on how to complete the process. - After verifying their email, the Department recommends changing their password to one that is not being used in any other online system. They will need to verify their email account before creating a new password by hitting forgot password on the log-in page. This will also generate an email within which they will need to click on a link. Passwords should not be shared with anyone. - Unsolicited emails about resetting passwords should be immediately deleted. - If unemployment benefit payments for prior weeks filed appear to have been redirected to a bank account that is not theirs, they should contact the Department.

The U.S. Department of Justice has put out an Unemployment Insurance Consumer Fraud Protection Guide - https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/docs/2020/USDOJUIFraudConsumerProtectionGuideFinal.pdf with information on unemployment fraud and what to do if you believe your information has been used to file a fraudulent claim.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/

Work Search Related Activities Requirement:

Weekly work search related activity requirements are in effect for all unemployment claimants. The only exception is for individuals in medical quarantine due to potential COVID-19 exposure.

Self-employed individuals need to attest to engaging in activities designed to fully reopen their business.

In response to the circumstances caused by the pandemic, the Department expanded possible work search activities to include opportunities to enhance individual's marketability during these challenging economic times.

Work search activities include:

  • Attending a job fair/virtual job fair hosted by a CareerCenter
  • Participating in CareerCenter virtual reemployment services
  • Participating in a CareerCenter virtual workshop
  • Applying for a job for which you are reasonably qualified
  • Interviewing for a job for which you are reasonably qualified
  • Contacting an employer to inquire as to whether the employer is hiring
  • Participating in professional job-related education or skills development
  • Participating in networking events related to a job or occupation for which you are reasonably qualified
  • Working part-time

For example, some resources through the Maine State Library count as a work search activity. Below are brief descriptions of the services and links to them on the Digital Maine Library.

Learning Express Library: https://libraries.maine.edu/mainedatabases/authmaine.asp?db=lel

  • Career Preparation includes: exploring new careers, including health care and green jobs; preparing for career exams, such as nursing assistant or real estate salesperson
  • Computer Skills includes everything from basic computer operation to specific Microsoft software
  • Adult Core Skills are geared at improving math and reading skills

Pronunciator: https://libraries.maine.edu/mainedatabases/authmaine.asp?db=pll - Learning a second language can be useful personally and professionally

Petersons Career Prep: https://libraries.maine.edu/mainedatabases/authmaine.asp?db=pcp - Resume development
- Career exploration
- Other job-related guidance

All claimants are also required to be registered on the Maine JobLink, a free job search tool, where claimants can upload their resumes and employers can post their job openings: https://joblink.maine.gov/ada/r/

The CareerCenters hold frequent virtual workshops on how to use the Maine JobLink. To register any of the CareerCenter workshops, please visit: http://www.mainecareercenter.com/employment/workshops.shtml

People can also call their local CareerCenter to schedule a 1:1 appointment with a CareerCenter Consultant to explore work search activity options specific to the persons individual needs.

More information, videos, and answers to frequently asked questions on the work search requirement can be found at: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/faq/worksearch/

If an employer has offered work to an employee and that employee refused the work, the employer should notify the Department. A fact-finding would be held to determine if there was good cause for the refusal of work. If no good cause is determined, then the claimant would no longer be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Employers can report refusals of work here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ucbr/

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending November 28 Bookmark and Share

December 3, 2020

For Immediate Release: December 3, 2020

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending November 28

AUGUSTA - For the week ending November 28, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 1,900 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 700 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). In total, approximately 2,300 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.

About 11,600 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 15,400 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 12,700 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program and 100 weekly certifications were filed for the state Extended Benefits program. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits. Between March 15 and November 28, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $1.68 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits.

The Department has handled approximately 204,900 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 99,400 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. There have been over 2.9 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html

Reminder that the federal CARES Act unemployment programs (Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation) are scheduled to expire on December 26, unless Congress takes action.

CareerCenter services are available to help people identify and take next their steps. It is a requirement that those receiving unemployment insurance benefits also be registered on the Maine JobLink, which includes a weekly newsletter for job seekers highlighting opportunities and training.

Other Updates:

Fraud Update

The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims as it investigates unemployment imposter fraud.

During the week ending November 28, the Department cancelled 313 initial claims and 7 weekly certifications that were determined to be fraudulent.

Unemployment imposter fraud is when a person's Personally Identifiable Information, or PII, is stolen and used illegally to apply for unemployment benefits. Maine is one of many U.S. states working in close collaboration with state and federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies to investigate and prevent it.

The Maine Department of Labor is also warning unemployment claimants and adding extra security measures to protect beneficiaries from fraudulent email "phishing" scams" in which bad actors steal usernames and passwords, use them to log into unemployment accounts, and change the payment information.

The Department was notified by the U.S. Department of Labor of scams happening across the country and is taking proactive action to review and prevent impact on Maine claimants. The Department has also received reports of phishing attempts in Maine.

Some phishing attempts mimicked the Maine Department of Labor and provided a link to reset a password, or a link to look at recent account activity.

The Department will never send a password reset email that wasn't requested by the individual. If someone did not request a reset and receives one of these emails, they should immediately delete the email and not respond. If they receive an email requesting they look at the recent activity in their account, they should not click on any links in the email, and instead go straight to their account.

Claimants log-in information could also be potentially obtained by criminals if someone uses the same log-in information for multiple websites and that log-in information is compromised. The Department strongly recommends that claimants use a password that is unique to their unemployment account and is not used for anything else.

The Department continues to evolve its fraud prevention techniques and is adding extra authentication technology to the ReEmployME system. The Department is temporarily holding several hundred claims while awaiting additional verification from the individuals. Individuals whose claims are on hold will be notified by email to call 1-800-593-7660 for further guidance.

What unemployment claimants should do to protect themselves:

  • Before filing their next weekly certification, they should go to Benefits Maintenance > Payment Options to verify their current payment information and update as needed.
  • Click on the link in Benefits Maintenance to verify their email address. This will generate an email with instructions on how to complete the process.
  • After verifying their email, the Department recommends changing their password to one that is not being used in any other online system. They will need to verify their email account before creating a new password by hitting forgot password on the log-in page. This will also generate an email within which they will need to click on a link. Passwords should not be shared with anyone.
  • Unsolicited emails about resetting passwords should be immediately deleted.
  • If unemployment benefit payments for prior weeks filed appear to have been redirected to a bank account that is not theirs, they should contact the Department.

The U.S. Department of Justice has put out an Unemployment Insurance Consumer Fraud Protection Guide - https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/docs/2020/USDOJUIFraudConsumerProtectionGuideFinal.pdf with information on unemployment fraud and what to do if you believe your information has been used to file a fraudulent claim.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/

Work Search Related Activities Requirement:

Weekly work search related activity requirements are in effect for all unemployment claimants. The only exception is for individuals in medical quarantine due to potential COVID-19 exposure. Self-employed individuals need to attest to engaging in activities designed to fully reopen their business. In response to the circumstances caused by the pandemic, the Department expanded possible work search activities to include opportunities to enhance individual's marketability during these challenging economic times. Work search activities include:

  • Attending a job fair/virtual job fair hosted by a CareerCenter
  • Participating in CareerCenter virtual reemployment services
  • Participating in a CareerCenter virtual workshop
  • Applying for a job for which you are reasonably qualified
  • Interviewing for a job for which you are reasonably qualified
  • Contacting an employer to inquire as to whether the employer is hiring
  • Participating in professional job-related education or skills development
  • Participating in networking events related to a job or occupation for which you are reasonably qualified
  • Working part-time

For example, some resources through the Maine State Library count as a work search activity. Below are brief descriptions of the services and links to them on the Digital Maine Library.

Learning Express Library: https://libraries.maine.edu/mainedatabases/authmaine.asp?db=lel - Career Preparation includes: exploring new careers, including health care and green jobs; preparing for career exams, such as nursing assistant or real estate salesperson
- Computer Skills includes everything from basic computer operation to specific Microsoft software
- Adult Core Skills are geared at improving math and reading skills

Pronunciator: https://libraries.maine.edu/mainedatabases/authmaine.asp?db=pll - Learning a second language can be useful personally and professionally

Peterson's Career Prep: https://libraries.maine.edu/mainedatabases/authmaine.asp?db=pcp - Resume development
- Career exploration
- Other job-related guidance

Minimize Risk of Overpayments:

The Department would like to remind claimants that failure to participate in work search related activities will likely result in overpayments, which may need to be repaid by the claimant. Overpayments of funds paid through the PUA program cannot be waived.

If an individual has not participated in work search related activities for more than one week, the Department will contact them to ask why they didnt complete a work search activity. This is called a fact-finding interview. They can choose to do this by completing a questionnaire sent to them, or over the phone with a department representative. Based on this fact-finding interview, the Department will determine if they were eligible for benefits for that week. If benefits were already paid for a week but they were later denied as a result of this review, the benefits for that week may have to be repaid to MDOL.

All claimants are also required to be registered on the Maine JobLink, a free job search tool, where claimants can upload their resumes and employers can post their job openings: https://joblink.maine.gov/ada/r/

The CareerCenters hold frequent virtual workshops on how to use the Maine JobLink. To register any of the CareerCenter workshops, please visit: http://www.mainecareercenter.com/employment/workshops.shtml

People can also call their local CareerCenter to schedule a 1:1 appointment with a CareerCenter Consultant to explore work search activity options specific to the persons individual needs.

More information, videos, and answers to frequently asked questions on the work search requirement can be found at: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/faq/worksearch/

If an employer has offered work to an employee and that employee refused the work, the employer should notify the Department. A fact-finding would be held to determine if there was good cause for the refusal of work. If no good cause is determined, then the claimant would no longer be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Employers can report refusals of work here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ucbr/

Maine Dept. of Labor Urges Congress to Take Action to Avoid the Loss of Unemployment Insurance Benefits to 35,000 Mainers Bookmark and Share

December 3, 2020

For Immediate Release: Thursday, December 3, 2020

Maine Dept. of Labor Urges Congress to Take Action to Avoid the Loss of Unemployment Insurance Benefits to 35,000 Mainers

AUGUSTA - On Thursday, December 3, Maine Department of Labor Commissioner Laura Fortman sent a letter to the members of Maine's Congressional Delegation, expressing her gratitude and urging them to continue working to keep unemployment taxes for Maine businesses as low as possible and to extend and further support unemployment programs for Maine workers who lost their jobs through no fault of their own. To help accomplish this, Commissioner Fortman outlined several actions Congress could take.

"We estimate that there are roughly 35,000 Mainers who are in danger of losing unemployment benefits when the federal CARES Act unemployment programs expire on December 26," Commissioner Laura Fortman said. The Department has paid out about $1.68 billion in combined federal and state unemployment benefits since March funds that help people pay their bills and put food on the table. We are urging Congress to take action and take steps to help support Maine businesses and laid off workers as they continue to navigate the challenges created by this unprecedented public health and economic crisis.

In the letter, the Commissioner urged Congress to take the following actions:

  • Extend the three federal unemployment programs created by the CARES Act, which are currently set to expire on December 26, 2020
  • Keep Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) at a flat amount rather than a percentage of an individuals wages
  • Increase the number of weeks an individual can collect Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits
  • Provide adequate administrative funding for CARES Act programs
  • Provide additional support for the state Unemployment Trust Fund, in order to reduce future tax burdens on employers, ensure that benefits are there for workers who need them, and reduce the likelihood of Maine needing to borrow federal funds in order to pay benefits
  • Extend federal reimbursements at 100% for state extended benefit payments
  • Extend federal reimbursements at 100% for short-term compensation programs
  • Continue federal coverage of benefits paid during the one-week waiting period
  • Continue or increase support for direct reimbursable employers
  • Give the Department the authority to waive PUA and Lost Wage Assistance overpayments. The Department already has the authority to waive overpayments for the other state and federal programs if there is determined to be good cause.

The full content of the letter sent to Senator Susan Collins and Senator Angus King below:

On behalf of the Maine Department of Labor (MDOL), I am writing to express our appreciation for your ongoing commitment to the people of Maine during this global pandemic. The CARES Act and associated legislation has provided critical economic support to the workers and businesses in Maine.

I am deeply concerned that this support is ending. Over the last nine months, Ive seen first-hand the strain on people who suddenly lost their job. None of us could have guessed how long the COVID-19 crisis would last, but we are now coming up against the time when these same people are going to suddenly lose their unemployment benefits. This second round of financial loss will be devastating for Maine people and for Maines economy.

I urge you to prioritize continuation of the CARES Act programs. In addition, my staff and I hope youll consider our recommendations for changes to the programs. Our recommendations are based on our implementation of the programs and the day-to-day delivery of benefits.

In the following pages, Ill explain more about our recommendations regarding: - Extending federal unemployment programs, particularly PUA and FPUC; - Funding for state unemployment trust funds; - Ability to waive benefit overpayments in certain circumstances; - Administrative funding for ongoing operations; and - Additional funding and support to combat unemployment fraud.

I would also like to thank you for your role in the bipartisan team, which proposed a framework for a stimulus package on December 1. We appreciate the $180 million in targeted funds for unemployment. We have not yet seen a detailed proposal but hope that the information and recommendations below are helpful as you finalize a proposal.

Extension of Federal Programs

Since March 15th, BUC has paid out over $1.2 billion in enhanced unemployment benefits that were made possible through provisions in the CARES Act. This includes the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, which provided crucial benefits to a larger group of individuals than would normally be qualified. Roughly 96,700 initial claims have been filed for PUA since the Department started collecting applications on May 1st. Almost half of those relying on PUA benefits are businessowners or people who are self-employed. Through Thanksgiving, the Department has paid out nearly $150 million in PUA benefits. This program will end on December 26.

The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) provided a supplemental payment of $600 per week through July 25. The Department paid out nearly $920 million in FPUC benefits to Mainers. This provided essential support for basic needs such as rent and mortgage payments, groceries, childcare, and other necessities. Given the fact that winter is now upon us, this support will be even more critical to assist Mainers in covering heating costs.

The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program provided an additional 13 weeks of benefits, which has been crucial as Mainers exhaust the balance of their unemployment benefits. The Bureau has paid out roughly $50 million in PEUC benefits through Thanksgiving.

The Department recommends the extension of all three of these federal programs before they lapse. If Congress extends these programs, we would further make the following recommendations:

  • Increase the number of weeks that an individual may collect PUA benefits. Under current law, an individual may collect up to 39 weeks of PUA benefits. If someone began receiving these benefits when the pandemic began in March, their 39 weeks ends on December 12. Some individuals may have been eligible sooner based on their specific situation. They will exhaust their PUA benefits even sooner. The Department recommends not having a cap on the number of weeks PUA can be collected as long as there is a civil emergency in place. During the Great Recession, Maine qualified for up to 93 weeks of benefits through several rounds of additional benefits. The enactment of multiple rounds of benefits resulted in time spent reprogramming our system and in uncertainty amongst people filing for benefits.
  • Reauthorize the FPUC program and continuing to use a flat amount for a payment. There has been much talk of enacting a formula to replace a certain percentage of a claimants previous wages. States do not have the detailed weekly wage information to do this calculation; wages are reported in a lump sum each quarter for each individual. The Department would need detailed information on the weekly wages earned by each claimant in order to make this type of determination. It would also be incredibly difficult to collect this information on self-employed claimants collecting under the PUA program. The system programming would take several months to complete, which is counterproductive as we work to disburse payments as quickly as possible. We could quickly disburse a flat amount within a week.

Additional Trust Fund Support

Before the pandemic, Maine had one of the most solvent trust funds in the nation with a balance of roughly $500 million. The trust fund hit its lowest point in the pandemic in May when it dipped to a low of nearly $325 million. Amid record nationwide unemployment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Mills dedicated $294 million in CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) to Maines unemployment insurance trust fund. The investment will significantly reduce an employer tax increase for 2021 while ensuring benefits are available for laid off workers.

Without the infusion, the Maine Department of Labor estimates that employer unemployment taxes would have more than doubled in 2021. This would have been overly burdensome for the 45,000 employers that pay into Maines trust fund. Even with these CRF funds, there will be a modest increase in unemployment taxes for employers. Despite this infusion, if benefit disbursements continue at their current rate, the Department could very well need to borrow funds to continue paying benefits in the third quarter of 2021. This would require a special tax on employers in order to repay the loan. In addition, tax rates in 2022 are expected to jump to Schedule H, which is the highest tax rate.

There has been talk of loan forgiveness for states that have to borrow to pay benefits. This was also the case during the Great Recession. However, Maine was one of a few states that did not have to borrow at that time. This means that Maine employers bore the full burden of benefits there was no relief for them. Please consider not only helping states that must borrow, but also states who remain solvent. Bolstering states trust funds will help prevent future borrowing and will limit the impact on employer taxes. In order to remain at Schedule B in 2022 and to prevent a further increase in taxes for employers an additional $500 million would be needed in targeted money for the Maines unemployment trust fund.

In addition to targeted funding, the Department would also recommend:

  • Permanently extending federal reimbursements at 100% for the federal/state extended benefit payments. Extended benefit programs only go into effect in times of high unemployment. The most recent times that extended benefits have been active are during the Great Recession and during the pandemic. Each time, Congress voted to fund this program at 100% in recognition of the difficult economic times.
  • Extend federal reimbursements at 100% for short-term compensation programs (WorkShare as it is called in Maine).
  • Continue federal funding for benefits paid during the one-week waiting period, as long as it continues to be waived. Continue or increase support for direct reimbursable employers. Under the CARES Act, the federal government covered 50% of unemployment charges for direct reimbursable employers. Currently the most impacted direct reimbursable employers represent non-profits, towns, and schools that could not have budgeted to account for the crisis caused by COVID-19. The Department suggests extending the reimbursement coverage and increasing the amount the federal government is covering to 100%.

Authority to Waive Certain Overpayments

Overpayments occur when unemployment benefits are paid to an individual erroneously. The Department normally has the leeway to determine if there are extenuating circumstances or good cause as to why the individual provided misinformation or that the department made an error. In these situations, the Department has the authority to waive overpayments of regular state Unemployment Insurance benefits, FPUC payments, PEUC and other regular state benefit payments. When determining good cause, the Department considers the degree of fault for the claimants overpayment as well as their ability to pay back the debt. However, under no circumstances does the Department waive overpayments for fraud.

When the CARES Act was passed, it did not include the authority for departments to waive PUA overpayments. That means the Department must pursue the collection of these funds from all individuals, regardless of fault. This can cause greater hardship, especially for claimants who made an honest mistake.

The same is true for the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program, which was created through Executive Memorandum. LWA is a FEMA grant program that provided a time-limited $300 payment to certain eligible unemployment recipients. Much like the PUA program, the Department does not have the authority to waive any LWA overpayments, regardless of fault. The Department would encourage Congress to mirror the existing authority and protections granted in these unemployment programs for both the PUA and LWA programs.

Provide Adequate Administrative Funding for CARES Act Programs

The unemployment system runs as a federal-state partnership, with the federal government paying states to administer unemployment insurance programs. In recent years, the amount of federal funding has decreased due to the counter-cyclical nature of unemployment. Normally there is a period leading up to a recession where indicators point toward an economic downturn and departments across the country have time to ramp up services. This economic crisis is a public health crisis and came with no warning or time to prepare.

Departments of Labor have been nimble and have adapted to address the needs of laid off workers since the beginning of the pandemic. However, Departments do not have an adequate amount of administrative funding to adequately operate federal programs and make the necessary changes to the system to pay out benefits. It is crucial that states be funded for costs related to any extension of these programs. Without administrative funding, it will be difficult to maintain operations at a level needed to assist the people of Maine.

Provide Ongoing Funding & Support to States to Fight Unemployment Fraud

State unemployment insurance programs have been targeted with unprecedented fraud attacks during the COVID-19 pandemic. Well-organized and sophisticated criminal fraud rings have deluged states with massive identity theft claims in an effort to access benefits intended to help individuals and their families adversely impacted by the pandemic. The funding already provided to assist states in adding fraud investigation staff and strengthening unemployment system functionality in preventing and detecting fraudulent claims has been much appreciated. However, the battle against these criminals is ongoing and the methods used to file fraudulent claims successfully are constantly changing. To remain effective, states need to continually evolve their fraud filters and scans. States also need to add new and stronger technological tools to combat fraud or verify identity of those filing claims to prevent fraudulent benefits from being paid. There is an ongoing need for additional fraud investigation staff, and for collection staff focused on recovering fraudulent benefits already paid. It is critical that states receive additional funding and resources to support these efforts to combat fraud and protect the integrity of state unemployment trust funds.

My staff and I welcome any questions you have on these important matters. I truly thank you for your considerations of the Departments time-sensitive requests. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Laura A. Fortman Commissioner Maine Department of Labor

Mills Administration Announces One-Time Relief Payment for Mainers Unemployed Due to COVID-19 Bookmark and Share

December 9, 2020

For Immediate Release: December 9, 2020

Mills Administration Announces One-Time Relief Payment for Mainers Unemployed Due to COVID-19

AUGUSTA - Governor Janet Mills and Commissioner of Labor Laura Fortman announced today that the Administration will provide certain individuals who are unemployed due to COVID-19 with a one-time direct relief payment of $600 through the State's newly-created Pandemic Relief Program (PRP). The relief payment is meant to assist unemployed Maine people at a time when they continue to face substantial economic hardship as a result of COVID-19 and are losing their Federal unemployment benefits at the end of the month unless Congress acts. This payment includes self-employed, sole proprietors, and other business owners who are unemployed and losing their Federal unemployment benefits this month.

"Families across Maine are still grappling with the unprecedented economic hardships caused by the pandemic. While this relief payment is not enough to make unemployed Maine people whole, it is our hope it will serve as a lifeline to sustain them during the holidays and until Federal support arrives," said Governor Mills. I urge Congress to provide funding to the states so that we can direct relief to the people.

We urge Congress to extend Federal unemployment programs, but with their future unclear, we are stepping in to try to provide a level of assistance and certainty, said Laura Fortman, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Labor. We estimate that up to 42,000 Maine people could be eligible for this one-time $600 payment. We hope that this supplemental benefit will help struggling Maine people provide basic necessities for themselves and their families during these unprecedented times.

Governor Mills authorized the Maine Department of Labor (MDOL) to distribute the payment using $25.2 million in CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF). The one-time payment, which is not an unemployment benefit, will be distributed to those who are unemployed or partially unemployed due to COVID-19. They must have either exhausted PUA or PEUC benefits on or after week ending November 14 or have previously established a COVID-19 related claim, meet the requirements of the program, and have filed certifications for weeks ending December 5, 12, or 19.

Too many Maine people are facing difficult choices because of the COVID economic and health crisis, said Cynthia Phinney, President of the Maine AFL-CIO. We applaud Governor Mills for taking action to support Maine workers. With the holidays and cold weather upon us, this one-time payment will help thousands of workers struggling to make ends meet.

This action by Governor Mills will provide meaningful help to people who are struggling in this economy, said Chris Hastedt, Senior Policy Advisor for Maine Equal Justice. It is an important step in recognizing the crushing financial needs of so many laid off workers.

The one-time payment will be made by the end of December to the individuals account or debit card on file with the unemployment program. Eligibility is based on existing unemployment claim information. There is no need for claimants to call or apply separately for this supplemental benefit. All payments under PRP will be completed by the December 30, 2020 deadline as established by the U.S. Treasury for the disbursement of Federal CARES Act Funding.

For more information on the PRP, visit https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/.

The federal unemployment programs created by the CARES Act the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) are scheduled to expire on December 26, 2020 unless Congress acts. On December 3, the Maine Department of Labor sent a letter - https://www.maine.gov/labor/news_events/article.shtml?id=3701158 to the members of Maines Congressional Delegation urging Congress to keep unemployment taxes for Maine businesses as low as possible and to extend and further support unemployment programs for Maine workers who lost their jobs through no fault of their own. To help accomplish this, Commissioner Fortman outlined several actions Congress could take.

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending December 5 Bookmark and Share

December 10, 2020

For Immediate Release: December 10, 2020

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending December 5

AUGUSTA - For the week ending December 5, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 3,000 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 1,200 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). The majority of the increase in PUA initial claims and weekly certifications is due to claimants filing for PUA after exhausting their state Extended or Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) benefits. In total, approximately 3,700 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.

About 12,600 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 16,800 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 13,000 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program and 70 weekly certifications were filed for the state Extended Benefits program. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

Between March 15 and December 5, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $1.7 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits.

The Department has handled approximately 207,900 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 100,600 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. There have been over 2.9 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html

Reminder that the federal CARES Act unemployment programs (Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation) are scheduled to expire on December 26, unless Congress takes action.

CareerCenter services - https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/MEDOL/bulletins/2aa7228?fbclid=IwAR1phq7T51IZVDHcboJ4A2KOY7DKEE22YAiBCYaFT1iAz9u-m7FI4aX1k are available to help people identify and take next their steps. It is a requirement that those receiving unemployment insurance benefits also be registered on the Maine JobLink, which includes a weekly newsletter for job seekers highlighting opportunities and training.

Other Updates

Fraud Update

The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims as it investigates unemployment imposter fraud.

During the week ending December 5, the Department cancelled 518 initial claims and 5 weekly certifications that were determined to be fraudulent.

Unemployment imposter fraud is when a person's Personally Identifiable Information, or PII, is stolen and used illegally to apply for unemployment benefits. Maine is one of many U.S. states working in close collaboration with state and federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies to investigate and prevent it.

The Maine Department of Labor is also warning unemployment claimants and adding extra security measures to protect beneficiaries from fraudulent email "phishing" scams" in which bad actors steal usernames and passwords, use them to log into unemployment accounts, and change the payment information.

The Department was notified by the U.S. Department of Labor of scams happening across the country and is taking proactive action to review and prevent impact on Maine claimants. The Department has also received reports of phishing attempts in Maine.

Some phishing attempts mimicked the Maine Department of Labor and provided a link to reset a password, or a link to look at recent account activity.

The Department will never send a password reset email that wasn't requested by the individual. If someone did not request a reset and receives one of these emails, they should immediately delete the email and not respond. If they receive an email requesting they look at the recent activity in their account, they should not click on any links in the email, and instead go straight to their account.

Claimants log-in information could also be potentially obtained by criminals if someone uses the same log-in information for multiple websites and that log-in information is compromised. The Department strongly recommends that claimants use a password that is unique to their unemployment account and is not used for anything else.

The Department continues to evolve its fraud prevention techniques and is adding extra authentication technology to the ReEmployME system. The Department is temporarily holding several hundred claims while awaiting additional verification from the individuals. Individuals whose claims are on hold will be notified by email to call 1-800-593-7660 for further guidance.

What unemployment claimants should do to protect themselves:

  • Before filing their next weekly certification, they should go to Benefits Maintenance > Payment Options to verify their current payment information and update as needed.
  • Click on the link in Benefits Maintenance to verify their email address. This will generate an email with instructions on how to complete the process.
  • After verifying their email, the Department recommends changing their password to one that is not being used in any other online system. They will need to verify their email account before creating a new password by hitting forgot password on the log-in page. This will also generate an email within which they will need to click on a link. Passwords should not be shared with anyone.
  • Unsolicited emails about resetting passwords should be immediately deleted.
  • If unemployment benefit payments for prior weeks filed appear to have been redirected to a bank account that is not theirs, they should contact the Department

The U.S. Department of Justice has put out an Unemployment Insurance Consumer Fraud Protection Guide - https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/docs/2020/USDOJUIFraudConsumerProtectionGuideFinal.pdf with information on unemployment fraud and what to do if you believe your information has been used to file a fraudulent claim.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/ .

One-Time Relief Payment for Mainers Unemployed Due to COVID-19

Governor Janet Mills and Commissioner of Labor Laura Fortman announced yesterday that the Administration will provide certain individuals who are unemployed due to COVID-19 with a one-time direct relief payment of $600 through the State's newly-created Pandemic Relief Program (PRP). The relief payment is meant to assist unemployed Maine people at a time when they continue to face substantial economic hardship as a result of COVID-19 and are losing their Federal unemployment benefits at the end of the month unless Congress acts. This payment includes self-employed, sole proprietors, and other business owners who are unemployed and losing their Federal unemployment benefits this month.

Governor Mills authorized the Maine Department of Labor (MDOL) to distribute the payment using $25.2 million in CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF). The one-time payment, which is not an unemployment benefit, will be distributed to those who are unemployed or partially unemployed due to COVID-19. They must have either exhausted PUA or PEUC benefits on or after week ending November 14 or have previously established a COVID-19 related claim, meet the requirements of the program, and have filed certifications for weeks ending December 5, 12, or 19.

The one-time payment will be made by the end of December to the individuals account or debit card on file with the unemployment program. Eligibility is based on existing unemployment claim information. There is no need for claimants to call or apply separately for this supplemental benefit. All payments under PRP will be completed by the December 30, 2020 deadline as established by the U.S. Treasury for the disbursement of Federal CARES Act Funding.

For more information on the PRP, visit https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ .

Work Search Related Activities Requirement:

Weekly work search related activity requirements are in effect for all unemployment claimants. The only exception is for individuals in medical quarantine due to potential COVID-19 exposure.

Self-employed individuals need to attest to engaging in activities designed to fully reopen their business.

In response to the circumstances caused by the pandemic, the Department expanded possible work search activities to include opportunities to enhance individual's marketability during these challenging economic times.

Work search activities include: - Attending a job fair/virtual job fair hosted by a CareerCenter - Participating in CareerCenter virtual reemployment services - Participating in a CareerCenter virtual workshop - Applying for a job for which you are reasonably qualified - Interviewing for a job for which you are reasonably qualified - Contacting an employer to inquire as to whether the employer is hiring - Participating in professional job-related education or skills development - Participating in networking events related to a job or occupation for which you are reasonably qualified - Working part-time

For example, some resources through the Maine State Library count as a work search activity. Below are brief descriptions of the services and links to them on the Digital Maine Library.

Learning Express Library: https://libraries.maine.edu/mainedatabases/authmaine.asp?db=lel - Career Preparation includes: exploring new careers, including health care and green jobs; preparing for career exams, such as nursing assistant or real estate salesperson
- Computer Skills includes everything from basic computer operation to specific Microsoft software
- Adult Core Skills are geared at improving math and reading skills

Pronunciator: https://libraries.maine.edu/mainedatabases/authmaine.asp?db=pll - Learning a second language can be useful personally and professionally

Petersons Career Prep: https://libraries.maine.edu/mainedatabases/authmaine.asp?db=pcp - Resume development
- Career exploration
- Other job-related guidance

Minimize Risk of Overpayments:

The Department would like to remind claimants that failure to participate in work search related activities will likely result in overpayments, which may need to be repaid by the claimant. Overpayments of funds paid through the PUA program cannot be waived.

If an individual has not participated in work search related activities for more than one week, the Department will contact them to ask why they didnt complete a work search activity. This is called a fact-finding interview. They can choose to do this by completing a questionnaire sent to them, or over the phone with a department representative. Based on this fact-finding interview, the Department will determine if they were eligible for benefits for that week. If benefits were already paid for a week but they were later denied as a result of this review, the benefits for that week may have to be repaid to MDOL.

All claimants are also required to be registered on the Maine JobLink, a free job search tool, where claimants can upload their resumes and employers can post their job openings: https://joblink.maine.gov/ada/r/

The CareerCenters hold frequent virtual workshops on how to use the Maine JobLink. To register any of the CareerCenter workshops, please visit: http://www.mainecareercenter.com/employment/workshops.shtml

People can also call their local CareerCenter to schedule a 1:1 appointment with a CareerCenter Consultant to explore work search activity options specific to the persons individual needs.

More information, videos, and answers to frequently asked questions on the work search requirement can be found at: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/faq/worksearch/

If an employer has offered work to an employee and that employee refused the work, the employer should notify the Department. A fact-finding would be held to determine if there was good cause for the refusal of work. If no good cause is determined, then the claimant would no longer be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Employers can report refusals of work here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ucbr/

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending December 12 Bookmark and Share

December 17, 2020

For Immediate Release: December 17, 2020

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending December 12

AUGUSTA - For the week ending December 12, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 3,100 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 900 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). In total, approximately 3,900 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.

About 13,900 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 17,200 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 12,500 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program and 85 weekly certifications were filed for the state Extended Benefits program. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

The majority of the increase in state unemployment claims is due to seasonal layoffs that occur every winter, such as in construction and landscaping. The majority of the new PUA initial claims and weekly certifications are due to claimants filing for PUA after exhausting their state Extended or Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) benefits.

Between March 15 and December 12, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $1.7 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits.

The Department has handled approximately 211,000 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 101,600 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. There have been over 2.96 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html Reminder that the federal CARES Act unemployment programs (Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation) are scheduled to expire on December 26, unless Congress takes action.

CareerCenter services - https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/MEDOL/bulletins/2aa7228?fbclid=IwAR1phq7T51IZVDHcboJ4A2KOY7DKEE22YAiBCYaFT1iAz9u-m7FI4aX1k are available to help people identify and take next their steps. It is a requirement that those receiving unemployment insurance benefits also be registered on the Maine JobLink, which includes a weekly newsletter for job seekers highlighting opportunities and training.

Other Updates:

Fraud Update

The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims as it investigates unemployment imposter fraud. During the week ending December 12, the Department cancelled 147 initial claims and 2 weekly certifications that were determined to be fraudulent.

Unemployment imposter fraud is when a person's Personally Identifiable Information, or PII, is stolen and used illegally to apply for unemployment benefits. Maine is one of many U.S. states working in close collaboration with state and federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies to investigate and prevent it.

The Maine Department of Labor is also warning unemployment claimants and adding extra security measures to protect beneficiaries from fraudulent email "phishing" scams" in which bad actors steal usernames and passwords, use them to log into unemployment accounts, and change the payment information.

The Department was notified by the U.S. Department of Labor of scams happening across the country and is taking proactive action to review and prevent impact on Maine claimants. The Department has also received reports of phishing attempts in Maine. Some phishing attempts mimicked the Maine Department of Labor and provided a link to reset a password, or a link to look at recent account activity.

The Department will never send a password reset email that wasn't requested by the individual. If someone did not request a reset and receives one of these emails, they should immediately delete the email and not respond. If they receive an email requesting they look at the recent activity in their account, they should not click on any links in the email, and instead go straight to their account.

Claimants log-in information could also be potentially obtained by criminals if someone uses the same log-in information for multiple websites and that log-in information is compromised. The Department strongly recommends that claimants use a password that is unique to their unemployment account and is not used for anything else.

The Department continues to evolve its fraud prevention techniques and is adding extra authentication technology to the ReEmployME system. The Department is temporarily holding several hundred claims while awaiting additional verification from the individuals. Individuals whose claims are on hold will be notified by email to call 1-800-593-7660 for further guidance.

What unemployment claimants should do to protect themselves:

  • Before filing their next weekly certification, they should go to Benefits Maintenance > Payment Options to verify their current payment information and update as needed.
  • Click on the link in Benefits Maintenance to verify their email address. This will generate an email with instructions on how to complete the process.
  • After verifying their email, the Department recommends changing their password to one that is not being used in any other online system. They will need to verify their email account before creating a new password by hitting forgot password on the log-in page. This will also generate an email within which they will need to click on a link. Passwords should not be shared with anyone.
  • Unsolicited emails about resetting passwords should be immediately deleted.
  • If unemployment benefit payments for prior weeks filed appear to have been redirected to a bank account that is not theirs, they should contact the Department.

The U.S. Department of Justice has put out an Unemployment Insurance Consumer Fraud Protection Guide - https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/docs/2020/USDOJUIFraudConsumerProtectionGuideFinal.pdf with information on unemployment fraud and what to do if you believe your information has been used to file a fraudulent claim.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form:

https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/

One-Time Relief Payment for Mainers Unemployed Due to COVID-19

Governor Janet Mills and Commissioner of Labor Laura Fortman announced last week that the Administration will provide certain individuals who are unemployed due to COVID-19 with a one-time direct relief payment of $600 through the State's newly-created Pandemic Relief Program (PRP). The relief payment is meant to assist unemployed Maine people at a time when they continue to face substantial economic hardship as a result of COVID-19 and are losing their Federal unemployment benefits at the end of the month unless Congress acts.

Governor Mills authorized the Maine Department of Labor (MDOL) to distribute the payment using $25.2 million in CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF). The one-time payment, which is not an unemployment benefit, will be distributed to those who are unemployed or partially unemployed due to COVID-19. They must have either exhausted PUA or PEUC benefits on or after week ending November 14 or have previously established a COVID-19 related claim, meet the requirements of the unemployment program, and have filed certifications for weeks ending December 5, 12, or 19.

The one-time payment will be made by the end of December to the individuals account or debit card on file with the unemployment program. Eligibility is based on existing unemployment claim information. There is no need for claimants to call or apply separately for this supplemental benefit. All payments under PRP will be completed by the December 30, 2020 deadline as established by the U.S. Treasury for the disbursement of Federal CARES Act Funding.

For more information on the PRP, visit https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/.

Work Search Related Activities Requirement:

Weekly work search related activity requirements are in effect for all unemployment claimants. The only exception is for individuals in medical quarantine due to potential COVID-19 exposure.

Self-employed individuals need to attest to engaging in activities designed to fully reopen their business.

In response to the circumstances caused by the pandemic, the Department expanded possible work search activities to include opportunities to enhance individual's marketability during these challenging economic times.

Work search activities include:

  • Attending a job fair/virtual job fair hosted by a CareerCenter
  • Participating in CareerCenter virtual reemployment services
  • Participating in a CareerCenter virtual workshop
  • Applying for a job for which you are reasonably qualified
  • Interviewing for a job for which you are reasonably qualified
  • Contacting an employer to inquire as to whether the employer is hiring
  • Participating in professional job-related education or skills development
  • Participating in networking events related to a job or occupation for which you are reasonably qualified
  • Working part-time

For example, some resources through the Maine State Library count as a work search activity. Below are brief descriptions of the services and links to them on the Digital Maine Library.

Learning Express Library: https://libraries.maine.edu/mainedatabases/authmaine.asp?db=lel - Career Preparation includes: exploring new careers, including health care and green jobs; preparing for career exams, such as nursing assistant or real estate salesperson
- Computer Skills includes everything from basic computer operation to specific Microsoft software
- Adult Core Skills are geared at improving math and reading skills

Pronunciator: https://libraries.maine.edu/mainedatabases/authmaine.asp?db=pll - Learning a second language can be useful personally and professionally

Petersons Career Prep: https://libraries.maine.edu/mainedatabases/authmaine.asp?db=pcp - Resume development
- Career exploration
- Other job-related guidance

Minimize Risk of Overpayments:

The Department would like to remind claimants that failure to participate in work search related activities will likely result in overpayments, which may need to be repaid by the claimant. Overpayments of funds paid through the PUA program cannot be waived.

If an individual has not participated in work search related activities for more than one week, the Department will contact them to ask why they didnt complete a work search activity. This is called a fact-finding interview. They can choose to do this by completing a questionnaire sent to them, or over the phone with a department representative. Based on this fact-finding interview, the Department will determine if they were eligible for benefits for that week. If benefits were already paid for a week but they were later denied as a result of this review, the benefits for that week may have to be repaid to MDOL.

All claimants are also required to be registered on the Maine JobLink, a free job search tool, where claimants can upload their resumes and employers can post their job openings: https://joblink.maine.gov/ada/r/

The CareerCenters hold frequent virtual workshops on how to use the Maine JobLink. To register any of the CareerCenter workshops, please visit: http://www.mainecareercenter.com/employment/workshops.shtml

People can also call their local CareerCenter to schedule a 1:1 appointment with a CareerCenter Consultant to explore work search activity options specific to the persons individual needs.

More information, videos, and answers to frequently asked questions on the work search requirement can be found at: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/faq/worksearch/

If an employer has offered work to an employee and that employee refused the work, the employer should notify the Department. A fact-finding would be held to determine if there was good cause for the refusal of work. If no good cause is determined, then the claimant would no longer be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Employers can report refusals of work here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ucbr/

Maine Dept. of Labor Distributes One-Time $600 Relief Payment to 40,000 Mainers Unemployed due to COVID-19 Bookmark and Share

December 22, 2020

For Immediate Release: December 22, 2020

Maine Dept. of Labor Distributes One-Time $600 Relief Payment to 40,000 Mainers Unemployed due to COVID-19

AUGUSTA - Last night, the Maine Department of Labor distributed a one-time $600 emergency relief payment to about 40,000 Maine people unemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Governor Janet Mills authorized the payment under a newly created Pandemic Relief Program (PRP) to assist unemployed Maine people facing substantial economic hardship as a result of COVID-19.

"We are pleased to announce the distribution of this one-time emergency relief payment to families across Maine," said Laura Fortman, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Labor. While this payment is a start, we are also pleased by the passage of bipartisan COVID-relief legislation, to ensure Maine people can provide for the basic necessities for themselves and their families. The Department will work to implement any federal changes to unemployment programs as quickly as possible after they are passed into law.

When a qualified individual receives the one-time direct relief payment depends on their individual financial institution's deposit schedule. The payment, which is not an unemployment benefit, was made to the individuals account or debit card on file with the unemployment program.

This one-time payment is intended for individuals who were likely to exhaust or lose their benefits with the federally established expiration of expanded unemployment programs. Eligibility for this one-time payment was determined using existing, previously filed unemployment claim information and was not a separate application.

To qualify, an individual must have been unemployed due to COVID-19, and had either: - Exhausted federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) or Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) benefits on or after week ending November 14 or - Had an established COVID-19 benefit claim in active pay status, and had filed an eligible weekly claim for the weeks ending December 5, 12, or 19

Individuals who were newly unemployed and filed their first benefit claim application or reopened a prior claim on or after December 13, did not qualify.

Governor Mills authorized the Maine Department of Labor (MDOL) to distribute the payment using $25.2 million in CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF).

For more information on the PRP, visit https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ .

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending December 19 Bookmark and Share

December 23, 2020

For Immediate Release: December 23, 2020

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending December 19

AUGUSTA - For the week ending December 19, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 2,950 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 1,900 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). In total, approximately 3,700 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.

About 14,300 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 18,200 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 12,300 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

Maine's typically sees increases in state unemployment claims this time of year due to seasonal layoffs that occur every winter, such as in accommodations, eating and drinking places, construction, landscaping, and temporary help. Some of these industries have seen increased impact due to COVID-19. The majority of the new PUA initial claims and weekly certifications are due to claimants filing for PUA after exhausting their state Extended or Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) benefits.

Between March 15 and December 19, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $1.7 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits.

The Department has handled approximately 214,000 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 103,400 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. There have been over 3 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html

CareerCenter services - https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/MEDOL/bulletins/2aa7228?fbclid=IwAR1phq7T51IZVDHcboJ4A2KOY7DKEE22YAiBCYaFT1iAz9u-m7FI4aX1k are available to help people identify and take next their steps. It is a requirement that those receiving unemployment insurance benefits also be registered on the Maine JobLink, which includes a weekly newsletter for job seekers highlighting opportunities and training.

Other Updates:

Pending Federal Unemployment Extensions:

The federal unemployment programs Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) were scheduled to end on December 26, unless Congress took action.

We are reviewing the recent legislation that was passed by Congress, which must be signed by the President before it can be implemented. The Department is carefully monitoring any subsequent actions by Congress, the President as well as the U.S. Department of Labor so that we can implement any extension of unemployment insurance programs as quickly as possible.

The Department urges claimants who are still unemployed and receiving benefits under the federal programs to continue to file weekly certifications, even though they may see "no active claim" on their claim summary screen after December 26. This will ensure that when the Department is able to implement the programs approved by Congress, we can release payments to you for the weeks you are eligible for. Please continue to check the website for updates as well: www.maine.gov/unemployment.

Top-line unemployment takeaways from the new legislation are as follows:

Extension of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) - Will provide up to an additional 11 weeks of benefits, to a maximum of 50 weeks. - Claimants will be required to provide documentation of eligibility to qualify for PUA beginning Jan. 31, 2021. - PUA will be available until week ending March 13, 2021 (no new applications after that date). Anyone already in the PUA program by that date who has not exhausted their benefits can continue through April 3.
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) - Will provide up to an additional 11 weeks of benefits, to a maximum of 24 weeks. - PEUC will be available until week ending March 13, 2021 (no new applications after that date). Anyone already in the PEUC program by that date who has not exhausted their benefits can continue through April 3. Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) - Will provide up to 11 weeks of an additional $300 weekly benefit to eligible claimants. - A claimant must be eligible for an unemployment program (state unemployment, PUA, PEUC) to receive FPUC. - Once implemented, FPUC will be available to cover weeks of unemployment between Dec. 27, 2020 and week ending March 13, 2021.

The Department will work to implement any federal changes to unemployment programs as quickly as possible after they are passed into law. Those who have been receiving benefits under the federal programs should continue to file their weekly certifications, so that payments can be made to eligible individuals as soon as possible.

Reminder: Maine's Minimum Wage to Increase to $12.15 Per Hour in 2021

Effective January 1, 2021, the state minimum wage will increase from $12 to $12.15 per hour.

This increase is pursuant to Maine law (Maine statute 26 MRS 664), which requires annual adjustments to the minimum wage by the cost of living index (CPI-W) beginning in 2021. This follows $1 annual increases to the minimum wage each of the past three years.

In addition to the minimum wage itself, the Department has calculated the new tip wage, or service employee minimum wage, in 2021 to be $6.08 per hour. This means that service employees must receive at least a direct cash wage of $6.08 per hour from the employer. The employer must be able to show that the employee receives at least the minimum wage of $12.15 per hour when the direct wage and tips are combined at the end of the week. Maines laws state that tips are the property of the employee and tip pooling arrangements can only include service employees. More information on the service employee minimum wage can be found here: Minimum Wage and Overtime - http://legislature.maine.gov/statutes/26/title26sec664.html

The minimum salary threshold for exempting a worker from overtime pay is also based on the minimum wage. Starting January 1, 2021, the new minimum salary threshold is $700.97 per week, or $36,450 per year. This is only one of the factors used in determining whether a worker is exempt from overtime pay under federal or state law. The duties of each worker must be considered as part of this analysis. The law can be found here - http://legislature.maine.gov/legis/statutes/26/title26sec664.html .

More information can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/labor_laws/wagehour.html .

Fraud Update

The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims as it investigates unemployment imposter fraud. During the week ending December 19, the Department cancelled 122 initial claims and 3 weekly certifications that were determined to be fraudulent. Unemployment imposter fraud is when a person's Personally Identifiable Information, or PII, is stolen and used illegally to apply for unemployment benefits. Maine is one of many U.S. states working in close collaboration with state and federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies to investigate and prevent it.

The Maine Department of Labor is also warning unemployment claimants and adding extra security measures to protect beneficiaries from fraudulent email "phishing" scams in which bad actors steal usernames and passwords, use them to log into unemployment accounts, and change the payment information.

The Department was notified by the U.S. Department of Labor of scams happening across the country and is taking proactive action to review and prevent impact on Maine claimants. The Department has also received reports of phishing attempts in Maine.

Some phishing attempts mimicked the Maine Department of Labor and provided a link to reset a password, or a link to look at recent account activity.

The Department will never send a password reset email that wasn't requested by the individual. If someone did not request a reset and receives one of these emails, they should immediately delete the email and not respond. If they receive an email requesting they look at the recent activity in their account, they should not click on any links in the email, and instead go straight to their account.

Claimants log-in information could also be potentially obtained by criminals if someone uses the same log-in information for multiple websites and that log-in information is compromised. The Department strongly recommends that claimants use a password that is unique to their unemployment account and is not used for anything else.

The Department continues to evolve its fraud prevention techniques and is adding extra authentication technology to the ReEmployME system. The Department is temporarily holding several hundred claims while awaiting additional verification from the individuals. Individuals whose claims are on hold will be notified by email to call 1-800-593-7660 for further guidance.

What unemployment claimants should do to protect themselves:

  • Before filing their next weekly certification, they should go to Benefits Maintenance > Payment Options to verify their current payment information and update as needed.
  • Click on the link in Benefits Maintenance to verify their email address. This will generate an email with instructions on how to complete the process.
  • After verifying their email, the Department recommends changing their password to one that is not being used in any other online system. They will need to verify their email account before creating a new password by hitting forgot password on the log-in page. This will also generate an email within which they will need to click on a link. Passwords should not be shared with anyone.
  • Unsolicited emails about resetting passwords should be immediately deleted.
  • If unemployment benefit payments for prior weeks filed appear to have been redirected to a bank account that is not theirs, they should contact the Department. The U.S. Department of Justice has put out an Unemployment Insurance Consumer Fraud Protection Guide - https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/docs/2020/USDOJUIFraudConsumerProtectionGuideFinal.pdf with information on unemployment fraud and what to do if you believe your information has been used to file a fraudulent claim.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/

Work Search Related Activities Requirement:

Weekly work search related activity requirements are in effect for all unemployment claimants. The only exception is for individuals in medical quarantine due to potential COVID-19 exposure.

Self-employed individuals need to attest to engaging in activities designed to fully reopen their business. In response to the circumstances caused by the pandemic, the Department expanded possible work search activities to include opportunities to enhance individual's marketability during these challenging economic times.

Work search activities include: - Attending a job fair/virtual job fair hosted by a CareerCenter - Participating in CareerCenter virtual reemployment services - Participating in a CareerCenter virtual workshop - Applying for a job for which you are reasonably qualified - Interviewing for a job for which you are reasonably qualified - Contacting an employer to inquire as to whether the employer is hiring - Participating in professional job-related education or skills development - Participating in networking events related to a job or occupation for which you are reasonably qualified - Working part-time

For example, some resources through the Maine State Library count as a work search activity. Below are brief descriptions of the services and links to them on the Digital Maine Library.

Learning Express Library: https://libraries.maine.edu/mainedatabases/authmaine.asp?db=lel - Career Preparation includes: exploring new careers, including health care and green jobs; preparing for career exams, such as nursing assistant or real estate salesperson
- Computer Skills includes everything from basic computer operation to specific Microsoft software
- Adult Core Skills are geared at improving math and reading skills

Pronunciator: https://libraries.maine.edu/mainedatabases/authmaine.asp?db=pll - Learning a second language can be useful personally and professionally

Petersons Career Prep: https://libraries.maine.edu/mainedatabases/authmaine.asp?db=pcp - Resume development
- Career exploration
- Other job-related guidance

Minimize Risk of Overpayments:

The Department would like to remind claimants that failure to participate in work search related activities will likely result in overpayments, which may need to be repaid by the claimant. Overpayments of funds paid through the PUA program cannot be waived.

If an individual has not participated in work search related activities for more than one week, the Department will contact them to ask why they didnt complete a work search activity. This is called a fact-finding interview. They can choose to do this by completing a questionnaire sent to them, or over the phone with a department representative. Based on this fact-finding interview, the Department will determine if they were eligible for benefits for that week. If benefits were already paid for a week but they were later denied as a result of this review, the benefits for that week may have to be repaid to MDOL.

All claimants are also required to be registered on the Maine JobLink, a free job search tool, where claimants can upload their resumes and employers can post their job openings: https://joblink.maine.gov/ada/r/

The CareerCenters hold frequent virtual workshops on how to use the Maine JobLink. To register any of the CareerCenter workshops, please visit: http://www.mainecareercenter.com/employment/workshops.shtml

People can also call their local CareerCenter to schedule a 1:1 appointment with a CareerCenter Consultant to explore work search activity options specific to the persons individual needs.

More information, videos, and answers to frequently asked questions on the work search requirement can be found at: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/faq/worksearch/

If an employer has offered work to an employee and that employee refused the work, the employer should notify the Department. A fact-finding would be held to determine if there was good cause for the refusal of work. If no good cause is determined, then the claimant would no longer be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Employers can report refusals of work here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ucbr/

Maine Dept. of Labor Working to Implement New Federal Unemployment Legislation Bookmark and Share

December 28, 2020

For Immediate Release: December 28, 2020

Maine Dept. of Labor Working to Implement New Federal Unemployment Legislation

AUGUSTA - The President has signed the bipartisan COVID-19 relief legislation, which extends the federal unemployment programs Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), and the Maine Department of Labor is reviewing the legislation and working to implement the changes as quickly as possible.

"The PUA and PEUC programs ended on December 26. This interruption in the programs will cause at least a one week delay in people receiving their federal benefits. However, we are relieved that the bi-partisan COVID relief package has been signed by the President," Commissioner Laura Fortman said. Unemployment benefits are a lifeline for thousands of Maine people right now. MDOL will work as quickly as possible to ensure people can continue to provide the basic necessities for themselves and their families.

The Department urges claimants who are still unemployed and receiving benefits under the federal programs to continue to file weekly certifications, even though they may see no active claim on their claim summary screen temporarily.

Because the legislation was signed after the programs lapsed on Dec. 26, there will be a brief delay in programs restarting. As was the case with previous federal unemployment programs, states must receive guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor before they can fully implement the changes and begin issuing payments. Having weekly certifications already on file will ensure that payments can be made to eligible individuals as soon as the federal changes are implemented.

Top-line unemployment takeaways from the new legislation are as follows:

Extension of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) - Will provide up to an additional 11 weeks of benefits, to a maximum of 50 weeks. - Claimants will be required to provide documentation of eligibility to qualify for PUA beginning Jan. 31, 2021. - PUA will be available until week ending March 13, 2021 (no new applications after that date). Anyone already in the PUA program by that date who has not exhausted their benefits can continue through April 3.

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) - Will provide up to an additional 11 weeks of benefits, to a maximum of 24 weeks. - PEUC will be available until week ending March 13, 2021 (no new applications after that date). Anyone already in the PEUC program by that date who has not exhausted their benefits can continue through April 3.

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) - Will provide up to 11 weeks of an additional $300 weekly benefit to eligible claimants. - A claimant must be eligible for an unemployment program (state unemployment, PUA, PEUC) to receive FPUC. - Once implemented, FPUC will be available to cover weeks of unemployment between Dec. 27, 2020 and week ending March 13, 2021.

In anticipation of the federal programs ending and leaving thousands of Mainers without unemployment benefits, Governor Janet Mills' Administration distributed a one-time $600 payment - https://www.maine.gov/labor/news_events/article.shtml?id=3815365 to over 40,000 people who were unemployed due to COVID-19 on December 21. Now that the programs have been extended, the Department will work to implement the federal changes as quickly as possible. Those who have been receiving benefits under the federal programs should continue to file their weekly certifications, so that payments can be made to eligible individuals as soon as possible.

Updates will be posted to MDOLs website: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ .

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending December 26 Bookmark and Share

December 31, 2020

For Immediate Release: December 31, 2020

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending December 26

AUGUSTA - For the week ending December 26, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 2,700 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 1,800 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). In total, approximately 3,300 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.

About 13,400 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 16,500 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 10,500 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

Maine's typically sees increases in state unemployment claims this time of year due to seasonal layoffs that occur every winter, such as in accommodations, eating and drinking places, construction, landscaping, and temporary help. Some of these industries have seen increased impact due to COVID-19.

Between March 15 and December 26, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $1.7 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits.

The Department has handled approximately 216,500 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 105,200 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. There have been over 3 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html

CareerCenter services are available to help people identify and take next their steps. It is a requirement that those receiving unemployment insurance benefits also be registered on the Maine JobLink, which includes a weekly newsletter for job seekers highlighting opportunities and training.

Other Updates:

Maine Dept. of Labor Working to Implement New Federal Unemployment Legislation:

The President has signed the bipartisan COVID-19 relief legislation, which extends the federal unemployment programs Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), and the Maine Department of Labor is reviewing the legislation and working to implement the changes as quickly as possible.

8The Department urges claimants who are still unemployed and receiving benefits under the federal programs to continue to file weekly certifications,* even though they may see no active claim on their claim summary screen temporarily.

Based on federal guidance, the first payable week of the PUA and PEUC extension is week ending January 2. While there will be no break in benefit accrual or eligibility, there may be a brief break in benefit payment for some claimants. The Department is preparing to process benefits for people who were actively filing and receiving PUA/PEUC when the programs ended on Dec. 26 and who had not yet fully drawn the benefits for those programs.

The legislation was signed on Dec. 27. Since these are federal unemployment programs, states must receive guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor before they can fully implement the changes and payments for all of the programs.

Having weekly certifications already on file will ensure that payments can be made to eligible individuals as soon as the federal changes are implemented.

Top-line unemployment takeaways from the new legislation are as follows:

Extension of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) - Will provide up to an additional 11 weeks of benefits, to a maximum of 50 weeks. - Claimants will be required to provide documentation of eligibility to qualify for PUA beginning Jan. 31, 2021. - PUA will be available until week ending March 13, 2021 (no new applications after that date). Anyone already in the PUA program by that date who has not exhausted their benefits can continue through April 3.

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) - Will provide up to an additional 11 weeks of benefits, to a maximum of 24 weeks. - PEUC will be available until week ending March 13, 2021 (no new applications after that date). Anyone already in the PEUC program by that date who has not exhausted their benefits can continue through April 3.

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) - Will provide up to 11 weeks of an additional $300 weekly benefit to eligible claimants.

A claimant must be eligible for an unemployment program (state unemployment, PUA, PEUC) to receive FPUC. - Once implemented, FPUC will be available to cover weeks of unemployment between Dec. 27, 2020 and week ending March 13, 2021.

Updates will be posted to MDOLs website: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ .

Reminder: Earned Paid Leave Law Goes into Effect January 1

Maines new Earned Paid Leave Law, which ensures employees of businesses with more than 10 employees can earn up to 40 hours of annual paid leave, goes into effect on January 1, 2021.

Maine is the first state to permit using this leave for reasons outside of illness, as long as employees give their employer reasonable notice. Gov. Janet Mills signed the Earned Paid Leave Law in May 2019, after working with a diverse group of stakeholders to create a consensus to support Maine workers who lacked paid leave. It received strong bipartisan support in the Legislature and an endorsement from the Maine State Chamber of Commerce.

The Earned Paid Leave Law applies to employers with more than 10 workers in Maine for 120 days or more in a calendar year, except for seasonal industries as defined in the statute. Employers covered by the law must provide employees with one hour of paid leave for every 40 hours they work, up to a maximum of 40 hours of paid leave per year.

MDOL held 10 public listening sessions last fall on the law prior to the formal rulemaking process. It also held a virtual public hearing and received written comments on the draft Rules, responses to which have been posted online.

More information: https://www.maine.gov/labor/labor_laws/earnedpaidleave/

Reminder: Maine's Minimum Wage to Increase to $12.15 Per Hour in 2021

Effective January 1, 2021, the state minimum wage will increase from $12 to $12.15 per hour.

This increase is pursuant to Maine law (Maine statute 26 MRS 664), which requires annual adjustments to the minimum wage by the cost of living index (CPI-W) beginning in 2021. This follows $1 annual increases to the minimum wage each of the past three years.

In addition to the minimum wage itself, the Department has calculated the new tip wage, or service employee minimum wage, in 2021 to be $6.08 per hour. This means that service employees must receive at least a direct cash wage of $6.08 per hour from the employer. The employer must be able to show that the employee receives at least the minimum wage of $12.15 per hour when the direct wage and tips are combined at the end of the week. Maines laws state that tips are the property of the employee and tip pooling arrangements can only include service employees. More information on the service employee minimum wage can be found here: Minimum Wage and Overtime - http://legislature.maine.gov/statutes/26/title26sec664.html

The minimum salary threshold for exempting a worker from overtime pay is also based on the minimum wage. Starting January 1, 2021, the new minimum salary threshold is $700.97 per week, or $36,450 per year. This is only one of the factors used in determining whether a worker is exempt from overtime pay under federal or state law. The duties of each worker must be considered as part of this analysis. The law can be found here - http://legislature.maine.gov/legis/statutes/26/title26sec664.html .

More information can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/labor_laws/wagehour.html .

Fraud Update

The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims as it investigates unemployment imposter fraud. During the week ending December 26, the Department cancelled 1,472 initial claims and 1 weekly certification that were determined to be fraudulent.

Unemployment imposter fraud is when a person's Personally Identifiable Information, or PII, is stolen and used illegally to apply for unemployment benefits. Maine is one of many U.S. states working in close collaboration with state and federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies to investigate and prevent it.

The Maine Department of Labor is also warning unemployment claimants and adding extra security measures to protect beneficiaries from fraudulent email "phishing" scams" in which bad actors steal usernames and passwords, use them to log into unemployment accounts, and change the payment information.

The Department was notified by the U.S. Department of Labor of scams happening across the country and is taking proactive action to review and prevent impact on Maine claimants. The Department has also received reports of phishing attempts in Maine.

Some phishing attempts mimicked the Maine Department of Labor and provided a link to reset a password, or a link to look at recent account activity.

The Department will never send a password reset email that wasn't requested by the individual. If someone did not request a reset and receives one of these emails, they should immediately delete the email and not respond. If they receive an email requesting they look at the recent activity in their account, they should not click on any links in the email, and instead go straight to their account.

Claimants log-in information could also be potentially obtained by criminals if someone uses the same log-in information for multiple websites and that log-in information is compromised. The Department strongly recommends that claimants use a password that is unique to their unemployment account and is not used for anything else.

The Department continues to evolve its fraud prevention techniques and is adding extra authentication technology to the ReEmployME system. The Department is temporarily holding several hundred claims while awaiting additional verification from the individuals. Individuals whose claims are on hold will be notified by email to call 1-800-593-7660 for further guidance.

What unemployment claimants should do to protect themselves: - Before filing their next weekly certification, they should go to Benefits Maintenance > Payment Options to verify their current payment information and update as needed. - Click on the link in Benefits Maintenance to verify their email address. This will generate an email with instructions on how to complete the process. - After verifying their email, the Department recommends changing their password to one that is not being used in any other online system. They will need to verify their email account before creating a new password by hitting forgot password on the log-in page. This will also generate an email within which they will need to click on a link. Passwords should not be shared with anyone. - Unsolicited emails about resetting passwords should be immediately deleted. - If unemployment benefit payments for prior weeks filed appear to have been redirected to a bank account that is not theirs, they should contact the Department.

The U.S. Department of Justice has put out an Unemployment Insurance Consumer Fraud Protection Guide with information on unemployment fraud and what to do if you believe your information has been used to file a fraudulent claim.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/

Work Search Related Activities Requirement:

Weekly work search related activity requirements are in effect for all unemployment claimants. The only exception is for individuals in medical quarantine due to potential COVID-19 exposure.

Self-employed individuals need to attest to engaging in activities designed to fully reopen their business. In response to the circumstances caused by the pandemic, the Department expanded possible work search activities to include opportunities to enhance individual's marketability during these challenging economic times.

Work search activities include: - Attending a job fair/virtual job fair hosted by a CareerCenter - Participating in CareerCenter virtual reemployment services - Participating in a CareerCenter virtual workshop - Applying for a job for which you are reasonably qualified - Interviewing for a job for which you are reasonably qualified - Contacting an employer to inquire as to whether the employer is hiring - Participating in professional job-related education or skills development - Participating in networking events related to a job or occupation for which you are reasonably qualified - Working part-time

For example, some resources through the Maine State Library count as a work search activity. Below are brief descriptions of the services and links to them on the Digital Maine Library.

Learning Express Library: https://libraries.maine.edu/mainedatabases/authmaine.asp?db=lel - Career Preparation includes: exploring new careers, including health care and green jobs; preparing for career exams, such as nursing assistant or real estate salesperson
- Computer Skills includes everything from basic computer operation to specific Microsoft software
- Adult Core Skills are geared at improving math and reading skills

Pronunciator: https://libraries.maine.edu/mainedatabases/authmaine.asp?db=pll - Learning a second language can be useful personally and professionally

Petersons Career Prep: https://libraries.maine.edu/mainedatabases/authmaine.asp?db=pcp - Resume development
- Career exploration
- Other job-related guidance

Minimize Risk of Overpayments:

The Department would like to remind claimants that failure to participate in work search related activities will likely result in overpayments, which may need to be repaid by the claimant. Overpayments of funds paid through the PUA program cannot be waived.

If an individual has not participated in work search related activities for more than one week, the Department will contact them to ask why they didnt complete a work search activity. This is called a fact-finding interview. They can choose to do this by completing a questionnaire sent to them, or over the phone with a department representative. Based on this fact-finding interview, the Department will determine if they were eligible for benefits for that week. If benefits were already paid for a week but they were later denied as a result of this review, the benefits for that week may have to be repaid to MDOL.

All claimants are also required to be registered on the Maine JobLink, a free job search tool, where claimants can upload their resumes and employers can post their job openings: https://joblink.maine.gov/ada/r/

The CareerCenters hold frequent virtual workshops on how to use the Maine JobLink. To register any of the CareerCenter workshops, please visit: http://www.mainecareercenter.com/employment/workshops.shtml

People can also call their local CareerCenter to schedule a 1:1 appointment with a CareerCenter Consultant to explore work search activity options specific to the persons individual needs.

More information, videos, and answers to frequently asked questions on the work search requirement can be found at: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/faq/worksearch/

If an employer has offered work to an employee and that employee refused the work, the employer should notify the Department. A fact-finding would be held to determine if there was good cause for the refusal of work. If no good cause is determined, then the claimant would no longer be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Employers can report refusals of work here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ucbr/

Maine Dept. of Labor Receives Initial Federal Guidance, Working to Implement Federal UI Extensions Bookmark and Share

December 31, 2020

For Immediate Release: December 31, 2020

Maine Dept. of Labor Receives Initial Federal Guidance, Working to Implement Federal UI Extensions

AUGUSTA - The U.S. Department of Labor has issued the first of several expected guidance documents that provides overarching implementation information about unemployment insurance (UI) provisions contained in the Continued Assistance for Unemployed Workers Act of 2020, which extends federal unemployment programs such as Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC).

Additionally, the legislation reauthorizes and modifies the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program (FPUC), which expired July 31, 2020, to provide an additional $300 per week to supplement benefits for weeks of unemployment beginning December 27, 2020, and ending on March 13, 2021. FPUC is not payable with respect to any week during the gap in applicability, that is, week ending July 31, 2020, through week ending December 26, 2020.

The Department urges claimants who are still unemployed and receiving benefits under the federal programs to continue to file weekly certifications, even though they may see no active claim on their claim summary screen temporarily. Having weekly certifications already on file will ensure that payments can be made to eligible individuals as soon as the federal changes are implemented.

Based on federal guidance, the first payable week of the PUA and PEUC extension is week ending January 2. While there will be no break in benefit accrual or eligibility, there may be a brief break in benefit payment for some claimants.

The Department will first process benefits, as well as the $300 FPUC, for people who were actively filing and receiving PUA/PEUC when the programs ended on Dec. 26 and who had not yet fully drawn the benefits for those programs.

Top-line unemployment takeaways from the new legislation are as follows:

Extension of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) - Will provide up to an additional 11 weeks of benefits, to a maximum of 50 weeks. - Claimants will be required to provide documentation of eligibility to qualify for PUA - PUA will be available until week ending March 13, 2021 (no new applications after that date). Anyone already in the PUA program by that date who has not exhausted their benefits can continue through April 10.

Extension of Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) - Will provide up to an additional 11 weeks of benefits, to a maximum of 24 weeks. - PEUC will be available until week ending March 13, 2021 (no new applications after that date). Anyone already in the PEUC program by that date who has not exhausted their benefits can continue through April 10.

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) - Will provide up to 11 weeks of an additional $300 weekly benefit to eligible claimants. - A claimant must be eligible for an unemployment program (state unemployment, PUA, PEUC) to receive FPUC. - Once implemented, FPUC will be available to cover weeks of unemployment between Dec. 27, 2020 and week ending March 13, 2021.

The federal guidance can be found at: https://wdr.doleta.gov/directives/corr_doc.cfm?DOCN=3831.

US DOL anticipates releasing further program-specific Unemployment Insurance Program Letters to states that will provide, in further detail, legal and programmatic guidance on certain provisions of the law, including: - Extended Benefits - Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation - Pandemic Unemployment Assistance - Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation - Merit Staffing Flexibilities - Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation - Funding to address fraud

Updates will be posted to MDOLs website: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/.

Supporting documents

Unemployment Programs Chart

Governor Mills and Maine Dept. of Labor Congratulate Puritan Medical Products on National Recognition as "Company of the Year" Bookmark and Share

January 6, 2021

For Immediate Release: January 6, 2021

8Governor Mills and Maine Dept. of Labor Congratulate Puritan Medical Products on National Recognition as "Company of the Year"*

AUGUSTA - Governor Janet Mills and Commissioner of the Maine Department of Labor Laura Fortman today congratulated Puritan Medical Products for being named Inc. Magazine's 2020 Company of the Year.

"Puritan Medical Products embodies the long and proud tradition of Maine businesses stepping up during tumultuous times to meet the needs of our state, said Governor Mills. On behalf of the people of Maine, I thank Puritan for manufacturing critical testing supplies during the pandemic and congratulate them for this well-deserved honor. Inc. Magazine launched their inaugural Best in Business awards, including the prestigious Company of the Year award, celebrating businesses making a positive impact in their industries in 2020. In its inaugural year, the program attracted 2,700 entries across 37 categories.

Puritan was selected for recognition for being one of two companies in the world manufacturing nasal swabs necessary for COVID-19 testing and for its rapid expansion to meet testing demands during the pandemic. To meet their workforce recruitment needs, Puritan partnered with the Central Western Maine Workforce Board and its service provider, the Eastern Maine Development Corporation, to recruit over 300 employees to meet manufacturing demand for nasal swabs during the pandemic.

It is public and private partnerships like these that make a true difference in the lives of Maine workers and businesses, Commissioner Laura Fortman said. Congratulations to Puritan Medical Products on being recognized for their incredible hard work and tenacity during these challenging times.

Puritan represents the best of what Maine has to offer and showcases the strength of Maines workforce system, said Guy Langevin, Chair of the State Workforce Board. This 100-year-old Maine-based family business rose to the challenge of pro-viding desperately needed swabs for the world's COVID tests. They are a testament to Maine businesses' shared commitment to doing what is necessary to help our neighbors.

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending January 2 Bookmark and Share

January 7, 2021

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending January 2

For Immediate Release:

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending 2

AUGUSTA - For the week ending January 2, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 3,900 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 250 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). In total, approximately 4,300 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.

About 15,400 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 16,000 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 9,200 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

Maine's typically sees increases in state unemployment claims this time of year due to seasonal layoffs that occur every winter, such as in accommodations, eating and drinking places, construction, landscaping, and temporary help. Some of these industries have seen increased impact due to COVID-19.

Between March 15 and January 2, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $1.7 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits.

The Department has handled approximately 220,550 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 105,400 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. There have been over 3 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html

CareerCenter services are available to help people identify and take next their steps. It is a requirement that those receiving unemployment insurance benefits also be registered on the Maine JobLink, which includes a weekly newsletter for job seekers highlighting opportunities and training.

Other Updates:

Maine Dept. of Labor Already Paying $300 Federal Benefits, Continuing to Work on Extensions

On Dec. 27, bipartisan COVID-19 relief legislation was signed which extends the federal unemployment programs Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), as well as reinstates and modifies the supplemental weekly Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program.

MDOL began issuing the additional $300 FPUC payments earlier this week to those receiving unemployment benefits. The first $300 payments were distributed with unemployment benefits for the week ending January 2. More than $8.6 million in FPUC was paid to Mainers January 4-5.

Unemployment claimants who were receiving PUA or PEUC when the programs originally ended December 26 and still had weeks left of eligibility did not see an interruption in payments and have continued to be paid benefits, as well as FPUC, as long as they were otherwise eligible.

While there is no break in benefit eligibility, there may be a brief break in benefit payment for some claimants.

Claimants who had exhausted their PUA benefits including or prior to Dec. 26 and are eligible for benefits will begin receiving payments the week of January 10. Claimants who had exhausted their original PEUC benefits including or prior to Dec. 26 and are still eligible for benefits will begin receiving payments the week of January 17th. Eligible claimants will receive retroactive benefits, including FPUC, to week ending January 2.

In order to be paid, they must have weekly certifications on file. The Department urges claimants who are still unemployed and receiving benefits under the federal programs to continue to file weekly certifications, even though they may see no active claim on their claim summary screen temporarily. Having weekly certifications already on file will ensure that payments can be made to eligible individuals as soon as federal changes are implemented.

Top-line unemployment takeaways from the new legislation are as follows:

Extension of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

  • Will provide up to an additional 11 weeks of benefits, to a maximum of 50 weeks.

  • Claimants will be required to provide documentation of eligibility to qualify for PUA beginning Jan. 31, 2021.

  • PUA will be available until week ending March 13, 2021 (no new applications after that date). Anyone already in the PUA program by that date who has not exhausted their benefits can continue through April 3.

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)

  • Will provide up to an additional 11 weeks of benefits, to a maximum of 24 weeks.

  • PEUC will be available until week ending March 13, 2021 (no new applications after that date). Anyone already in the PEUC program by that date who has not exhausted their benefits can continue through April 3.

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)

  • Will provide up to 11 weeks of an additional $300 weekly benefit to eligible claimants.

  • A claimant must be eligible for an unemployment program (state unemployment, PUA, PEUC) to receive FPUC.

  • FPUC covers weeks of unemployment between Dec. 27, 2020 and week ending March 13, 2021.

US DOL anticipates releasing further program-specific Unemployment Insurance Program Letters to states that will provide, in further detail, legal and programmatic guidance on certain provisions of the law.

Updates will be posted to MDOLs website: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ .

Fraud Update

The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims as it investigates unemployment imposter fraud.

During the week ending January 2, the Department cancelled 134 initial claims and 5 weekly certifications that were determined to be fraudulent.

Unemployment imposter fraud is when a person's Personally Identifiable Information, or PII, is stolen and used illegally to apply for unemployment benefits. Maine is one of many U.S. states working in close collaboration with state and federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies to investigate and prevent it.

The Maine Department of Labor is also warning unemployment claimants and adding extra security measures to protect beneficiaries from fraudulent email "phishing" scams" in which bad actors steal usernames and passwords, use them to log into unemployment accounts, and change the payment information.

The Department was notified by the U.S. Department of Labor of scams happening across the country and is taking proactive action to review and prevent impact on Maine claimants. The Department has also received reports of phishing attempts in Maine.

Some phishing attempts mimicked the Maine Department of Labor and provided a link to reset a password, or a link to look at recent account activity.

The Department will never send a password reset email that wasn't requested by the individual. If someone did not request a reset and receives one of these emails, they should immediately delete the email and not respond. If they receive an email requesting they look at the recent activity in their account, they should not click on any links in the email, and instead go straight to their account.

Claimants log-in information could also be potentially obtained by criminals if someone uses the same log-in information for multiple websites and that log-in information is compromised. The Department strongly recommends that claimants use a password that is unique to their unemployment account and is not used for anything else.

The Department continues to evolve its fraud prevention techniques and is adding extra authentication technology to the ReEmployME system. The Department is temporarily holding several hundred claims while awaiting additional verification from the individuals. Individuals whose claims are on hold will be notified by email to call 1-800-593-7660 for further guidance.

What unemployment claimants should do to protect themselves:

  • Before filing their next weekly certification, they should go to Benefits Maintenance > Payment Options to verify their current payment information and update as needed.

  • Click on the link in Benefits Maintenance to verify their email address. This will generate an email with instructions on how to complete the process.

  • After verifying their email, the Department recommends changing their password to one that is not being used in any other online system. They will need to verify their email account before creating a new password by hitting forgot password on the log-in page. This will also generate an email within which they will need to click on a link. Passwords should not be shared with anyone.

  • Unsolicited emails about resetting passwords should be immediately deleted.

  • If unemployment benefit payments for prior weeks filed appear to have been redirected to a bank account that is not theirs, they should contact the Department.

The U.S. Department of Justice has put out an Unemployment Insurance Consumer Fraud Protection Guide with information on unemployment fraud and what to do if you believe your information has been used to file a fraudulent claim.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/

Work Search Related Activities Requirement:

Weekly work search related activity requirements are in effect for all unemployment claimants. The only exception is for individuals in medical quarantine due to potential COVID-19 exposure.

Self-employed individuals need to attest to engaging in activities designed to fully reopen their business.

In response to the circumstances caused by the pandemic, the Department expanded possible work search activities to include opportunities to enhance individual's marketability during these challenging economic times.

Work search activities include:

  • Attending a job fair/virtual job fair hosted by a CareerCenter
  • Participating in CareerCenter virtual reemployment services
  • Participating in a CareerCenter virtual workshop
  • Applying for a job for which you are reasonably qualified
  • Interviewing for a job for which you are reasonably qualified
  • Contacting an employer to inquire as to whether the employer is hiring
  • Participating in professional job-related education or skills development
  • Participating in networking events related to a job or occupation for which you are reasonably qualified
  • Working part-time

For example, some resources through the Maine State Library count as a work search activity. Below are brief descriptions of the services and links to them on the Digital Maine Library.

Learning Express Library: https://libraries.maine.edu/mainedatabases/authmaine.asp?db=lel

  • Career Preparation includes: exploring new careers, including health care and green jobs; preparing for career exams, such as nursing assistant or real estate salesperson

  • Computer Skills includes everything from basic computer operation to specific Microsoft software

  • Adult Core Skills are geared at improving math and reading skills

Pronunciator: https://libraries.maine.edu/mainedatabases/authmaine.asp?db=pll

  • Learning a second language can be useful personally and professionally

Petersons Career Prep: https://libraries.maine.edu/mainedatabases/authmaine.asp?db=pcp

  • Resume development
  • Career exploration
  • Other job-related guidance

Minimize Risk of Overpayments:

The Department would like to remind claimants that failure to participate in work search related activities will likely result in overpayments, which may need to be repaid by the claimant. Overpayments of funds paid through the PUA program cannot be waived.

If an individual has not participated in work search related activities for more than one week, the Department will contact them to ask why they didn't complete a work search activity. This is called a fact-finding interview. They can choose to do this by completing a questionnaire sent to them, or over the phone with a department representative. Based on this fact-finding interview, the Department will determine if they were eligible for benefits for that week. If benefits were already paid for a week but they were later denied as a result of this review, the benefits for that week may have to be repaid to MDOL.

All claimants are also required to be registered on the Maine JobLink, a free job search tool, where claimants can upload their resumes and employers can post their job openings: https://joblink.maine.gov/ada/r/

The CareerCenters hold frequent virtual workshops on how to use the Maine JobLink. To register any of the CareerCenter workshops, please visit: http://www.mainecareercenter.com/employment/workshops.shtml

People can also call their local CareerCenter to schedule a 1:1 appointment with a CareerCenter Consultant to explore work search activity options specific to the persons individual needs.

More information, videos, and answers to frequently asked questions on the work search requirement can be found at: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/faq/worksearch/

If an employer has offered work to an employee and that employee refused the work, the employer should notify the Department. A fact-finding would be held to determine if there was good cause for the refusal of work. If no good cause is determined, then the claimant would no longer be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Employers can report refusals of work here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ucbr/

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending January 9 Bookmark and Share

January 14, 2021

For Immediate Release: January 14, 2021

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending January 9

AUGUSTA - For the week ending January 9, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 3,700 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 700 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). In total, approximately 4,150 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.

About 16,900 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 15,100 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 9,000 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

Maine's typically sees increases in state unemployment claims this time of year due to seasonal layoffs that occur every winter, such as in accommodations, eating and drinking places, construction, landscaping, and temporary help. Some of these industries have seen increased impact due to COVID-19.

Between March 15, 2020 and January 9, 2021, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $1.76 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits.

The Department has handled approximately 224,200 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 106,200 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. There have been over 3 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html

CareerCenter services are available to help people identify and take next their steps. It is a requirement that those receiving unemployment insurance benefits also be registered on the Maine JobLink, which includes a weekly newsletter for job seekers highlighting opportunities and training.

Other Updates:

MDOL Seeking Employer Input

MDOL is in the process of enhancing the employment services that it provides and is seeking employers input. The Department is looking for employers to share any experiences they might have had with either:

  • Communicating with/hearing from the MDOL Bureau of Employment Services
  • Using MDOLs employment and workforce services

Participants will have the option of providing feedback through a 30 minute self-recorded video journal on a simple downloaded app, or a 30 minute 1:1 virtual interview.

Employers interested in participating can complete a survey at this link: https://forms.gle/iGZmgQUtKMYitQbFA

Maine Dept. of Labor Continuing to Work on Remaining Federal Changes

On Dec. 27, bipartisan COVID-19 relief legislation was signed which extends the federal unemployment programs Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), as well as reinstates and modifies the supplemental weekly Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program.

MDOL began issuing the additional $300 FPUC payments the week of Jan. 3 to those receiving unemployment benefits.

While there is no break in benefit eligibility, there may be a brief break in benefit payment for some claimants.

Unemployment claimants who were receiving PUA or PEUC when the programs originally ended December 26 and still had weeks left of eligibility did not see an interruption in payments and have continued to be paid benefits, as well as FPUC, as long as they were otherwise eligible.

Claimants who had exhausted their PUA benefits including or prior to Dec. 26 and were eligible for benefits began receiving payments the week of January 10. Claimants who had exhausted their original PEUC benefits including or prior to Dec. 26 and are still eligible for benefits will begin receiving payments the week of January 17th. Eligible claimants will receive retroactive benefits, including FPUC, to week ending January 2.

In order to be paid, they must have weekly certifications on file. The Department urges claimants who are still unemployed and receiving benefits under the federal programs to continue to file weekly certifications, even though they may see no active claim on their claim summary screen temporarily. Having weekly certifications already on file will ensure that payments can be made to eligible individuals as soon as federal changes are implemented.

Top-line unemployment takeaways from the new legislation are as follows:

Extension of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

  • Will provide up to an additional 11 weeks of benefits, to a maximum of 50 weeks.
  • Claimants will be required to provide documentation of eligibility to qualify for PUA
  • PUA will be available until week ending March 13, 2021 (no new applications after that date). Anyone already in the PUA program by that date who has not exhausted their benefits can continue through April 10

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)

  • Will provide up to an additional 11 weeks of benefits, to a maximum of 24 weeks.
  • PEUC will be available until week ending March 13, 2021 (no new applications after that date). Anyone already in the PEUC program by that date who has not exhausted their benefits can continue through April 10.

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)

  • Will provide up to 11 weeks of an additional $300 weekly benefit to eligible claimants.
  • A claimant must be eligible for an unemployment program (state unemployment, PUA, PEUC) to receive FPUC.
  • FPUC covers weeks of unemployment between Dec. 27, 2020 and week ending March 13, 2021.

Updates will be posted to MDOLs website: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ .

Fraud Update

The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims as it investigates unemployment imposter fraud.

During the week ending January 9, the Department cancelled 407 initial claims and 2 weekly certifications that were determined to be fraudulent.

Unemployment imposter fraud is when a person's Personally Identifiable Information, or PII, is stolen and used illegally to apply for unemployment benefits. Maine is one of many U.S. states working in close collaboration with state and federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies to investigate and prevent it.

The Maine Department of Labor is also warning unemployment claimants and adding extra security measures to protect beneficiaries from fraudulent email "phishing" scams" in which bad actors steal usernames and passwords, use them to log into unemployment accounts, and change the payment information.

The Department was notified by the U.S. Department of Labor of scams happening across the country and is taking proactive action to review and prevent impact on Maine claimants. The Department has also received reports of phishing attempts in Maine.

Some phishing attempts mimicked the Maine Department of Labor and provided a link to reset a password, or a link to look at recent account activity.

The Department will never send a password reset email that wasn't requested by the individual. If someone did not request a reset and receives one of these emails, they should immediately delete the email and not respond. If they receive an email requesting they look at the recent activity in their account, they should not click on any links in the email, and instead go straight to their account.

Claimants log-in information could also be potentially obtained by criminals if someone uses the same log-in information for multiple websites and that log-in information is compromised. The Department strongly recommends that claimants use a password that is unique to their unemployment account and is not used for anything else.

The Department continues to evolve its fraud prevention techniques and is adding extra authentication technology to the ReEmployME system. The Department is temporarily holding several hundred claims while awaiting additional verification from the individuals. Individuals whose claims are on hold will be notified by email to call 1-800-593-7660 for further guidance.

What unemployment claimants should do to protect themselves:

  • Before filing their next weekly certification, they should go to Benefits Maintenance > Payment Options to verify their current payment information and update as needed.
  • Click on the link in Benefits Maintenance to verify their email address. This will generate an email with instructions on how to complete the process.
  • After verifying their email, the Department recommends changing their password to one that is not being used in any other online system. They will need to verify their email account before creating a new password by hitting forgot password on the log-in page. This will also generate an email within which they will need to click on a link. Passwords should not be shared with anyone.
  • Unsolicited emails about resetting passwords should be immediately deleted.
  • If unemployment benefit payments for prior weeks filed appear to have been redirected to a bank account that is not theirs, they should contact the Department.

The U.S. Department of Justice has put out an Unemployment Insurance Consumer Fraud Protection Guide with information on unemployment fraud and what to do if you believe your information has been used to file a fraudulent claim.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/

Work Search Related Activities Requirement:

Weekly work search related activity requirements are in effect for all unemployment claimants. The only exception is for individuals in medical quarantine due to potential COVID-19 exposure.

Self-employed individuals need to attest to engaging in activities designed to fully reopen their business.

In response to the circumstances caused by the pandemic, the Department expanded possible work search activities to include opportunities to enhance individual's marketability during these challenging economic times.

Work search activities include: - Attending a job fair/virtual job fair hosted by a CareerCenter - Participating in CareerCenter virtual reemployment services - Participating in a CareerCenter virtual workshop - Applying for a job for which you are reasonably qualified - Interviewing for a job for which you are reasonably qualified - Contacting an employer to inquire as to whether the employer is hiring - Participating in professional job-related education or skills development - Participating in networking events related to a job or occupation for which you are reasonably qualified - Working part-time

For example, some resources through the Maine State Library count as a work search activity. Below are brief descriptions of the services and links to them on the Digital Maine Library.

Learning Express Library: https://libraries.maine.edu/mainedatabases/authmaine.asp?db=lel - Career Preparation includes: exploring new careers, including health care and green jobs; preparing for career exams, such as nursing assistant or real estate salesperson
- Computer Skills includes everything from basic computer operation to specific Microsoft software
- Adult Core Skills are geared at improving math and reading skills

Pronunciator: https://libraries.maine.edu/mainedatabases/authmaine.asp?db=pll - Learning a second language can be useful personally and professionally
Petersons Career Prep: https://libraries.maine.edu/mainedatabases/authmaine.asp?db=pcp - Resume development
- Career exploration
- Other job-related guidance

Minimize Risk of Overpayments:

The Department would like to remind claimants that failure to participate in work search related activities will likely result in overpayments, which may need to be repaid by the claimant.

If an individual has not participated in work search related activities for more than one week, the Department will contact them to ask why they didnt complete a work search activity. This is called a fact-finding interview. They can choose to do this by completing a questionnaire sent to them, or over the phone with a department representative. Based on this fact-finding interview, the Department will determine if they were eligible for benefits for that week. If benefits were already paid for a week but they were later denied as a result of this review, the benefits for that week may have to be repaid to MDOL.

All claimants are also required to be registered on the Maine JobLink, a free job search tool, where claimants can upload their resumes and employers can post their job openings: https://joblink.maine.gov/ada/r/

The CareerCenters hold frequent virtual workshops on how to use the Maine JobLink. To register any of the CareerCenter workshops, please visit: http://www.mainecareercenter.com/employment/workshops.shtml

People can also call their local CareerCenter to schedule a 1:1 appointment with a CareerCenter Consultant to explore work search activity options specific to the persons individual needs.

More information, videos, and answers to frequently asked questions on the work search requirement can be found at: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/faq/worksearch/

If an employer has offered work to an employee and that employee refused the work, the employer should notify the Department. A fact-finding would be held to determine if there was good cause for the refusal of work. If no good cause is determined, then the claimant would no longer be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Employers can report refusals of work here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ucbr/

State Seeks Public Comments on Workforce Development Waivers Bookmark and Share

January 14, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 13, 2021

State Seeks Public Comments on Workforce Development Waivers

AUGUSTA - The Maine Department of Labor is accepting public comment on four requests for waivers of requirements under the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). WIOA was signed into law by President Obama on July 22, 2014. This federal legislation reauthorized the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) of 1998 and the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act.

"We know that the success of our economy depends on the strength of our workforce and innovation of our employers," Commissioner Laura Fortman said. These waivers will allow us to better focus our workforce development resources and achieve our goals of an integrated and coordinated workforce development system across Maine.

To provide states with greater flexibility to focus limited resources and achieve identified workforce system goals, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) permits the U.S. Secretary of Labor the authority to waive certain regulatory requirements. Full copies of each waiver request can be viewed at https://www.maine.gov/swb/waivers/.

Public comments will be accepted until 5:00 p.m. on January 28, 2021. Please identify the waiver number and waiver title your comment pertains to and submit all comments via email to SWB.DOL@maine.gov. Maine is seeking waivers of the following statutory requirements:

  1. Waiver of the requirement to expend 75% of WIOA Title IB Youth funds on out-of-school youth. Approval of this waiver will permit local areas to invest more WIOA funds in work experience activities for eligible high school youth and provide additional supports to eligible, first-time college students with barriers to successfully completing their program and attaining a degree/credential.
  2. Waiver of the limitation on use of Individual Training Accounts (ITAs) for in-school-youth attending college. Approval of this waiver will permit the use of WIOA Title IB Youth funds to cover educational costs for low-income youth with barriers who are under age 21 and enrolled in credit-bearing, post-secondary education programs that lead to a recognized credential, degree or diploma.
  3. Waiver of the requirement to conduct a formal evaluation of Title IB programs and activities. Maine receives the minimum amount of WIOA funding a State can receive. While able to conduct routine research and evaluation activities, the cost of conducting a formal program evaluation at the level of rigor required under WIOA is not feasible at this time. Approval of this waiver will allow the State to continue to focus limited resources on other WIOA requirements, such as program and financial monitoring, performance reporting and workforce system planning and integration.
  4. Waiver of the requirement to develop a Statistical Adjustment Model (SAM) to be used to negotiate and adjust performance in each of Maine's three local areas. This is not a requirement under WIOA or the final regulations but a requirement identified in Training and Employment Guidance Letter (TEGL) 11-19 issued by the U.S. Department of Labor. The cost to develop a statistical adjustment model for each local area far exceeds available resources. Approval of this waiver will permit the State to continue to utilize the statistical adjustment model developed at the federal level to negotiate and adjust local performance measures.

Briefing to the Maine Legislature Bookmark and Share

January 15, 2021

View the Maine Department of Labor's Briefing to the Maine Legislature by Commissioner Laura Fortman and Deputy Commissioner Kimberly Smith on January 15, 2021.

Please click on the following link to view the YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbPGEH3vDvo&feature=youtu.be

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending January 16 Bookmark and Share

January 21, 2021

For Immediate Release: January 21, 2021

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending January 16

AUGUSTA - For the week ending January 16, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 3,300 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 1,000 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). In total, approximately 3,800 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.

About 17,000 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 14,300 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 17,850 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

Maine typically sees increases in state unemployment claims this time of year due to seasonal layoffs that occur every winter, for example in Retail Trade, Accommodations and Food Services, Construction, and Administrative and Support Services industries. Some of these industries have seen increased impact due to COVID-19.

Between March 15, 2020 and January 16, 2021, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $1.79 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits.

The Department has handled approximately 227,500 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 107,200 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. There have been over 3 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html

CareerCenter services are available to help people identify and take next their steps. It is a requirement that those receiving unemployment insurance benefits also be registered on the Maine JobLink, which includes a weekly newsletter for job seekers highlighting opportunities and training.

Other Updates:

2020 Unemployment Claimants Will Receive 1099G's by End of the Month

Unemployment insurance payments are taxable. When someone files for unemployment, they have the option to choose to have taxes taken out at the time benefits are paid.

By the end of January 2021, everyone who received unemployment benefits during 2020 will be sent a 1099G form by mail. The form will also be available electronically in their ReEmployME account, under Correspondences, as well as the "View and Print 1099" tab located on the ReEmployME Home page.

If an individuals mailing address has changed, the Department urges them to verify their mailing address in their unemployment account by January 24. They can check their mailing address by logging into their account at https://reemployme.maine.gov/. They can select the Benefits Maintenance Tab, Update Claimant Profile, and Contact Details to update their address.

MDOL Seeking Employer Input

MDOL is in the process of enhancing the employment services that it provides and is seeking employers input. The Department is looking for employers to share any experiences they might have had with either: - Communicating with/hearing from the MDOL Bureau of Employment Services - Using MDOLs employment and workforce services

Participants will have the option of providing feedback through a 30 minute self-recorded video journal on a simple downloaded app, or a 30 minute 1:1 virtual interview.

Employers interested in participating can complete a survey at this link: https://forms.gle/iGZmgQUtKMYitQbFA

Fraud Update

The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims as it investigates unemployment imposter fraud.

During the week ending January 16, the Department cancelled 336 initial claims and 3 weekly certifications that were determined to be fraudulent.

Unemployment imposter fraud is when a person's Personally Identifiable Information, or PII, is stolen and used illegally to apply for unemployment benefits. Maine is one of many U.S. states working in close collaboration with state and federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies to investigate and prevent it.

The Maine Department of Labor is also warning unemployment claimants and adding extra security measures to protect beneficiaries from fraudulent email "phishing" scams in which bad actors steal usernames and passwords, use them to log into unemployment accounts, and change the payment information.

The Department was notified by the U.S. Department of Labor of scams happening across the country and is taking proactive action to review and prevent impact on Maine claimants. The Department has also received reports of phishing attempts in Maine.

Some phishing attempts mimicked the Maine Department of Labor and provided a link to reset a password, or a link to look at recent account activity.

The Department will never send a password reset email that wasn't requested by the individual. If someone did not request a reset and receives one of these emails, they should immediately delete the email and not respond. If they receive an email requesting they look at the recent activity in their account, they should not click on any links in the email, and instead go straight to their account.

Claimants log-in information could also be potentially obtained by criminals if someone uses the same log-in information for multiple websites and that log-in information is compromised. The Department strongly recommends that claimants use a password that is unique to their unemployment account and is not used for anything else.

The Department continues to evolve its fraud prevention techniques and is adding extra authentication technology to the ReEmployME system. The Department is temporarily holding several hundred claims while awaiting additional verification from the individuals. Individuals whose claims are on hold will be notified by email to call 1-800-593-7660 for further guidance.

What unemployment claimants should do to protect themselves: - Before filing their next weekly certification, they should go to Benefits Maintenance > Payment Options to verify their current payment information and update as needed. - Click on the link in Benefits Maintenance to verify their email address. This will generate an email with instructions on how to complete the process. - After verifying their email, the Department recommends changing their password to one that is not being used in any other online system. They will need to verify their email account before creating a new password by hitting forgot password on the log-in page. This will also generate an email within which they will need to click on a link. Passwords should not be shared with anyone. - Unsolicited emails about resetting passwords should be immediately deleted. - If unemployment benefit payments for prior weeks filed appear to have been redirected to a bank account that is not theirs, they should contact the Department.

The U.S. Department of Justice has put out an Unemployment Insurance Consumer Fraud Protection Guide with information on unemployment fraud and what to do if you believe your information has been used to file a fraudulent claim.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/

Work Search Related Activities Requirement:

Weekly work search related activity requirements are in effect for all unemployment claimants. The only exception is for individuals in medical quarantine due to potential COVID-19 exposure.

Self-employed individuals need to attest to engaging in activities designed to fully reopen their business.

In response to the circumstances caused by the pandemic, the Department expanded possible work search activities to include opportunities to enhance individual's marketability during these challenging economic times.

Work search activities include: - Attending a job fair/virtual job fair hosted by a CareerCenter - Participating in CareerCenter virtual reemployment services - Participating in a CareerCenter virtual workshop - Applying for a job for which you are reasonably qualified - Interviewing for a job for which you are reasonably qualified - Contacting an employer to inquire as to whether the employer is hiring - Participating in professional job-related education or skills development - Participating in networking events related to a job or occupation for which you are reasonably qualified - Working part-time

For example, some resources through the Maine State Library count as a work search activity. Below are brief descriptions of the services and links to them on the Digital Maine Library.

Learning Express Library: https://libraries.maine.edu/mainedatabases/authmaine.asp?db=lel - Career Preparation includes: exploring new careers, including health care and green jobs; preparing for career exams, such as nursing assistant or real estate salesperson
- Computer Skills includes everything from basic computer operation to specific Microsoft software
- Adult Core Skills are geared at improving math and reading skills

Pronunciator: https://libraries.maine.edu/mainedatabases/authmaine.asp?db=pll - Learning a second language can be useful personally and professionally

Petersons Career Prep: https://libraries.maine.edu/mainedatabases/authmaine.asp?db=pcp - Resume development
- Career exploration
- Other job-related guidance

Minimize Risk of Overpayments:

The Department would like to remind claimants that failure to participate in work search related activities will likely result in overpayments, which may need to be repaid by the claimant.

If an individual has not participated in work search related activities for more than one week, the Department will contact them to ask why they didnt complete a work search activity.

This is called a fact-finding interview. They can choose to do this by completing a questionnaire sent to them, or over the phone with a department representative. Based on this fact-finding interview, the Department will determine if they were eligible for benefits for that week. If benefits were already paid for a week but they were later denied as a result of this review, the benefits for that week may have to be repaid to MDOL.

All claimants are also required to be registered on the Maine JobLink, a free job search tool, where claimants can upload their resumes and employers can post their job openings: https://joblink.maine.gov/ada/r/

The CareerCenters hold frequent virtual workshops on how to use the Maine JobLink. To register any of the CareerCenter workshops, please visit: http://www.mainecareercenter.com/employment/workshops.shtml

Coastal Counties Workforce, Inc. Awarded $2.5 Million Rural Healthcare Workforce Grant Bookmark and Share

January 27, 2021

For Immediate Release: January 27, 2021

Coastal Counties Workforce, Inc. Awarded $2.5 Million Rural Healthcare Workforce Grant

AUGUSTA - Coastal Counties Workforce, Inc., of Brunswick, has been awarded a $2.5 million grant by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to create a rural health training program in Cumberland, Knox, Lincoln, Sagadahoc, Waldo, and York Counties.

The grant is part of approximately $40 million in H-1B Rural Healthcare Grant Program funds U.S. DOL awarded to partnerships of public and private entities to address rural healthcare workforce shortages in communities across the country.

"The Coastal Counties Workforce, Inc. (CCWI) team is thrilled to have been awarded this grant for the Coastal Counties workforce region of Maine. With continued funding decreases at a time when rural healthcare workforce shortages in our communities are profound, this funding is of tremendous value to the region," Antoinette Mancusi, Executive Director of Coastal Counties Workforce, Inc., said. We are grateful to the many partners that helped make this possible.

CCWI will work with grant partners; Workforce Solutions (operated by Goodwill of Northern New England) its service provider, the Maine Department of Labor, Maine Department of Health and Human Services, the Community College System and Adult Education System, in addition to employers CVS Pharmacy, MaineHealth, and Northern Light Health to deploy the grant initiative.

Building Maine's skilled healthcare workforce in our rural communities has always been a priority, but it is especially critical now as our state continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, Labor Commissioner Laura Fortman said. Coastal Counties Workforce, Inc.s success in securing $2.5 million in grant funds will be a tremendous boost in the development of Maines rural health care workers for essential nursing and pharmacy jobs. We are excited to partner with CCWI and others in the state workforce system on this initiative.

The aim of this funding is to increase the number of individuals training in healthcare occupations that directly impact patient care and alleviate healthcare workforce shortages by creating sustainable employment and training programs in healthcare occupations (including behavioral and mental healthcare) serving rural populations.

The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the value of and need for health care workers across Maine and especially in rural areas, Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew said. The Department of Health and Human Services stands ready to work with this new partnership as part of our overall initiative to expand and advance the health care workforce in the state.

Coastal Counties Workforces Maine Rural Healthcare Partnership will operate in conjunction with MaineHealth, Northern Light Health, the Maine Community College and Adult Education Systems, and CVS Pharmacy in Portland, Westbrook, South Portland, Brunswick, Bath, Belfast, and Saco to train rural workers in nursing and pharmacy careers. This grant will help with strategies such as apprenticeships, on-the-job training, accelerated learning, and online learning.

The H-1B Rural Healthcare Grant Program provided 17 awards across the nation ranging from $1.2 million to $2.5 million.

Grant recipients included employers in the healthcare sector; nonprofit healthcare organizations affiliated with hospitals and other medical facilities; healthcare industry and/or occupation associations; organizations designated as Primary Care Associations by the Health Resources & Services Administration; Workforce Innovation and Opportunity State or Local Workforce Development Boards and federally recognized Indian/Native American Tribal Governments; and Native American Program entities eligible for funding under Section 166 of WIOA (29 U.S.C. 3221).

The U.S. Department of Labors press release can be found here - https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/eta/eta20210114-0 .

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending January 23 Bookmark and Share

January 28, 2021

For Immediate Release: January 28, 2021

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending January 23

AUGUSTA - For the week ending January 23, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 2,800 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 400 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). In total, approximately 3,200 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.

About 17,400 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 12,800 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 18,100 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

Maine typically sees increases in state unemployment claims this time of year due to seasonal layoffs that occur every winter, for example in Retail Trade, Accommodations and Food Services, Construction, and Administrative and Support Services industries. Some of these industries have seen increased impact due to COVID-19.

Between March 15, 2020 and January 23, 2021, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $1.8 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits.

The Department has handled approximately 230,300 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 107,600 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. There have been over 3.2 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html

CareerCenter services are available to help people identify and take next their steps. It is a requirement that those receiving unemployment insurance benefits also be registered on the Maine JobLink, which includes a weekly newsletter for job seekers highlighting opportunities and training.

Other Updates:

2020 Unemployment 1099-Gs Available

Unemployment insurance payments are taxable. When someone files for unemployment, they have the option to choose to have taxes taken out at the time benefits are paid.

Unemployment 1099-G documents are now available in the online account of anyone who received unemployment benefits in 2020. The document can be found under Correspondence and under "View and Print 1099."

Physical copies of the 1099-G will be mailed out by the end of this month.

More information and FAQs on 1099-G's and how they are used for taxes can be found here: www.maine.gov/unemployment/

MDOL Seeking Employer and Jobseeker Input

MDOL is in the process of enhancing the employment services that it provides and is seeking employers input.

The Department is looking for employers to share any experiences they might have had with either:

  • Communicating with/hearing from the MDOL Bureau of Employment Services
  • Using MDOLs employment and workforce services We are also looking for feedback from job seekers as we continue making our services easier to use. We are looking for people to share any experiences they might have had with either:
  • Using services offered by Maine CareerCenters, including the CareerCenter website, workshops, JobLink, and job fairs.
  • Communicating with/hearing from MDOLs Bureau of Employment Services
  • Looking for work during the COVID-19 pandemic

Participants will have the option of providing feedback through a 30-minute self-recorded video journal on a simple downloaded app, or a 30-minute 1:1 virtual interview.

Employers interested in participating can complete a survey at this link: https://forms.gle/iGZmgQUtKMYitQbFA

Job seekers interested in participating can complete a survey at this link: https://forms.gle/KYYvERYEKPNFuwQa6

Fraud Update

The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims as it investigates unemployment imposter fraud.

During the week ending January 23, the Department cancelled 268 initial claims and 1 weekly certification that were determined to be fraudulent.

Unemployment imposter fraud is when a person's Personally Identifiable Information, or PII, is stolen and used illegally to apply for unemployment benefits. Maine is one of many U.S. states working in close collaboration with state and federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies to investigate and prevent it. The Maine Department of Labor is also warning unemployment claimants and adding extra security measures to protect beneficiaries from fraudulent email "phishing" scams in which bad actors steal usernames and passwords, use them to log into unemployment accounts, and change the payment information.

The Department was notified by the U.S. Department of Labor of scams happening across the country and is taking proactive action to review and prevent impact on Maine claimants. The Department has also received reports of phishing attempts in Maine.

Some phishing attempts mimicked the Maine Department of Labor and provided a link to reset a password, or a link to look at recent account activity.

The Department will never send a password reset email that wasn't requested by the individual. If someone did not request a reset and receives one of these emails, they should immediately delete the email and not respond. If they receive an email requesting they look at the recent activity in their account, they should not click on any links in the email, and instead go straight to their account.

Claimants log-in information could also be potentially obtained by criminals if someone uses the same log-in information for multiple websites and that log-in information is compromised. The Department strongly recommends that claimants use a password that is unique to their unemployment account and is not used for anything else.

The Department continues to evolve its fraud prevention techniques and is adding extra authentication technology to the ReEmployME system. The Department is temporarily holding several hundred claims while awaiting additional verification from the individuals. Individuals whose claims are on hold will be notified by email to call 1-800-593-7660 for further guidance.

What unemployment claimants should do to protect themselves: - Before filing their next weekly certification, they should go to Benefits Maintenance > Payment Options to verify their current payment information and update as needed. - Click on the link in Benefits Maintenance to verify their email address. This will generate an email with instructions on how to complete the process. - After verifying their email, the Department recommends changing their password to one that is not being used in any other online system. They will need to verify their email account before creating a new password by hitting forgot password on the log-in page. This will also generate an email within which they will need to click on a link. Passwords should not be shared with anyone. - Unsolicited emails about resetting passwords should be immediately deleted. - If unemployment benefit payments for prior weeks filed appear to have been redirected to a bank account that is not theirs, they should contact the Department.

The U.S. Department of Justice has put out an Unemployment Insurance Consumer Fraud Protection Guide with information on unemployment fraud and what to do if you believe your information has been used to file a fraudulent claim.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/

Work Search Related Activities Requirement:

Weekly work search related activity requirements are in effect for all unemployment claimants. The only exception is for individuals in medical quarantine due to potential COVID-19 exposure.

Self-employed individuals need to attest to engaging in activities designed to fully reopen their business. In response to the circumstances caused by the pandemic, the Department expanded possible work search activities to include opportunities to enhance individual's marketability during these challenging economic times.

Work search activities include: - Attending a job fair/virtual job fair hosted by a CareerCenter - Participating in CareerCenter virtual reemployment services - Participating in a CareerCenter virtual workshop - Applying for a job for which you are reasonably qualified - Interviewing for a job for which you are reasonably qualified - Contacting an employer to inquire as to whether the employer is hiring - Participating in professional job-related education or skills development - Participating in networking events related to a job or occupation for which you are reasonably qualified - Working part-time

For example, some resources through the Maine State Library count as a work search activity. Below are brief descriptions of the services and links to them on the Digital Maine Library.

Learning Express Library: https://libraries.maine.edu/mainedatabases/authmaine.asp?db=lel - Career Preparation includes: exploring new careers, including health care and green jobs; preparing for career exams, such as nursing assistant or real estate salesperson
- Computer Skills includes everything from basic computer operation to specific Microsoft software
- Adult Core Skills are geared at improving math and reading skills

Pronunciator: https://libraries.maine.edu/mainedatabases/authmaine.asp?db=pll - Learning a second language can be useful personally and professionally

Petersons Career Prep: https://libraries.maine.edu/mainedatabases/authmaine.asp?db=pcp - Resume development
- Career exploration
- Other job-related guidance

Minimize Risk of Overpayments:

The Department would like to remind claimants that failure to participate in work search related activities will likely result in overpayments, which may need to be repaid by the claimant.

If an individual has not participated in work search related activities for more than one week, the Department will contact them to ask why they didnt complete a work search activity. This is called a fact-finding interview. They can choose to do this by completing a questionnaire sent to them, or over the phone with a department representative. Based on this fact-finding interview, the Department will determine if they were eligible for benefits for that week. If benefits were already paid for a week but they were later denied as a result of this review, the benefits for that week may have to be repaid to MDOL.

All claimants are also required to be registered on the Maine JobLink, a free job search tool, where claimants can upload their resumes and employers can post their job openings: https://joblink.maine.gov/ada/r/

The CareerCenters hold frequent virtual workshops on how to use the Maine JobLink. To register any of the CareerCenter workshops, please visit: http://www.mainecareercenter.com/employment/workshops.shtml

People can also call their local CareerCenter to schedule a 1:1 appointment with a CareerCenter Consultant to explore work search activity options specific to the persons individual needs.

More information, videos, and answers to frequently asked questions on the work search requirement can be found at: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/faq/worksearch/

If an employer has offered work to an employee and that employee refused the work, the employer should notify the Department. A fact-finding would be held to determine if there was good cause for the refusal of work. If no good cause is determined, then the claimant would no longer be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Employers can report refusals of work here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ucbr/

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending January 30 Bookmark and Share

February 4, 2021

For Immediate Release: February 4, 2021

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending January 30

AUGUSTA - For the week ending January 30, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 2,700 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 500 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). In total, approximately 3,400 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.

About 17,800 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 13,100 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 18,600 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

Maine typically sees increases in state unemployment claims this time of year due to seasonal layoffs that occur every winter, for example in Retail Trade, Accommodations and Food Services, Construction, and Administrative and Support Services industries. Some of these industries have seen increased impact due to COVID-19.

Between March 15, 2020 and January 30, 2021, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $1.8 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits.

The Department has handled approximately 233,000 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 108,100 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. There have been over 3.28 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html

CareerCenter services are available to help people identify and take next their steps. It is a requirement that those receiving unemployment insurance benefits also be registered on the Maine JobLink, which includes a weekly newsletter for job seekers highlighting opportunities and training.

Other Updates:

2020 Unemployment 1099-Gs Have Been Mailed to About 165,000 People

Roughly 165,000 1099-Gs were mailed at the end of January. For reference, the Department sent out around 30,000 1099-G's for benefits paid in 2019.

Unemployment 1099-G documents are also available in the online account of anyone who received unemployment benefits in 2020. The document can be found under Correspondence and under "View and Print 1099." One 1099-G was issued for all unemployment benefit program payments and Lost Wages Assistance payments made in calendar year 2020. Commonly asked question:

What if I receive a 1099G and did not file for unemployment insurance in 2020? Or what if I think my 1099-G is incorrect?

Please let the Department know immediately. You can report this to the Department by leaving an online message at https://www.maine.gov/labor/contact/index.html.

Select Unemployment from the first drop-down menu. Then be sure to select '1099-G from the Reason for Request drop down menu, to be sure your message is routed properly.

More information and FAQs on 1099-Gs and how they are used for taxes can be found here: www.maine.gov/unemployment

Century Foundation Article on Federal Unemployment Extensions:

The Century Foundation - https://tcf.org/content/commentary/tardy-stimulus-action-causes-pandemic-unemployment-benefit-delays/?agreed=1&agreed=1 has released an article on how states have implemented the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021s federal unemployment benefits extensions.

In the article, Maine is shown as being one of the states that was able to pay claimants under the extensions in under two weeks. Maine paid eligible claimants the additional $300 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation beginning the week of January 3, which was the earliest that states were able to pay under the reinstated program. Claimants who still had benefits available when the federal programs originally ended on Dec. 26 also saw no interruption of benefits.

Upcoming Virtual Hiring Event for Part-Time and Flex Jobs:

Working through the impacts of COVID-19, employers have a renewed interest in part-time and flex hours staffing. This can be advantageous to many jobseekers looking to reenter the workforce.
Maine CareerCenters are hosting a virtual hiring event for Part-Time and Flex Job positions on February 11, 2021 from 2-4 p.m. There are currently 12 employers participating and ready to hire, and over 100 jobseekers registered with room for more.

Jobseekers can register by using the online form - https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=q6g_QX0gYkubzeoajy-GTkfD6zxBq4NNk3ctLSfuvwRUN0FERUQ4NUQ2VFVMQjgzTjlCSUJKMEc1Vy4u . Employers can register by contacting Leo Deon via email at leo.j.deon@maine.gov.

Looking to hire?

Employers can work with the Maine CareerCenters to hold independent virtual and drive-through hiring events. On January 21 and 22, Bath Iron Works held a Drive Thru Hiring Event at the Lewiston CareerCenter. The event welcomed 113 job seekers over the two days, and ninety-seven conditional job offers were made.

Bath Iron Works will also be recruiting at a drive-through event at the Wilton CareerCenter on February 11 and 12 from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. Advance registration is not required. All COVID-19 precautions will be followed.

Be Aware of Texting Scams:

Some other states are reporting scammers texting individuals claiming to be the states Department of Labor. The Maine Department of Labor does not conduct business through text messaging. If you receive a text claiming to be the Department, do not respond.

More information on unemployment fraud: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/fraud/

HIRE Vets Medallion Informational Webinar February 10:

Employers interested in learning more about the federal HIRE Vets Medallion Program can virtually join MDOL's Veterans Team on February 10 at 10 am for an informational webinar.

The HIRE Vets Medallion Award is the only federal-level veterans employment award that recognizes a company or organizations commitment to veteran hiring, retention, and professional development.

Registration is required by February 8, 2021. To register, email frank.martin@maine.gov. More information on the program: https://www.hirevets.gov/

MDOL Seeking Employer and Jobseeker Input

MDOL is in the process of enhancing the employment services that it provides and is seeking employers input. The Department is looking for employers to share any experiences they might have had with either:

  • Communicating with/hearing from the MDOL Bureau of Employment Services
  • Using MDOLs employment and workforce services We are also looking for feedback from job seekers as we continue making our services easier to use. We are looking for people to share any experiences they might have had with either:
  • Using services offered by Maine CareerCenters, including the CareerCenter website, workshops, JobLink, and job fairs.
  • Communicating with/hearing from MDOLs Bureau of Employment Services
  • Looking for work during the COVID-19 pandemic

Participants will have the option of providing feedback through a 30-minute self-recorded video journal on a simple downloaded app, or a 30-minute 1:1 virtual interview.

Employers interested in participating can complete a survey at this link: https://forms.gle/iGZmgQUtKMYitQbFA

Job seekers interested in participating can complete a survey at this link: https://forms.gle/KYYvERYEKPNFuwQa6

Fraud Update

The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims as it investigates unemployment imposter fraud.

During the week ending January 30, the Department cancelled 916 initial claims and 9 weekly certifications suspected to be fraudulent.

Unemployment imposter fraud is when a person's Personally Identifiable Information, or PII, is stolen and used illegally to apply for unemployment benefits. Maine is one of many U.S. states working in close collaboration with state and federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies to investigate and prevent it.

The Maine Department of Labor is also warning unemployment claimants and adding extra security measures to protect beneficiaries from fraudulent email "phishing" scams in which bad actors steal usernames and passwords, use them to log into unemployment accounts, and change the payment information.

The Department was notified by the U.S. Department of Labor of scams happening across the country and is taking proactive action to review and prevent impact on Maine claimants. The Department has also received reports of phishing attempts in Maine.

Some phishing attempts mimicked the Maine Department of Labor and provided a link to reset a password, or a link to look at recent account activity.

The Department will never send a password reset email that wasn't requested by the individual. If someone did not request a reset and receives one of these emails, they should immediately delete the email and not respond. If they receive an email requesting they look at the recent activity in their account, they should not click on any links in the email, and instead go straight to their account.

Claimants log-in information could also be potentially obtained by criminals if someone uses the same log-in information for multiple websites and that log-in information is compromised. The Department strongly recommends that claimants use a password that is unique to their unemployment account and is not used for anything else. The Department continues to evolve its fraud prevention techniques and is adding extra authentication technology to the ReEmployME system. The Department is temporarily holding several hundred claims while awaiting additional verification from the individuals. Individuals whose claims are on hold will be notified by email to call 1-800-593-7660 for further guidance.

What unemployment claimants should do to protect themselves:

  • Before filing their next weekly certification, they should go to Benefits Maintenance > Payment Options to verify their current payment information and update as needed.
  • Click on the link in Benefits Maintenance to verify their email address. This will generate an email with instructions on how to complete the process.
  • After verifying their email, the Department recommends changing their password to one that is not being used in any other online system. They will need to verify their email account before creating a new password by hitting forgot password on the log-in page. This will also generate an email within which they will need to click on a link. Passwords should not be shared with anyone.
  • Unsolicited emails about resetting passwords should be immediately deleted.
  • If unemployment benefit payments for prior weeks filed appear to have been redirected to a bank account that is not theirs, they should contact the Department.

The U.S. Department of Justice has put out an Unemployment Insurance Consumer Fraud Protection Guide - https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/docs/2020/USDOJUIFraudConsumerProtectionGuideFinal.pdf with information on unemployment fraud and what to do if you believe your information has been used to file a fraudulent claim.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/

Work Search Related Activities Requirement:

Weekly work search related activity requirements are in effect for all unemployment claimants. The only exception is for individuals in medical quarantine due to potential COVID-19 exposure.

Self-employed individuals need to attest to engaging in activities designed to fully reopen their business.

In response to the circumstances caused by the pandemic, the Department expanded possible work search activities to include opportunities to enhance individual's marketability during these challenging economic times. Work search activities include:

  • Attending a job fair/virtual job fair hosted by a CareerCenter
  • Participating in CareerCenter virtual reemployment services
  • Participating in a CareerCenter virtual workshop
  • Applying for a job for which you are reasonably qualified
  • Interviewing for a job for which you are reasonably qualified
  • Contacting an employer to inquire as to whether the employer is hiring
  • Participating in professional job-related education or skills development
  • Participating in networking events related to a job or occupation for which you are reasonably qualified
  • Working part-time

For example, some resources through the Maine State Library count as a work search activity. Below are brief descriptions of the services and links to them on the Digital Maine Library.

Learning Express Library: https://libraries.maine.edu/mainedatabases/authmaine.asp?db=lel - Career Preparation includes: exploring new careers, including health care and green jobs; preparing for career exams, such as nursing assistant or real estate salesperson
- Computer Skills includes everything from basic computer operation to specific Microsoft software
- Adult Core Skills are geared at improving math and reading skills

Pronunciator: https://libraries.maine.edu/mainedatabases/authmaine.asp?db=pll - Learning a second language can be useful personally and professionally

Petersons Career Prep: https://libraries.maine.edu/mainedatabases/authmaine.asp?db=pcp - Resume development
- Career exploration
- Other job-related guidance

Minimize Risk of Overpayments:

The Department would like to remind claimants that failure to participate in work search related activities will likely result in overpayments, which may need to be repaid by the claimant.

If an individual has not participated in work search related activities for more than one week, the Department will contact them to ask why they didnt complete a work search activity. This is called a fact-finding interview. They can choose to do this by completing a questionnaire sent to them, or over the phone with a department representative. Based on this fact-finding interview, the Department will determine if they were eligible for benefits for that week. If benefits were already paid for a week but they were later denied as a result of this review, the benefits for that week may have to be repaid to MDOL.

All claimants are also required to be registered on the Maine JobLink, a free job search tool, where claimants can upload their resumes and employers can post their job openings: https://joblink.maine.gov/ada/r/

The CareerCenters hold frequent virtual workshops on how to use the Maine JobLink. To register any of the CareerCenter workshops, please visit: http://www.mainecareercenter.com/employment/workshops.shtml

People can also call their local CareerCenter to schedule a 1:1 appointment with a CareerCenter Consultant to explore work search activity options specific to the persons individual needs.

More information, videos, and answers to frequently asked questions on the work search requirement can be found at: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/faq/worksearch/

If an employer has offered work to an employee and that employee refused the work, the employer should notify the Department. A fact-finding would be held to determine if there was good cause for the refusal of work. If no good cause is determined, then the claimant would no longer be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Employers can report refusals of work here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ucbr/

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending February 6 Bookmark and Share

February 11, 2021

For Immediate Release: February 11, 2021

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending February 6

AUGUSTA - For the week ending February 6, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 2,200 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 300 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). In total, approximately 2,800 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.

About 17,900 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 13,100 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 18,800 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

Between March 15, 2020 and February 6, 2021, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $1.86 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits.

The Department has handled approximately 235,200 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 108,300 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. There have been over 3.3 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html

CareerCenter services - https://lnks.gd/2/PTMxB- are available to help people identify and take next their steps. It is a requirement that those receiving unemployment insurance benefits also be registered on the Maine JobLink, which includes a weekly newsletter for job seekers highlighting opportunities and training.

Other Updates:

Upcoming Virtual Hiring Event for Medical, Medical Staffing, and Home Care positions:

Maine CareerCenters are hosting a virtual hiring event for Medical, Medical Staffing, and Home Care positions on February 18 from 2-4 pm. Job seekers can register by using this online form - https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=q6g_QX0gYkubzeoajy-GTkfD6zxBq4NNk3ctLSfuvwRUN0FERUQ4NUQ2VFVMQjgzTjlCSUJKMEc1Vy4u.

Employers can register by contacting Leo Deon via email at leo.j.deon@maine.gov.

More information on upcoming workshops and events: More information: https://www.mainecareercenter.gov

Looking to hire?

Employers can work with the Maine CareerCenters to hold independent virtual and drive-through hiring events. More information: https://www.mainecareercenter.gov

NASWA State of the Workforce Report

The National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA) released its bi-annual State of the Workforce Report at the 2021 Winter Policy Forum - https://www.naswa.org/conferences/2021-winter-policy-forum .

This year's report, subtitled "Responding to the Pandemic," focuses on how the workforce agencies in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands assisted American workers through one of the worst economic downturns our country has experienced.

Between March and December 2020, workforce agencies processed over 1 billion unemployment claims and paid out over half-a-trillion dollars in unemployment benefits, including all state and federal benefit programs.

Each state and territory profile in the report includes information on the number of unemployment benefits processed and paid out in 2020 along with innovative strategies states implemented to combat the economic crisis and assist struggling Americans and businesses.

The full report and individual state profiles can be accessed at 2021 State if the Workforce Report: Responding to the Pandemic - https://www.naswa.org/state-of-the-workforce-2021 .

2020 Unemployment 1099-Gs Have Been Mailed to About 165,000 People

Roughly 165,000 1099-Gs were mailed at the end of January. For reference, the Department sent out around 30,000 1099-G's for benefits paid in 2019. Unemployment 1099-G documents are also available in the online account of anyone who received unemployment benefits in 2020. The document can be found under Correspondence and under "View and Print 1099." One 1099-G was issued for all unemployment benefit program payments and Lost Wages Assistance payments made in calendar year 2020.

Commonly asked question:

What if I receive a 1099G and did not file for unemployment insurance in 2020? Or what if I think my 1099-G is incorrect?

Please let the Department know immediately. You can report this to the Department by leaving an online message at https://www.maine.gov/labor/contact/index.html . Select Unemployment from the first drop-down menu. Then be sure to select '1099-G from the Reason for Request drop down menu, to be sure your message is routed properly.

More information and FAQs on 1099-Gs and how they are used for taxes can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment .

MDOL Seeking Employer and Jobseeker Input

MDOL is in the process of enhancing the employment services that it provides and is seeking employers input.

The Department is looking for employers to share any experiences they might have had with either:

  • Communicating with/hearing from the MDOL Bureau of Employment Services
  • Using MDOLs employment and workforce services

We are also looking for feedback from job seekers as we continue making our services easier to use. We are looking for people to share any experiences they might have had with either:

  • Using services offered by Maine CareerCenters, including the CareerCenter website, workshops, JobLink, and job fairs.
  • Communicating with/hearing from MDOLs Bureau of Employment Services
  • Looking for work during the COVID-19 pandemic

Participants will have the option of providing feedback through a 30-minute self-recorded video journal on a simple downloaded app, or a 30-minute 1:1 virtual interview.

Employers interested in participating can complete a survey at this link: https://forms.gle/iGZmgQUtKMYitQbFA

Job seekers interested in participating can complete a survey at this link: https://forms.gle/KYYvERYEKPNFuwQa6

Fraud Update

The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims as it investigates unemployment imposter fraud.

During the week ending February 6, the Department cancelled 230 initial claims and 5 weekly certifications suspected to be fraudulent.

Unemployment imposter fraud is when a person's Personally Identifiable Information, or PII, is stolen and used illegally to apply for unemployment benefits. Maine is one of many U.S. states working in close collaboration with state and federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies to investigate and prevent it.

The Maine Department of Labor is also warning unemployment claimants and adding extra security measures to protect beneficiaries from fraudulent email "phishing" scams in which bad actors steal usernames and passwords, use them to log into unemployment accounts, and change the payment information.

The Department was notified by the U.S. Department of Labor of scams happening across the country and is taking proactive action to review and prevent impact on Maine claimants. The Department has also received reports of phishing attempts in Maine.

Some phishing attempts mimicked the Maine Department of Labor and provided a link to reset a password, or a link to look at recent account activity.

The Department will never send a password reset email that wasn't requested by the individual. If someone did not request a reset and receives one of these emails, they should immediately delete the email and not respond. If they receive an email requesting they look at the recent activity in their account, they should not click on any links in the email, and instead go straight to their account.

Claimants log-in information could also be potentially obtained by criminals if someone uses the same log-in information for multiple websites and that log-in information is compromised. The Department strongly recommends that claimants use a password that is unique to their unemployment account and is not used for anything else.

The Department continues to evolve its fraud prevention techniques and is adding extra authentication technology to the ReEmployME system. The Department is temporarily holding several hundred claims while awaiting additional verification from the individuals. Individuals whose claims are on hold will be notified by email to call 1-800-593-7660 for further guidance.

What unemployment claimants should do to protect themselves:

  • Before filing their next weekly certification, they should go to Benefits Maintenance > Payment Options to verify their current payment information and update as needed.
  • Click on the link in Benefits Maintenance to verify their email address. This will generate an email with instructions on how to complete the process.
  • After verifying their email, the Department recommends changing their password to one that is not being used in any other online system. They will need to verify their email account before creating a new password by hitting forgot password on the log-in page. This will also generate an email within which they will need to click on a link. Passwords should not be shared with anyone.
  • Unsolicited emails about resetting passwords should be immediately deleted.
  • If unemployment benefit payments for prior weeks filed appear to have been redirected to a bank account that is not theirs, they should contact the Department.

The U.S. Department of Justice has put out an Unemployment Insurance Consumer Fraud Protection Guide - https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/docs/2020/USDOJUIFraudConsumerProtectionGuideFinal.pdf with information on unemployment fraud and what to do if you believe your information has been used to file a fraudulent claim.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/

Work Search Related Activities Requirement:

Weekly work search related activity requirements are in effect for all unemployment claimants. The only exception is for individuals in medical quarantine due to potential COVID-19 exposure.

Self-employed individuals need to attest to engaging in activities designed to fully reopen their business.

In response to the circumstances caused by the pandemic, the Department expanded possible work search activities to include opportunities to enhance individual's marketability during these challenging economic times.

Work search activities include:

  • Attending a job fair/virtual job fair hosted by a CareerCenter
  • Participating in CareerCenter virtual reemployment services
  • Participating in a CareerCenter virtual workshop
  • Applying for a job for which you are reasonably qualified
  • Interviewing for a job for which you are reasonably qualified
  • Contacting an employer to inquire as to whether the employer is hiring
  • Participating in professional job-related education or skills development
  • Participating in networking events related to a job or occupation for which you are reasonably qualified
  • Working part-time

For example, some resources through the Maine State Library count as a work search activity. Below are brief descriptions of the services and links to them on the Digital Maine Library.

Learning Express Library: https://libraries.maine.edu/mainedatabases/authmaine.asp?db=lel

  • Career Preparation includes: exploring new careers, including health care and green jobs; preparing for career exams, such as nursing assistant or real estate salesperson
  • Computer Skills includes everything from basic computer operation to specific Microsoft software
  • Adult Core Skills are geared at improving math and reading skills

Pronunciator: https://libraries.maine.edu/mainedatabases/authmaine.asp?db=pll

  • Learning a second language can be useful personally and professionally

Petersons Career Prep: https://libraries.maine.edu/mainedatabases/authmaine.asp?db=pcp

  • Resume development
  • Career exploration
  • Other job-related guidance

Minimize Risk of Overpayments:

The Department would like to remind claimants that failure to participate in work search related activities will likely result in overpayments, which may need to be repaid by the claimant.

If an individual has not participated in work search related activities for more than one week, the Department will contact them to ask why they didnt complete a work search activity. This is called a fact-finding interview. They can choose to do this by completing a questionnaire sent to them, or over the phone with a department representative. Based on this fact-finding interview, the Department will determine if they were eligible for benefits for that week. If benefits were already paid for a week but they were later denied as a result of this review, the benefits for that week may have to be repaid to MDOL.

All claimants are also required to be registered on the Maine JobLink, a free job search tool, where claimants can upload their resumes and employers can post their job openings: https://joblink.maine.gov/ada/r/

The CareerCenters hold frequent virtual workshops on how to use the Maine JobLink. To register any of the CareerCenter workshops, please visit: http://www.mainecareercenter.com/employment/workshops.shtml

People can also call their local CareerCenter to schedule a 1:1 appointment with a CareerCenter Consultant to explore work search activity options specific to the persons individual needs.

More information, videos, and answers to frequently asked questions on the work search requirement can be found at: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/faq/worksearch/

If an employer has offered work to an employee and that employee refused the work, the employer should notify the Department. A fact-finding would be held to determine if there was good cause for the refusal of work. If no good cause is determined, then the claimant would no longer be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Employers can report refusals of work here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ucbr/

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending February 13 Bookmark and Share

February 18, 2021

For Immediate Release: February 18, 2021

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending February 13

AUGUSTA - For the week ending February 13, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 2,000 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 450 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). In total, approximately 2,700 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.

About 17,000 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 13,300 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 19,200 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

Between March 15, 2020 and February 13, 2021, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $1.89 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits.

The Department has handled approximately 237,200 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 108,800 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. There have been over 3.3 million weekly certifications filed. Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html

CareerCenter services - https://lnks.gd/2/Pbj_LX are available to help people identify and take next their steps. It is a requirement that those receiving unemployment insurance benefits also be registered on the Maine JobLink, which includes a weekly newsletter for job seekers highlighting opportunities and training.

Other Updates:

ReEmployME to Undergo Scheduled Maintenance Overnight February 18:

ReEmployME will undergo regularly scheduled maintenance from 7:30 p.m. Thursday, February 18 to 1:30 a.m. Unemployment online accounts, filing, and the automated phone filing system will be temporarily unavailable during this time.

Upcoming Virtual Hiring Event for Administrative, Management, Emergency Services, Law Enforcement and Security Employment:

Maine CareerCenters are hosting a virtual hiring event for Administrative, Management, Emergency Services, Law Enforcement and Security Employment positions on February 25 from 2-3 p.m. Job seekers can register by using this online form. Employers can register by contacting Leo Deon via email at leo.j.deon@maine.gov.

More information on upcoming workshops and events: More information: https://www.mainecareercenter.gov

Looking to hire?

Employers can work with the Maine CareerCenters to hold independent virtual and drive-through hiring events. More information: https://www.mainecareercenter.gov

MDOL Seeking Employer and Jobseeker Input

MDOL is in the process of enhancing the employment services that it provides and is seeking employers' input. The Department is looking for employers to share any experiences they might have had with either:

  • Communicating with/hearing from the MDOL Bureau of Employment Services
  • Using MDOLs employment and workforce services

We are also looking for feedback from job seekers as we continue making our services easier to use. We are looking for people to share any experiences they might have had with either:

  • Using services offered by Maine CareerCenters, including the CareerCenter website, workshops, JobLink, and job fairs.
  • Communicating with/hearing from MDOLs Bureau of Employment Services
  • Looking for work during the COVID-19 pandemic

Participants will have the option of providing feedback through a 30-minute self-recorded video journal on a simple downloaded app, or a 30-minute 1:1 virtual interview.

Employers interested in participating can complete a survey at this link: https://forms.gle/iGZmgQUtKMYitQbFA

Job seekers interested in participating can complete a survey at this link: https://forms.gle/KYYvERYEKPNFuwQa6

Fraud Update

The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims as it investigates unemployment imposter fraud. During the week ending February 13, the Department cancelled 2,500 initial claims and 4 weekly certifications suspected to be fraudulent.

Unemployment imposter fraud is when a person's Personally Identifiable Information, or PII, is stolen and used illegally to apply for unemployment benefits. Maine is one of many U.S. states working in close collaboration with state and federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies to investigate and prevent it.

The Maine Department of Labor is also warning unemployment claimants and adding extra security measures to protect beneficiaries from fraudulent email "phishing" scams" in which bad actors steal usernames and passwords, use them to log into unemployment accounts, and change the payment information.

The Department was notified by the U.S. Department of Labor of scams happening across the country and is taking proactive action to review and prevent impact on Maine claimants. The Department has also received reports of phishing attempts in Maine.

Some phishing attempts mimicked the Maine Department of Labor and provided a link to reset a password, or a link to look at recent account activity.

The Department will never send a password reset email that wasn't requested by the individual. If someone did not request a reset and receives one of these emails, they should immediately delete the email and not respond. If they receive an email requesting they look at the recent activity in their account, they should not click on any links in the email, and instead go straight to their account.

Claimants log-in information could also be potentially obtained by criminals if someone uses the same log-in information for multiple websites and that log-in information is compromised. The Department strongly recommends that claimants use a password that is unique to their unemployment account and is not used for anything else.

The Department continues to evolve its fraud prevention techniques and is adding extra authentication technology to the ReEmployME system. The Department is temporarily holding several hundred claims while awaiting additional verification from the individuals. Individuals whose claims are on hold will be notified by email to call 1-800-593-7660 for further guidance.

What unemployment claimants should do to protect themselves:

  • Before filing their next weekly certification, they should go to Benefits Maintenance > Payment Options to verify their current payment information and update as needed.
  • Click on the link in Benefits Maintenance to verify their email address. This will generate an email with instructions on how to complete the process.
  • After verifying their email, the Department recommends changing their password to one that is not being used in any other online system. They will need to verify their email account before creating a new password by hitting forgot password on the log-in page. This will also generate an email within which they will need to click on a link. Passwords should not be shared with anyone.
  • Unsolicited emails about resetting passwords should be immediately deleted.
  • If unemployment benefit payments for prior weeks filed appear to have been redirected to a bank account that is not theirs, they should contact the Department.

The U.S. Department of Justice has put out an Unemployment Insurance Consumer Fraud Protection Guide - https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/docs/2020/USDOJUIFraudConsumerProtectionGuideFinal.pdf with information on unemployment fraud and what to do if you believe your information has been used to file a fraudulent claim.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/

Work Search Related Activities Requirement:

Weekly work search related activity requirements are in effect for all unemployment claimants. The only exception is for individuals in medical quarantine due to potential COVID-19 exposure.

Self-employed individuals need to attest to engaging in activities designed to fully reopen their business.

In response to the circumstances caused by the pandemic, the Department expanded possible work search activities to include opportunities to enhance individual's marketability during these challenging economic times. Work search activities include:

  • Attending a job fair/virtual job fair hosted by a CareerCenter
  • Participating in CareerCenter virtual reemployment services
  • Participating in a CareerCenter virtual workshop
  • Applying for a job for which you are reasonably qualified
  • Interviewing for a job for which you are reasonably qualified
  • Contacting an employer to inquire as to whether the employer is hiring
  • Participating in professional job-related education or skills development
  • Participating in networking events related to a job or occupation for which you are reasonably qualified
  • Working part-time

For example, some resources through the Maine State Library count as a work search activity. Below are brief descriptions of the services and links to them on the Digital Maine Library.

Learning Express Library: https://libraries.maine.edu/mainedatabases/authmaine.asp?db=lel

  • Career Preparation includes: exploring new careers, including health care and green jobs; preparing for career exams, such as nursing assistant or real estate salesperson
  • Computer Skills includes everything from basic computer operation to specific Microsoft software
  • Adult Core Skills are geared at improving math and reading skills

Pronunciator: https://libraries.maine.edu/mainedatabases/authmaine.asp?db=pll

  • Learning a second language can be useful personally and professionally

Petersons Career Prep: https://libraries.maine.edu/mainedatabases/authmaine.asp?db=pcp

  • Resume development
  • Career exploration
  • Other job-related guidance

Minimize Risk of Overpayments:

The Department would like to remind claimants that failure to participate in work search related activities will likely result in overpayments, which may need to be repaid by the claimant.

If an individual has not participated in work search related activities for more than one week, the Department will contact them to ask why they didnt complete a work search activity. This is called a fact-finding interview. They can choose to do this by completing a questionnaire sent to them, or over the phone with a department representative. Based on this fact-finding interview, the Department will determine if they were eligible for benefits for that week. If benefits were already paid for a week but they were later denied as a result of this review, the benefits for that week may have to be repaid to MDOL.

All claimants are also required to be registered on the Maine JobLink, a free job search tool, where claimants can upload their resumes and employers can post their job openings: https://joblink.maine.gov/ada/r/

The CareerCenters hold frequent virtual workshops on how to use the Maine JobLink. To register any of the CareerCenter workshops, please visit: http://www.mainecareercenter.com/employment/workshops.shtml

People can also call their local CareerCenter to schedule a 1:1 appointment with a CareerCenter Consultant to explore work search activity options specific to the persons individual needs.

More information, videos, and answers to frequently asked questions on the work search requirement can be found at: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/faq/worksearch/

If an employer has offered work to an employee and that employee refused the work, the employer should notify the Department. A fact-finding would be held to determine if there was good cause for the refusal of work. If no good cause is determined, then the claimant would no longer be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Employers can report refusals of work here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ucbr/

Maine Dept. Of Labor Awarded $1.2 Million in Federal Grant Funding to Combat Unemployment Fraud Bookmark and Share

February 18, 2021

For Immediate Release: February 18, 2021

Maine Dept. Of Labor Awarded $1.2 Million in Federal Grant Funding to Combat Unemployment Fraud

Since the beginning of the pandemic, MDOL has paid over $1.8 billion in unemployment benefits and prevented at least $484 million from going to fraudsters

AUGUSTA - Maine has been awarded $1,215,000 from the U.S. Department of Labor to continue to combat identity theft unemployment insurance fraud through identity verification - https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/eta/eta20210212 .

The U.S. Department of Labor awarded a total of $49 million in grants to 28 states and territories. The grants are divided between Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) funding Maine was granted $1,020,600 in PUA funding and $194,400 in PEUC funding. The grant amounts are based on the size of covered employment in each state's unemployment insurance program.

"Unemployment insurance integrity is a top U.S. Department of Labor priority, and we are partnering with states as they innovate and apply new solutions to combat criminal attacks on their unemployment insurance programs," Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training Suzi LeVine said in USDOLs release. "Criminals adapt their fraud techniques routinely, so we must be vigilant and determined to prevent those eager to deprive unemployed Americans of money they desperately need in these difficult times.

By law, states must have an adequate system for administering the PUA program including procedures for identity verification or validation. This grant funding will assist states with administrative expenses incurred from implementing this identity verification requirement for the PUA program and/or assist with enhancing existing identity verification tools and procedures.

While unemployment fraud continues to be investigated across the country, the Maine Department of Labor estimates that it has cancelled over 48,500 initial claims suspected of being fraudulent and prevented at least $484 million in unemployment benefits from being paid to criminals since March 15, 2020.

The Department continues to investigate unemployment fraud in conjunction with its federal agency partners such as the U.S. Attorneys Office and U.S. DOLs Office of the Inspector General, as well as financial institutions and law enforcement. Some of this work involves putting evolving measures in place in order to prevent fraud, expanding the Departments fraud unit, providing information to federal prosecutors, and working to recoup funds that had been stolen.

Beginning last May, Maine, like every state across the country, began experiencing spikes in unemployment claims due to fraudulent activity. With three new Federal unemployment programs that expanded eligibility and increased weekly benefit payments, and with states accelerating payments to get money into the hands of those who had been laid off, unemployment insurance became a target for criminals, Commissioner Laura Fortman said. Unfortunately, fraud is still something we contend with daily. Since May, we have doubled the size of our fraud unit, put multiple flags and checks in place, and prevented hundreds of millions of dollars from being paid to criminals. This is a dynamic situation, and we continue to analyze and update our strategies as fraudsters evolve their methods. We are glad to have the support of the U.S. Department of Labor in our efforts.

These types of fraudulent claims are mostly filed by sophisticated criminal organizations who use real Mainers identities, stolen through outside data breaches such as at financial institutions or insurance companies, to file imposter unemployment claims and illegally collect benefits.

The US DOL Office of Inspector General estimates that about 10% of nationwide unemployment payments are to fraudsters. Based on current information, MDOL estimates that in Maine about $150 million was stolen by criminals through fraudulent claims since March 15, 2020. This is about 8% of the $1.86 billion that the Department has paid out in benefits since March 15. Most of the fraudulent payments were concentrated in spikes in late spring. Due to the Departments quick action of putting protective measures in place, the fraudulent payments were greatly reduced. So far, of the $150 million about $37 million, or 25% of fraudulent payments, has been recovered.

Actions taken by the Department to prevent fraud have prevented an estimated additional $484 million - $896 million from being paid to fraudsters. The range represents the amount prevented based on the average benefit duration up to the maximum benefit amount per claim.

The Department has strengthened its fraud detection capabilities by working with a consultant, creating automatic flags to detect potential fraud, expanding the Departments fraud unit, conducting daily manual reviews of initial claims, and working in coordination with other agencies such as other states, law enforcement, banks, and the National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA).

All of these numbers are constantly changing as investigations continue.

As another way to reduce fraud, the federal Continued Assistance Act requires anyone receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits to submit ID verification documentation.

Along with states across the country, the Department has partnered with a trusted technology partner to help bolster current fraud prevention measures. The Department will deploy new technology solutions for new claimants applying for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits. This identity verification integration is in addition to current fraud prevention measures and will help to ensure claimants identities are verified before their claim is processed.

MDOL will notify claimants when its time to submit this documentation.

Anyone who believes that their information has been used to file a fraudulent unemployment claim should let the Department know immediately by reporting it here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/fraud/

Legitimate claimants should also check their unemployment accounts to confirm that their address and payment method are accurate.

Employers are also crucial partners in identifying fraudulent claims filed in their employees names. Employers can report fraud online: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/fraud/ or email UIFraud.DOL@maine.gov.

The U.S. DOL press release can be found here: https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/eta/eta20210212

Maine Dept. of Labor Rolls out Updates to Unemployment Program and JobLink as Part of Ongoing User Experience Initiative Bookmark and Share

February 22, 2021

For Immediate Release: February 22, 2021

Maine Dept. of Labor Rolls out Updates to Unemployment Program and JobLink as Part of Ongoing User Experience Initiative

Users began to see changes in JobLink February 20 and will in ReEmployME February 25.

AUGUSTA - As part of its ongoing initiative to improve the experience and usability of its services, the Maine Department of Labor is rolling out updates to the ReEmployME unemployment system and the Maine JobLink this week.

"Over the past few months, the Maine Department of Labor has been asking for feedback from hundreds of Mainers, as part of an initiative to improve the experience people have when using our services," Commissioner Laura Fortman said. While this is an ongoing initiative, we are excited about the updates made so far and think that they will make a difference in how individuals access and use our services.

Beginning in January, unemployment claimants began seeing confirmation pages in ReEmployME and receiving confirmation emails after successfully filing an initial or weekly claim. The confirmation emails let individuals know that the Department has received their claim and explains the review process and next steps. The Department has also reviewed and re-written multiple correspondence that are sent to unemployment claimants and employers, making the language simpler and the format more straightforward.

Beginning on Thursday, February 25, MDOL is introducing a more intuitive and user-friendly weekly claim form and a weekly claim status dashboard to help claimants keep track of their weekly unemployment claims. Claimants must submit weekly claims in order to receive unemployment benefits.

The weekly claim process still has three steps: reporting work search activities, completing a weekly certification, and submitting the weekly claim. This update makes the overall process easier the forms are easier to read, file, review, and submit.

Improvements to weekly claim filing and display of status information for submitted claims include:

  • New weekly claims screen Claimants will be able to see all of the weeks available to file on one screen and where they are in the three-step process for each week.

  • Easy step by step work search reporting Claimants will now be guided through the work search reporting and only see questions relevant to their situation. This should help eliminate the need to guess the correct response to questions that are not relevant to them, reduce errors, and make the overall process easier and, for some, faster.

  • "What does this mean?" helper text The helper text for questions has been improved to give clearer definitions around terms like self-employed, odd job, and medical quarantine. Where applicable, concrete examples have been added to explain, for example, correct reporting, work search activities, and wages. Simply click on the What does this mean? link next to a question for more information.

  • Improved usability especially on mobile devices Claimants will notice changes in how the weekly claim looks. The pages' layout and structure have been optimized for both web and mobile so it will be easier to file from any device.

The new status dashboard will make tracking weekly claims and understanding unemployment benefits easier. The new status page will include:

  • Weekly claim dashboard Claimants will be able to view the statuses and amount paid for each submitted weekly claim on one screen. At a glance, claimants will be able to see which weeks were paid and which weeks are still processing or need futher attention.

  • Clear status language and detailed explanations Claimants will be able to expand each weekly claim and see a detailed explanation of the status on their claim. We have eliminated statuses like issue on file and provided statuses that are more specific and easier to understand.

  • What MDOL is doing and your next steps, if necessary,to ensure you receive your eligible benefits in a timely manner If necessary, statuses will describe clear next steps on how to resolve the issue and tell you what actions MDOL is taking to resolve the issue as well.

Walk-through guides of the changes for claimants will be posted on our website in the next couple of days: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/weeklyclaims/

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending February 20 Bookmark and Share

February 25, 2021

For Immediate Release: February 25, 2021

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending February 20

AUGUSTA - For the week ending February 20, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 2,150 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 250 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). In total, approximately 3,000 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.

About 16,800 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 13,300 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 19,300 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

Between March 15, 2020 and February 20, 2021, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $1.9 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits.

The Department has handled approximately 239,400 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 109,050 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. There have been over 3.4 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html

CareerCenter services - https://lnks.gd/2/PrVJ7X are available to help people identify and take next their steps. It is a requirement that those receiving unemployment insurance benefits also be registered on the Maine JobLink, which includes a weekly newsletter for job seekers highlighting opportunities and training.

Other Updates:

User Experience Updates to ReEmployME Implemented Today:

As part of its ongoing initiative to improve the experience and usability of its services, the Maine Department of Labor has rolled out updates to the ReEmployME unemployment system today.

MDOL is introducing a more intuitive and user-friendly weekly claim form and a weekly claim status dashboard to help claimants keep track of their weekly unemployment claims. Claimants must submit weekly claims in order to receive unemployment benefits.

The weekly claim process still has three steps: reporting work search activities, completing a weekly certification, and submitting the weekly claim. This update makes the overall process easier the forms are easier to read, file, review, and submit.

Improvements to weekly claim filing and display of status information for submitted claims include: - New weekly claims screen: Claimants will be able to see all of the weeks available to file on one screen and where they are in the three-step process for each week. - Easy step by step work search reporting: Claimants will now be guided through the work search reporting and only see questions relevant to their situation. This should help eliminate the need to guess the correct response to questions that are not relevant to them, reduce errors, and make the overall process easier and, for some, faster. - "What does this mean?" helper text: The helper text for questions has been improved to give clearer definitions around terms like self-employed, odd job, and medical quarantine. Where applicable, concrete examples have been added to explain, for example, correct reporting, work search activities, and wages. Simply click on the What does this mean? link next to a question for more information. - Improved usability especially on mobile devices: Claimants will notice changes in how the weekly claim looks. The pages' layout and structure have been optimized for both web and mobile so it will be easier to file from any device.

The new status dashboard will make tracking weekly claims and understanding unemployment benefits easier. The new status page will include:

  • Weekly claim dashboard: Claimants will be able to view the statuses and amount paid for each submitted weekly claim on one screen. At a glance, claimants will be able to see which weeks were paid and which weeks are still processing or need further attention.
  • Clear status language and detailed explanations: Claimants will be able to expand each weekly claim and see a detailed explanation of the status on their claim. We have eliminated statuses like issue on file and provided statuses that are more specific and easier to understand.
  • What MDOL is doing and your next steps, if necessary, to ensure you receive your eligible benefits in a timely manner: If necessary, statuses will describe clear next steps on how to resolve the issue and tell you what actions MDOL is taking to resolve the issue as well. Walk-through guides of the changes for claimants will be posted on our website: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/weeklyclaims/ Beginning in January, unemployment claimants also began seeing confirmation pages in ReEmployME and receiving confirmation emails after successfully filing an initial or weekly claim. The confirmation emails let individuals know that the Department has received their claim and explains the review process and next steps. The Department has also reviewed and re-written multiple correspondence that are sent to unemployment claimants and employers, making the language simpler and the format more straightforward.

Upcoming Virtual Hiring Event for Logistics, Supply Chain, and Commercial Driving Employment:

Maine CareerCenters are hosting a virtual hiring event for Logistics, Supply Chain, and Commercial Driving positions on March 4 from 2-3:30 p.m. Job seekers can register by using the online form. Employers can register by contacting Leo Deon via email at leo.j.deon@maine.gov. More information on upcoming workshops and events: More information: https://www.mainecareercenter.gov

Looking to hire? Employers can work with the Maine CareerCenters to hold independent virtual and drive-through hiring events. More information: https://www.mainecareercenter.gov

MDOL Seeking Employer and Jobseeker Input

MDOL is in the process of enhancing the employment services that it provides and is seeking employers' input. The Department is looking for employers to share any experiences they might have had with either: - Communicating with/hearing from the MDOL Bureau of Employment Services - Using MDOLs employment and workforce services We are also looking for feedback from job seekers as we continue making our services easier to use. We are looking for people to share any experiences they might have had with either: - Using services offered by Maine CareerCenters, including the CareerCenter website, workshops, JobLink, and job fairs. - Communicating with/hearing from MDOLs Bureau of Employment Services - Looking for work during the COVID-19 pandemic

Participants will have the option of providing feedback through a 30-minute self-recorded video journal on a simple downloaded app, or a 30-minute 1:1 virtual interview.

Employers interested in participating can complete a survey at this link: https://forms.gle/iGZmgQUtKMYitQbFA

Job seekers interested in participating can complete a survey at this link: https://forms.gle/KYYvERYEKPNFuwQa6

Fraud Update

The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims as it investigates unemployment imposter fraud.

During the week ending February 20, the Department cancelled 815 initial claims and 2 weekly certifications suspected to be fraudulent.

Unemployment imposter fraud is when a person's Personally Identifiable Information, or PII, is stolen and used illegally to apply for unemployment benefits. Maine is one of many U.S. states working in close collaboration with state and federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies to investigate and prevent it.

The Maine Department of Labor is also warning unemployment claimants and adding extra security measures to protect beneficiaries from fraudulent email "phishing" scams" in which bad actors steal usernames and passwords, use them to log into unemployment accounts, and change the payment information.

The Department was notified by the U.S. Department of Labor of scams happening across the country and is taking proactive action to review and prevent impact on Maine claimants. The Department has also received reports of phishing attempts in Maine.

Some phishing attempts mimicked the Maine Department of Labor and provided a link to reset a password, or a link to look at recent account activity. The Department will never send a password reset email that wasn't requested by the individual. If someone did not request a reset and receives one of these emails, they should immediately delete the email and not respond. If they receive an email requesting they look at the recent activity in their account, they should not click on any links in the email, and instead go straight to their account.

Claimants log-in information could also be potentially obtained by criminals if someone uses the same log-in information for multiple websites and that log-in information is compromised. The Department strongly recommends that claimants use a password that is unique to their unemployment account and is not used for anything else.

The Department continues to evolve its fraud prevention techniques and is adding extra authentication technology to the ReEmployME system. The Department is temporarily holding several hundred claims while awaiting additional verification from the individuals. Individuals whose claims are on hold will be notified by email to call 1-800-593-7660 for further guidance.

What unemployment claimants should do to protect themselves: - Before filing their next weekly certification, they should go to Benefits Maintenance > Payment Options to verify their current payment information and update as needed. - Click on the link in Benefits Maintenance to verify their email address. This will generate an email with instructions on how to complete the process. - After verifying their email, the Department recommends changing their password to one that is not being used in any other online system. They will need to verify their email account before creating a new password by hitting forgot password on the log-in page. This will also generate an email within which they will need to click on a link. Passwords should not be shared with anyone. - Unsolicited emails about resetting passwords should be immediately deleted. - If unemployment benefit payments for prior weeks filed appear to have been redirected to a bank account that is not theirs, they should contact the Department.

The U.S. Department of Justice has put out an Unemployment Insurance Consumer Fraud Protection Guide - https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/docs/2020/USDOJUIFraudConsumerProtectionGuideFinal.pdf with information on unemployment fraud and what to do if you believe your information has been used to file a fraudulent claim.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/

Work Search Related Activities Requirement:

Weekly work search related activity requirements are in effect for all unemployment claimants. The only exception is for individuals in medical quarantine due to potential COVID-19 exposure.

Self-employed individuals need to attest to engaging in activities designed to fully reopen their business. In response to the circumstances caused by the pandemic, the Department expanded possible work search activities to include opportunities to enhance individual's marketability during these challenging economic times.

Work search activities include: - Attending a job fair/virtual job fair hosted by a CareerCenter - Participating in CareerCenter virtual reemployment services - Participating in a CareerCenter virtual workshop - Applying for a job for which you are reasonably qualified - Interviewing for a job for which you are reasonably qualified - Contacting an employer to inquire as to whether the employer is hiring - Participating in professional job-related education or skills development - Participating in networking events related to a job or occupation for which you are reasonably qualified - Working part-time

For example, some resources through the Maine State Library count as a work search activity. Below are brief descriptions of the services and links to them on the Digital Maine Library.

Learning Express Library: https://libraries.maine.edu/mainedatabases/authmaine.asp?db=lel - Career Preparation includes: exploring new careers, including health care and green jobs; preparing for career exams, such as nursing assistant or real estate salesperson
- Computer Skills includes everything from basic computer operation to specific Microsoft software
- Adult Core Skills are geared at improving math and reading skills

Pronunciator: https://libraries.maine.edu/mainedatabases/authmaine.asp?db=pll - Learning a second language can be useful personally and professionally

Petersons Career Prep: https://libraries.maine.edu/mainedatabases/authmaine.asp?db=pcp - Resume development
- Career exploration
- Other job-related guidance

Minimize Risk of Overpayments:

The Department would like to remind claimants that failure to participate in work search related activities will likely result in overpayments, which may need to be repaid by the claimant.

If an individual has not participated in work search related activities for more than one week, the Department will contact them to ask why they didnt complete a work search activity. This is called a fact-finding interview. They can choose to do this by completing a questionnaire sent to them, or over the phone with a department representative. Based on this fact-finding interview, the Department will determine if they were eligible for benefits for that week. If benefits were already paid for a week but they were later denied as a result of this review, the benefits for that week may have to be repaid to MDOL.

All claimants are also required to be registered on the Maine JobLink, a free job search tool, where claimants can upload their resumes and employers can post their job openings: https://joblink.maine.gov/ada/r/

The CareerCenters hold frequent virtual workshops on how to use the Maine JobLink. To register any of the CareerCenter workshops, please visit: http://www.mainecareercenter.com/employment/workshops.shtml

People can also call their local CareerCenter to schedule a 1:1 appointment with a CareerCenter Consultant to explore work search activity options specific to the persons individual needs.

More information, videos, and answers to frequently asked questions on the work search requirement can be found at: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/faq/worksearch/ If an employer has offered work to an employee and that employee refused the work, the employer should notify the Department. A fact-finding would be held to determine if there was good cause for the refusal of work. If no good cause is determined, then the claimant would no longer be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Employers can report refusals of work here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ucbr/

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending February 27 Bookmark and Share

March 4, 2021

For Immediate Release: March 4, 2021

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending February 27

AUGUSTA - For the week ending February 27, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 1,700 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 200 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). In total, approximately 2,250 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.

About 16,800 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 13,700 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 19,600 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

Between March 15, 2020 and February 27, 2021, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $1.9 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits.

The Department has handled approximately 241,000 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 109,250 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. There have been over 3.4 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html

CareerCenter services - https://lnks.gd/2/R53R9d are available to help people identify and take next their steps. It is a requirement that those receiving unemployment insurance benefits also be registered on the Maine JobLink, which includes a weekly newsletter for job seekers highlighting opportunities and training.

Other Updates:

New USDOL Guidance on PUA Benefit Eligibility Clarifies Consistency with Existing Maine Law:

The President has signed an executive order and USDOL has provided expanded guidance on individuals who are eligible for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits. This includes COVID-19 related reasons under which an individual may self-certify.

The Department is further reviewing the guidance and participating in USDOL informational sessions, but the guidance appears to be consistent with existing Maine Law, including the Governor's Emergency Legislation. Under existing Maine law, the Department of Labor was already taking these situations into consideration when individuals applied for federal unemployment insurance.

For example, when a claimant voluntarily quit their employment or refused a job offer, the Department currently looks to see if the claimant had "good cause," such as the employer not following the states mask mandate.

The Department will provide more information when available on our website: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment

CWRI Publishes New Webpage for Unemployment Characteristics and County Data

MDOLs Center for Workforce Research and Information has published a new 'Characteristics and County of Residence for Continued Unemployment Claimants webpage using data from monthly snapshots of continued unemployment claims.

The webpage can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui1.html

Upcoming Virtual Hiring Event for Staffing Agencies (Non-Medical) and Financial Services

Maine CareerCenters are hosting a virtual hiring event for staffing agencies (non-medical) and financial services positions on March 11 from 2-3 p.m. Job seekers can register by using this online form - https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=q6g_QX0gYkubzeoajy-GTkfD6zxBq4NNk3ctLSfuvwRUN0FERUQ4NUQ2VFVMQjgzTjlCSUJKMEc1Vy4u . Employers can register by contacting Leo Deon via email at leo.j.deon@maine.gov .

More information on upcoming workshops and events: More information: https://www.mainecareercenter.gov

Looking to hire? Employers can work with the Maine CareerCenters to hold independent virtual and drive-through hiring events. More information: https://www.mainecareercenter.gov

MDOL Seeking Employer and Jobseeker Input

MDOL is in the process of enhancing the employment services that it provides and is seeking employers input. The Department is looking for employers to share any experiences they might have had with either: - Communicating with/hearing from the MDOL Bureau of Employment Services - Using MDOLs employment and workforce services

We are also looking for feedback from job seekers as we continue making our services easier to use. We are looking for people to share any experiences they might have had with either: - Using services offered by Maine CareerCenters, including the CareerCenter website, workshops, JobLink, and job fairs. - Communicating with/hearing from MDOLs Bureau of Employment Services - Looking for work during the COVID-19 pandemic

Participants will have the option of providing feedback through a 30-minute self-recorded video journal on a simple downloaded app, or a 30-minute 1:1 virtual interview.

Employers interested in participating can complete a survey at this link: https://forms.gle/iGZmgQUtKMYitQbFA

Job seekers interested in participating can complete a survey at this link: https://forms.gle/KYYvERYEKPNFuwQa6

Fraud Update

The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims as it investigates unemployment imposter fraud.

During the week ending February 27, the Department cancelled 802 initial claims and 3 weekly certifications suspected to be fraudulent.

Unemployment imposter fraud is when a person's Personally Identifiable Information, or PII, is stolen and used illegally to apply for unemployment benefits. Maine is one of many U.S. states working in close collaboration with state and federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies to investigate and prevent it.

The Maine Department of Labor is also warning unemployment claimants and adding extra security measures to protect beneficiaries from fraudulent email "phishing" scams in which bad actors steal usernames and passwords, use them to log into unemployment accounts, and change the payment information.

The Department was notified by the U.S. Department of Labor of scams happening across the country and is taking proactive action to review and prevent impact on Maine claimants. The Department has also received reports of phishing attempts in Maine.

Some phishing attempts mimicked the Maine Department of Labor and provided a link to reset a password, or a link to look at recent account activity.

The Department will never send a password reset email that wasn't requested by the individual. If someone did not request a reset and receives one of these emails, they should immediately delete the email and not respond. If they receive an email requesting they look at the recent activity in their account, they should not click on any links in the email, and instead go straight to their account.

Claimants log-in information could also be potentially obtained by criminals if someone uses the same log-in information for multiple websites and that log-in information is compromised. The Department strongly recommends that claimants use a password that is unique to their unemployment account and is not used for anything else. The Department continues to evolve its fraud prevention techniques and is adding extra authentication technology to the ReEmployME system. The Department is temporarily holding several hundred claims while awaiting additional verification from the individuals. Individuals whose claims are on hold will be notified by email to call 1-800-593-7660 for further guidance.

What unemployment claimants should do to protect themselves: - Before filing their next weekly certification, they should go to Benefits Maintenance > Payment Options to verify their current payment information and update as needed. - Click on the link in Benefits Maintenance to verify their email address. This will generate an email with instructions on how to complete the process. - After verifying their email, the Department recommends changing their password to one that is not being used in any other online system. They will need to verify their email account before creating a new password by hitting forgot password on the log-in page. This will also generate an email within which they will need to click on a link. Passwords should not be shared with anyone. - Unsolicited emails about resetting passwords should be immediately deleted. - If unemployment benefit payments for prior weeks filed appear to have been redirected to a bank account that is not theirs, they should contact the Department.

The U.S. Department of Justice has put out an Unemployment Insurance Consumer Fraud Protection Guide - https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/docs/2020/USDOJUIFraudConsumerProtectionGuideFinal.pdf with information on unemployment fraud and what to do if you believe your information has been used to file a fraudulent claim.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/

Work Search Related Activities Requirement:

Weekly work search related activity requirements are in effect for all unemployment claimants. The only exception is for individuals in medical quarantine due to potential COVID-19 exposure.

Self-employed individuals need to attest to engaging in activities designed to fully reopen their business. In response to the circumstances caused by the pandemic, the Department expanded possible work search activities to include opportunities to enhance individual's marketability during these challenging economic times.

Work search activities include: - Attending a job fair/virtual job fair hosted by a CareerCenter - Participating in CareerCenter virtual reemployment services - Participating in a CareerCenter virtual workshop - Applying for a job for which you are reasonably qualified - Interviewing for a job for which you are reasonably qualified - Contacting an employer to inquire as to whether the employer is hiring - Participating in professional job-related education or skills development - Participating in networking events related to a job or occupation for which you are reasonably qualified - Working part-time

For example, some resources through the Maine State Library count as a work search activity. Below are brief descriptions of the services and links to them on the Digital Maine Library.

Learning Express Library: https://libraries.maine.edu/mainedatabases/authmaine.asp?db=lel - Career Preparation includes: exploring new careers, including health care and green jobs; preparing for career exams, such as nursing assistant or real estate salesperson
- Computer Skills includes everything from basic computer operation to specific Microsoft software
- Adult Core Skills are geared at improving math and reading skills

Pronunciator: https://libraries.maine.edu/mainedatabases/authmaine.asp?db=pll - Learning a second language can be useful personally and professionally

Petersons Career Prep: https://libraries.maine.edu/mainedatabases/authmaine.asp?db=pcp - Resume development
- Career exploration
- Other job-related guidance

Minimize Risk of Overpayments:

The Department would like to remind claimants that failure to participate in work search related activities will likely result in overpayments, which may need to be repaid by the claimant.

If an individual has not participated in work search related activities for more than one week, the Department will contact them to ask why they didnt complete a work search activity. This is called a fact-finding interview. They can choose to do this by completing a questionnaire sent to them, or over the phone with a department representative. Based on this fact-finding interview, the Department will determine if they were eligible for benefits for that week. If benefits were already paid for a week but they were later denied as a result of this review, the benefits for that week may have to be repaid to MDOL.

All claimants are also required to be registered on the Maine JobLink, a free job search tool, where claimants can upload their resumes and employers can post their job openings: https://joblink.maine.gov/ada/r/

The CareerCenters hold frequent virtual workshops on how to use the Maine JobLink. To register any of the CareerCenter workshops, please visit: http://www.mainecareercenter.com/employment/workshops.shtml

People can also call their local CareerCenter to schedule a 1:1 appointment with a CareerCenter Consultant to explore work search activity options specific to the persons individual needs.

More information, videos, and answers to frequently asked questions on the work search requirement can be found at: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/faq/worksearch/ If an employer has offered work to an employee and that employee refused the work, the employer should notify the Department. A fact-finding would be held to determine if there was good cause for the refusal of work. If no good cause is determined, then the claimant would no longer be eligible for unemployment benefits. Employers can report refusals of work here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ucbr/

Media Advisory - Unemployment Scam Alert Bookmark and Share

March 6, 2021

The Maine Department of Labor is warning the public of scammer's attempts to phish individuals personal information via social media platforms. Scammers are creating social media pages to mimic the Maine Department of Labors and are asking people to direct message them via these fake pages for unemployment help.

The Department is working with social media platforms to remove the fake pages.

For Facebook users, look for the Departments "verified" blue checkmark. The Maine Department of Labor will never ask for sensitive information via social media or direct messenger.

The Department is asking the public stay vigilant, never share personal information through social media, and to report fake pages immediately.

Justice Department Warns About Fake Unemployment Benefit Websites Bookmark and Share

March 8, 2021

The Department of Justice has received reports that fraudsters are creating websites mimicking unemployment benefit websites, including state workforce agency (SWA) websites, for the purpose of unlawfully capturing consumers' personal information.

To lure consumers to these fake websites, fraudsters send spam text messages and emails purporting to be from an SWA and containing a link. The fake websites are designed to trick consumers into thinking they are applying for unemployment benefits and disclosing personally identifiable information and other sensitive data. That information can then be used by fraudsters to commit identity theft.

Unless from a known and verified source, consumers should never click on links in text messages or emails claiming to be from an SWA offering the opportunity to apply for unemployment insurance benefits. Instead, anyone needing to apply for unemployment benefits should go to an official SWA website, a list of which can be found at: https://www.careeronestop.org/localhelp/unemploymentbenefits/unemployment-benefits.aspx .

Schemes that use links embedded in unsolicited text messages and emails in attempts to obtain personally identifiable information are commonly referred to as phishing schemes. Phishing messages may look like they come from government agencies, financial intuitions, shipping companies, and social media companies, among many others. Carefully examine any message purporting to be from a company and do not click on a link in an unsolicited email or text message. Remember that companies generally do not contact you to ask for your username or password. When in doubt, contact the entity purportedly sending you the message, but do not rely on any contact information in the potentially fraudulent message.

If you receive a text message or email claiming to be from an SWA and containing a link or other contact information, please report the communication to the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) by calling 866-720-5721 or using the NCDF Web Complaint Form found at: https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud .

If you believe you may have entered information into a fraudulent website, resources on how to protect your information can be found at: https://www.identitytheft.gov .

To learn more about identifying and protecting yourself from phishing attempts, go to: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/how-recognize-and-avoid-phishing-scams or https://www.fbi.gov/scams-andsafety/common-scams-and-crimes/spoofing-and-phishing .

Further information about the SWA-imposter scheme, and other major scams targeting American consumers, can be found at the Justice Departments Transnational Elder Fraud Strike Force website: https://www.justice.gov/civil/consumer-protection-branch/transnational-elder-fraud-strike-force .

This alert is provided by the Justice Departments National Unemployment Insurance Fraud Task Force (NUIFTF) and the Consumer Protection Branch of the departments Civil Division. Members of NUIFTF include: Department of Labor Office of Inspector General, U.S. Secret Service, Homeland Security Investigations, IRS-Criminal Investigation, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General, and FDIC Office of Inspector General. Find out more about the NUIFTF at: https://www.justice.gov/file/1319301/download .

For more information about the Consumer Protection Branch, visit http://www.justice.gov/civil/consumer-protectionbranch .

Maine Awarded Grant to Accelerate COVID-19 Workforce Recovery Efforts Bookmark and Share

March 9, 2021

For Immediate Release: March 9, 2021

Maine Awarded Grant to Accelerate COVID-19 Workforce Recovery Efforts

Maine Will Receive Funding Through National Governors Association and Cognizant U.S. Foundation as Part of Inaugural Workforce Innovation Network Cohort

AUGUSTA - Maine has been selected as the inaugural cohort of states in the Workforce Innovation Network, the National Governors Association (NGA) and Cognizant U.S. Foundation announced today. The state will receive a grant to improve employment outcomes in response to the economic impacts of COVID-19, connecting job seekers to training, education, job opportunities and essential support services.

Maine is one of nine states selected for the inaugural cohort of the Workforce Innovation Network, which is designed to help states build capacity for near-term innovation and longer-term strategies to prepare their workforces for a post-COVID-19 economy. The network serves as anonpartisan learning and action collaborative forstate leaderswho have demonstrated strong commitments to building a resilient workforce. In this first round of grants from the Workforce Innovation Fund, states will receive:

  • Support developing a state action plan and policy recommendations to develop or scale innovations that increase employment and deliver stronger workforce outcomes;
  • Up to $100,000 in grant funding to support personnel and project coordination to carry out state innovations; and
  • Virtual or in-person site visits and regular coaching calls from NGA Center staff, as well as national experts and consultants to meet individual state needs and priorities.

Maine's application included a focus on cross-system efforts to implement the states 10-Year Statewide Economic Development Strategy and change the experience of people who interact with the public workforce system.

"There are good paying jobs in the trades, in electrical and plumbing work, in construction and manufacturing, in health care and life sciences and in clean energy that are going unfilled. Our economic recovery depends on our ability to connect Maine workers to those jobs," said Governor Janet Mills. With NGAs expertise, the State Workforce Board will continue our efforts to develop talent in the State of Maine in partnership with Maines Community Colleges, the University of Maine System, Adult Education, Career and Technical Centers, private employers and trade unions. On behalf of the people of Maine, I thank the National Governors Association for recognizing and rewarding our commitment to train the workforce of tomorrow. This grant award will assist the State Workforce Board in developing an integrated implementation plan for the Grow Local Talent strategy. Specifically, the grant proposal seeks to help:

  • Coordinate with Maine Adult Education, Maine State Library System, Maine Community College System, University of Maine System, DECD, DHHS and Maines CareerCenters to establish targeted credentials of value and better integrate delivery of workforce and essential support services focusing on the user-centered approach for connecting displaced workers to available jobs and other needed resources.
  • Align public workforce programs and funding that support Maine residents to increase their skills and education into a seamless continuum of programs and supports, with a focus on career pathways for in-demand occupations.
  • Work across state agencies to coordinate business marketing, outreach, and engagement efforts to streamline business access to workforce services and talent.
  • Re-brand and re-market Maines workforce system so that it is easily accessible for Maine employers and workers

Being selected as one of the states in the Workforce Innovation Network will allow Maine to further strengthen the partnerships across state agencies, the Maine Community College System and the University of Maine System, and further align Maines workforce system to meet the needs of Maines employers and workers, said Labor Commissioner Fortman.

MDOL is committed to working with all workforce partners to leverage resources and efforts across our workforce system. Removing barriers faced by Maine people entering the workforce and connecting employers with skilled workers is a key priority, and with the assistance from the NGA we are eager to maximize our efforts.

To receive the grants and qualify as a member of the network, states submitted proposals focused on the creation of new, unified virtual service delivery platforms, digital inclusion and skill development strategies, and equitable access to high-quality work opportunities via the adoption of new state job quality and self-sufficiency standards.

Even as Governors work to defeat COVID-19 in their states and territories by making vaccines available to millions, they recognize that the effects of the pandemic on their workforces are far-reaching and, in some cases, may be permanent, said Timothy Blute, director of the NGA Center. The effects of the pandemic have been disparate across sectors of society and the workforce, necessitating partnerships among governmental leaders, business and civic communities.

According to the Center for Workforce Research and Information, Maines swift jobs recovery slowed substantially in the final three months of 2020. December job gains in construction, manufacturing, transportation and warehousing, professional and business services, educational services, healthcare and social assistance, and other sectors were mostly offset by a sharp decrease in the leisure and hospitality sector and public higher education. Across all sectors there were 7.6 percent fewer jobs than in February of 2020 with net job losses concentrated in leisure and hospitality, healthcare and social assistance, manufacturing, private educational services and state and local governments (mostly in education, both K-12 and higher ed). These latest trends underscore the importance of breaking down traditional silos in training and service delivery and working collaboratively to advance an equitable and inclusive recovery, particularly for workers in sectors most negatively affected by COVID-19.

Governors have already begun to address high unemployment with innovative policies and practices to more rapidly connect job seekers with the services and supports needed for success in the workforce, said Kristen Titus, executive director of Cognizant U.S. Foundation. These Workforce Innovation Fund grants will help the states in this inaugural cohort build on early innovations and expand capacity to coordinate cross-agency economic recovery efforts-we look forward to seeing Maines accomplishments.

In the coming months, the network will gather Governors, states and external partners to learn more about how states are aligning their reskilling, reemployment and recovery strategies with longer-term trends and the future of work.

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About National Governors Association Founded in 1908, the National Governors Association (NGA) is the bipartisan organization of the nations 55 Governors. Through NGA, Governors share best practices, address issues of national and state interest and share innovative solutions that improve state government and support the principles of federalism. Learn more at https://www.nga.org.

About Cognizant U.S. Foundation The Cognizant U.S. Foundation supports organizations working to inspire, educate and prepare people of all ages to succeed in the workforce of today and tomorrow. Since 2018, the Foundation has committed $50 million to ensure all individuals have equitable opportunity to thrive in the digital economy. Learn more at https://www.cognizantusfoundation.org.

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending March 6 Bookmark and Share

March 11, 2021

For Immediate Release: March 11, 2021

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending March 6

AUGUSTA - For the week ending March 6, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 1,500 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 130 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). In total, approximately 2,000 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.

About 16,000 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 13,400 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 19,700 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

Between March 15, 2020 and March 6, 2021, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $1.96 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits.

The Department has handled approximately 242,500 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 109,400 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. There have been over 3.5 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html .

CareerCenter services - https://lnks.gd/2/RDj2Vr are available to help people identify and take next their steps. It is a requirement that those receiving unemployment insurance benefits also be registered on the Maine JobLink, which includes a weekly newsletter for job seekers highlighting opportunities and training.

Other Updates:

MDOL Warns Public of Texting and Social Media Scams

The Maine Department of Labor is warning the public of scammer's attempts to phish individuals personal information via social media platforms and text messages.

Scammers are creating social media pages to mimic the Maine Department of Labors and are asking people to direct message them via these fake pages for unemployment help. The Department is working with social media platforms to remove the fake pages as they pop up.

For Facebook users, look for the Departments "verified" blue checkmark. The Maine Department of Labor will never ask for sensitive information via social media or direct messenger.

Scammers are also texting the public asking them to click links for information about their unemployment benefits. The Maine Department of Labor does not conduct business via text.

The Department is asking the public stay vigilant, never share personal information through social media or text, and to report fake social media pages immediately.

MDOL Recommends Unemployment Claimants Call Thursdays and Fridays

If unemployment claimants have a question about their claim, the Department recommends that they call the unemployment phone line, 1-800-593-7660, between 8 am and 3 pm Monday-Friday. Call wait times continue to decrease on all days, however Thursdays and Fridays remain the days when call volume is at its lowest and usually have shorter wait times.

They can also leave a message 24/7 at https://www.maine.gov/labor/contact/index.html . They should only put in one message to avoid duplication.

Maine Dept. of Labor Restarting RESEA Program for Unemployed Mainers

On March 14, the Maine Department of Labor is restarting the Re-Employment Services and Eligibility & Assessment (RESEA) program. RESEA is a program that provides qualifying Unemployment Insurance (UI) claimants with one-on-one coaching and relevant services to help them in their reemployment journey. The Department last offered the program from 2015-2017.

Services will be delivered through one-on-one meetings held virtually. Claimants will be notified of their meeting by email and a physical mailed letter.

If selected to participate in the RESEA program, participation is required for the individual to continue receiving unemployment benefits. Participation in the program would count as the individuals work search activity for that week. Failure to attend their scheduled appointment may result in a denial of unemployment benefits or an overpayment. The Department will work with participants to reschedule appointments due to having a job interview, training, work, jury duty, being sick, etc. They should refer to the RESEA email or letter they received for additional information on how to reschedule.

More information can be found on our website: https://www.maine.gov/labor/resea/ .

CWRI Publishes Occupational Employment Outlook to 2028 Article

On March 5, MDOLs Center for Workforce Research and Information published an article on Maines occupational employment outlook to 2028.

The full article can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/publications/pdf/OccupationalEmploymentOutlookto2028.pdf .

Virtual Hiring Events

Employers can work with the Maine CareerCenters to hold independent virtual and drive-through hiring events. The next virtual hiring event is being hosted by Hancock Lumber, who is looking to hire for their Pittsfield location. Their virtual hiring event will be on March 16 from 9 am to 2 pm.

Job seekers can connect one-on-one with a representative from Hancock Lumber by calling or emailing Kevin Raven at 807-6423 or kraven@HancockLumber.com between 9-2 on March 16.

More information on upcoming workshops and events: https://www.mainecareercenter.gov .

MDOL Seeking Employer and Jobseeker Input

MDOL is in the process of enhancing the employment services that it provides and is seeking employers input. The Department is looking for employers to share any experiences they might have had with either:

  • Communicating with/hearing from the MDOL Bureau of Employment Services
  • Using MDOLs employment and workforce services

We are also looking for feedback from job seekers as we continue making our services easier to use. We are looking for people to share any experiences they might have had with either:

  • Using services offered by Maine CareerCenters, including the CareerCenter website, workshops, JobLink, and job fairs.
  • Communicating with/hearing from MDOLs Bureau of Employment Services
  • Looking for work during the COVID-19 pandemic

Participants will have the option of providing feedback through a 30-minute self-recorded video journal on a simple downloaded app, or a 30-minute 1:1 virtual interview.

Employers interested in participating can complete a survey at this link: https://forms.gle/iGZmgQUtKMYitQbFA

Job seekers interested in participating can complete a survey at this link: https://forms.gle/KYYvERYEKPNFuwQa6

Fraud Update

The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims, and to evolve its fraud prevention techniques.

During the week ending March 6, the Department cancelled 512 initial claims and 1 weekly certification suspected to be fraudulent.

Unemployment imposter fraud is when a person's Personally Identifiable Information, or PII, is stolen and used illegally to apply for unemployment benefits. Maine is one of many U.S. states working in close collaboration with state and federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies to investigate and prevent it.

Claimants log-in information could also be potentially obtained by criminals if someone uses the same log-in information for multiple websites and that log-in information is compromised. The Department strongly recommends that claimants use a password that is unique to their unemployment account and is not used for anything else.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/ .

Work Search Related Activities Requirement:

Weekly work search related activity requirements are still in effect for all unemployment claimants. The only exception is for individuals in medical quarantine due to potential COVID-19 exposure.

In response to the circumstances caused by the pandemic, the Department expanded possible work search activities to include opportunities to enhance individual's marketability during these challenging economic times.

Work search activities include: - Attending a job fair/virtual job fair hosted by a CareerCenter - Participating in CareerCenter virtual reemployment services - Participating in a CareerCenter virtual workshop - Applying for a job for which you are reasonably qualified - Interviewing for a job for which you are reasonably qualified - Contacting an employer to inquire as to whether the employer is hiring - Participating in professional job-related education or skills development - Participating in networking events related to a job or occupation for which you are reasonably qualified - Working part-time

Self-employed individuals need to attest to engaging in activities designed to fully reopen their business, or to one of the above activities.

All claimants are also required to be registered on the Maine JobLink, a free job search tool, where claimants can upload their resumes and employers can post their job openings: https://joblink.maine.gov/ada/r/

People can also call their local CareerCenter to schedule a 1:1 appointment with a CareerCenter Consultant to explore work search activity options specific to the persons individual needs.

More information, videos, and answers to frequently asked questions on the work search requirement can be found at: https://www.maine.gov/labor/unemployment .

If an employer has offered work to an employee and that employee refused the work, the employer should notify the Department. A fact-finding would be held to determine if there was good cause for the refusal of work. If no good cause is determined, then the claimant would no longer be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Employers can report refusals of work here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ucbr/ .

Federal Unemployment Programs Extended by American Rescue Plan Bookmark and Share

March 12, 2021

For Immediate Release: March 12, 2021

Federal Unemployment Programs Extended by American Rescue Plan

AUGUSTA - On Thursday, March 11, 2021 the American Rescue Plan was signed into law by President Biden. This law includes several provisions that extend federal unemployment programs.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) extended:

  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claimants were previously eligible for up to 50 weeks of benefits. Now, they will be eligible for up to 79 weeks of benefits. The additional weeks will be added to PUA claims automatically; claimants should just continue to file their weekly claims.
  • NOTE: If a claimant previously exhausted their 50 weeks of PUA, they will be able to begin certifying again beginning Sunday, March 21, 2021. Week-ending March 20, 2021 is the first week the PUA continuation takes effect. Based on the federal law, there are no back weeks available for those who previously exhausted PUA. If someone exhausted their previous PUA benefits and has not filed a weekly claim within the last two weeks, they will need to go online to reopen their claim.
  • PUA as a whole will be extended through September 4, 2021, but claimants may exhaust their individual 79 weeks before that date.

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) extended:

  • The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program previously provided up to 24 weeks of additional benefits to claimants who exhausted their regular state Unemployment Insurance benefits. Now, it will provide up to 53 weeks through September 4, 2021.
  • If a claimant is already collecting PEUC, no additional action is needed.
  • Those who had already exhausted their previous PEUC benefits should follow the same process outlined above for those who exhausted their PUA benefits.

$300 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) extended:

  • Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), which provides an additional $300 per week on top of a claimant's weekly benefit amount, has been extended through September 4, 2021.
  • Claimants will continue to receive FPUC automatically as long as they continue to file weekly claims.

Tax Relief for Unemployment Claimants:

  • Both the state supplemental budget and the federal American Rescue Plan include $10,200 of tax relief for unemployment claimants. This does not affect unemployment claims or accounts. The Maine Department of Labor is not responsible for this part of the Plan, and claimants should check with the IRS and MRS for further details and guidance on tax relief.

Assistance for Employers and the State Unemployment Trust Fund:

  • Governmental entities and nonprofit organizations are relieved of 75% of the benefit costs for COVID-related unemployment claims, an increase from the 50% previously funded, through September 4, 2021.
  • Full federal funding of the first week of benefits is restored, after dropping from 100% to 50% with the previous extension, through September 4, 2021.
  • Full federal funding of benefits paid through the Workshare program, through September 4, 2021.

Additional Information: - Any updates or additional information will be posted at https://www.maine.gov/unemployment . - For any issues regarding an individual claim, call 1-800-593-7660.

January Workforce Conditions in Maine Bookmark and Share

March 16, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 15, 2021

January Workforce Conditions in Maine

NOTE: Labor force and nonfarm payroll jobs estimates for prior years have been revised. Updated data indicates that there was an average of 7,500 more jobs and that the unemployment rate was 0.8 percentage points lower in 2020 than was previously published. Data revisions are described in this blog.

AUGUSTA - After three months of little change during the fall virus surge, nonfarm payroll jobs, labor force participation, and unemployment all increased. In January:

  • Nonfarm payroll jobs were up 2,000
  • Labor force participation increased to 59.9 percent
  • The unemployment rate was 5.2 percent

Seasonally Adjusted Estimates

Nonfarm Payroll Jobs Estimates The number of nonfarm payroll jobs increased 2,000 to 603,200 in January, the largest gain since September. State government education added 1,200 jobs as University of Maine campuses brought back staff with the return of students. Many staff had been laid off in December after students were sent home at Thanksgiving to complete the fall semester online. The leisure and hospitality sector added 600 jobs, mostly related to winter recreation. Changes in most other sectors were small.

There were 37,800 fewer jobs than a year ago. The six percent rate of job loss is the same as for the nation. The number of jobs remained down 15,700 (22 percent) in the leisure and hospitality sector and 6,700 (five percent) in public and private education, both K-12 and higher ed combined. Those two sectors, which accounted for 22 percent of jobs a year ago, have experienced 59 percent of the net job loss over the last year. Other significant decreases over the last year were in healthcare and social assistance, down 3,700 jobs (3.5 percent), and retail trade, down 3,100 jobs (3.9 percent).

The construction, manufacturing, finance, wholesale trade, and professional and business services sectors were close to their levels from one year ago, having recovered most of the jobs lost at the beginning of the pandemic. Federal government jobs were up 300 as the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard added to its workforce.

Labor Force and Unemployment Estimates The number of unemployed increased 1,700 to 35,100, pushing the unemployment rate up slightly from 5.0 to 5.2 percent in January. The increase in unemployment was due to a 0.4 percentage point increase in labor force participation to 59.9 percent. These comparisons are to newly revised estimates for December.

The labor force is comprised of employed and unemployed people. Jobless people not seeking work, including retirees and many students, are not in the labor force and not counted as unemployed. The increase in unemployment in January was the result of people returning to work search after a period out of the labor force.

Labor force participation in January remained 3.2 percentage points lower than a year ago, representing 31,400 fewer people. If participation was as high as a year ago, the number of unemployed would be nearly twice as high and the unemployment rate would be 9.4 percent.

**U.S and New England Household Survey Estimates **

The U.S. unemployment rate was 6.3 percent in January (and 6.2 percent in February) and the New England rate was 7.0 percent. January rates for other states in the region were 3.6 percent in New Hampshire, 3.2 percent in Vermont, 7.8 percent in Massachusetts, 7.2 percent in Rhode Island, and 8.1 percent in Connecticut.

Not Seasonally Adjusted Substate Estimates

The not seasonally adjusted statewide unemployment rate of 6.4 percent for January was up from 3.3 percent one year ago. Unemployment rates were lowest in Sagadahoc County (5.1 percent) and highest in Washington County (8.4 percent).

Unemployment rates were below the statewide average in all three metro areas: Bangor (5.9 percent), Portland-South Portland (5.7 percent), and Lewiston-Auburn (6.0 percent).

February estimates will be release Friday, March 26 at 10 a.m. (Data Release Schedule https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/releaseDates.html ).

This release is available here - https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/news/release.html .

Labor force and unemployment data is available here - https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/laus1.html .

Nonfarm payroll jobs data is available here - https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ces1.html .

Monthly workforce estimates are cooperatively produced and released by the Maine Department of Labor, Center for Workforce Research and Information and the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

NOTES

  1. Preliminary seasonally-adjusted labor force estimates, including rates (labor force participation, employment, and unemployment rates), and levels (labor force, employed, and unemployed) tend to move in a direction for several months and then reverse course. Those directional trends are largely driven by a smoothing procedure and may not indicate a change in underlying workforce conditions. Annual revisions (published in March each year) tend to moderate or eliminate those directional patterns. A comparison of 2020 preliminary and revised estimates of labor force and unemployment rates, as well as nonfarm payroll jobs, is available at https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/blogs/2021workforcedata_revisions.pdf
  2. The 90 percent confidence interval for statewide unemployment rates for January is 1.0 percentage points above or below the published estimate.
  3. To assess job growth, we recommend looking at nonfarm jobs from the payroll survey rather than at resident employment from the household survey. The payroll survey is larger, has smaller margins of error, and is subject to smaller revisions. A 2016 blog on the differences in accuracy of the two measures provides more context at https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/blogs/imprecise_data.pdf
  4. Nonfarm payroll jobs estimates tend to be volatile from month to month because there is variability in the sample of reporting employers and their representativeness for the universe of all employers. Additionally, seasonal adjustment is imperfect because weather, the beginning and ending of school semesters, holidays, and other events do not always occur with the same timing relative to the pay period that includes the 12th day of the month, which is the reference period. This sometimes exacerbates monthly volatility. Users should look to the trend over multiple months rather than the change from one specific month to another. Estimates for the period from April 2019 to September 2020 will be replaced with actual payroll data in March 2022. Those benchmark revisions are likely to show less volatility than preliminary estimates do

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending March 13 Bookmark and Share

March 18, 2021

For Immediate Release: March 18, 2021

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending March 13

AUGUSTA - For the week ending March 13, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 1,900 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 300 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). In total, approximately 2,600 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.

About 15,600 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 13,600 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 19,800 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

Between March 15, 2020 and March 13, 2021, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out nearly $2 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits.

The Department has handled approximately 244,450 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 109,700 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Note: Claims do not equal the number of unique unemployment claimants. There have been over 3.5 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html

CareerCenter services - https://lnks.gd/2/RPnj27 are available to help people identify and take next their steps. It is a requirement that those receiving unemployment insurance benefits also be registered on the Maine JobLink, which includes a weekly newsletter for job seekers highlighting opportunities and training.

Other Updates:

Federal Unemployment Programs Extended by American Rescue Plan

On Thursday, March 11, 2021 the American Rescue Plan was signed into law by President Biden. This law includes several provisions that extend federal unemployment programs.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) extended:

  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claimants were previously eligible for up to 50 weeks of benefits. Now, they will be eligible for up to 79 weeks of benefits. The additional weeks will be added to PUA claims automatically; claimants should just continue to file their weekly claims.
  • NOTE: If a claimant previously exhausted their 50 weeks of PUA, they will be able to begin certifying again beginning Sunday, March 21, 2021. Week-ending March 20, 2021 is the first week the PUA continuation takes effect. Based on the federal law, there are no back weeks available for those who previously exhausted PUA. If someone exhausted their previous PUA benefits and has not filed a weekly claim within the last two weeks, they will need to go online to reopen their claim.
  • PUA as a whole will be extended through September 4, 2021, but claimants may exhaust their individual 79 weeks before that date.

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) extended:

  • The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program previously provided up to 24 weeks of additional benefits to claimants who exhausted their regular state Unemployment Insurance benefits. Now, it will provide up to 53 weeks through September 4, 2021.
  • If a claimant is already collecting PEUC, no additional action is needed.
  • Those who had already exhausted their previous PEUC benefits should follow the same process outlined above for those who exhausted their PUA benefits. $300 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) extended:
  • Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), which provides an additional $300 per week on top of a claimant's weekly benefit amount, has been extended through September 4, 2021.
  • Claimants will continue to receive FPUC automatically as long as they continue to file weekly claims.

Tax Relief for Unemployment Claimants:

Assistance for Employers and the State Unemployment Trust Fund:

  • Governmental entities and nonprofit organizations are relieved of 75% of the benefit costs for COVID-related unemployment claims, an increase from the 50% previously funded, through September 4, 2021.
  • Full federal funding of the first week of benefits is restored, after dropping from 100% to 50% with the previous extension, through September 4, 2021.
  • Full federal funding of benefits paid through the Workshare program, through September 4, 2021. Additional Information: - Any updates or additional information will be posted at https://www.maine.gov/unemployment

Some Claimants Starting New Benefit Year

COVID-19 has created the need for extended unemployment, and there are now a number of people who are coming to the end of their benefit year.

If an individual filed their unemployment claim a year ago, their benefit year may be expiring soon. A benefit year is the 52-week period following the date someone filed their initial claim. For example, if someone filed a claim in March 2020, their benefit year would end in March 2021 and a new one would need to be established if they are still eligible to collect benefits.

The Department will need to review these claims to determine whether someone qualifies for regular state unemployment benefits on this new benefit year, especially if they are currently collecting on one of the federal programs.

For some, a new benefit year will be automatically established. Others will receive a system prompt to file a new benefit if the prior one has expired. If someone is receiving benefits through PUA or PEUC, the system will in most cases complete the eligibility review automatically. If they do not qualify for state unemployment, they will receive a denial letter for state unemployment benefits on the new benefit year and continue to receive benefits through the federal program until they have exhausted it or the program ends.

If someone worked since they filed their claim last year, have out of state wages, Federal Civilian wages, Military wages, or have been on Workshare within the past year, their claim may require additional review to determine eligibility.

If the system prompts an individual to file a new benefit year, from their account they should navigate to "Unemployment Claim" and File Unemployment Claim to complete this process. We recommend they do so as soon as they receive the notification to avoid missing out on eligible claim weeks.

Claimants should continue to file their weekly claims for benefits, even if an eligibility review is pending. If otherwise eligible we will process all eligible pending weeks for payment once the review is completed.

MDOL Warns Public of Texting, Telegram, and Social Media Scams

The Maine Department of Labor is warning the public of scammer's attempts to phish individuals personal information via social media platforms and text messages. Scammers are creating social media pages and accounts on direct message apps such as Telegram to mimic the Maine Department of Labors and are asking people to direct message them via these fake pages for unemployment help. The Department is working with social media platforms to remove the fake pages as they pop up.

For Facebook users, look for the Departments verified blue checkmark. The Maine Department of Labor will never ask for sensitive information via social media or direct messenger.

Scammers are also texting the public asking them to click links for information about their unemployment benefits. The Maine Department of Labor does not conduct business via text.

The Department is asking the public stay vigilant, never share personal information through social media or text, and to report fake social media pages immediately.

MDOL Recommends Unemployment Claimants Call Thursdays and Fridays

If unemployment claimants have a question about their claim, the Department recommends that they call the unemployment phone line, 1-800-593-7660, between 8 am and 3 pm Monday-Friday. Call wait times continue to decrease on all days, however Thursdays and Fridays remain the days when call volume is at its lowest and usually have shorter wait times.

They can also leave a message 24/7 at https://www.maine.gov/labor/contact/index.html . They should only put in one message to avoid duplication.

Virtual Hiring Events

Employers can work with the Maine CareerCenters to hold independent virtual and drive-through hiring events. The next virtual hiring event is for Construction Trades positions on March 25 from 2-3:30 p.m. Job seekers can register by using the online form. Employers can register by contacting Leo Deon via email at leo.j.deon@maine.gov .

More information on upcoming workshops and events: https://www.mainecareercenter.gov

Fraud Update

The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims, and to evolve its fraud prevention techniques.

During the week ending March 13, the Department cancelled 417 initial claims suspected to be fraudulent.

Unemployment imposter fraud is when a person's Personally Identifiable Information, or PII, is stolen and used illegally to apply for unemployment benefits. Maine is one of many U.S. states working in close collaboration with state and federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies to investigate and prevent it.

Claimants log-in information could also be potentially obtained by criminals if someone uses the same log-in information for multiple websites and that log-in information is compromised. The Department strongly recommends that claimants use a password that is unique to their unemployment account and is not used for anything else.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/

Work Search Related Activities Requirement:

Weekly work search related activity requirements are still in effect for all unemployment claimants. The only exception is for individuals in medical quarantine due to potential COVID-19 exposure.

In response to the circumstances caused by the pandemic, the Department expanded possible work search activities to include opportunities to enhance individual's marketability during these challenging economic times.

Work search activities include: - Attending a job fair/virtual job fair hosted by a CareerCenter - Participating in CareerCenter virtual reemployment services - Participating in a CareerCenter virtual workshop - Applying for a job for which you are reasonably qualified - Interviewing for a job for which you are reasonably qualified - Contacting an employer to inquire as to whether the employer is hiring - Participating in professional job-related education or skills development - Participating in networking events related to a job or occupation for which you are reasonably qualified - Working part-time

Self-employed individuals need to attest to engaging in activities designed to fully reopen their business, or to one of the above activities.

All claimants are also required to be registered on the Maine JobLink, a free job search tool, where claimants can upload their resumes and employers can post their job openings: https://joblink.maine.gov/

People can also call their local CareerCenter to schedule a 1:1 appointment with a CareerCenter Consultant to explore work search activity options specific to the persons individual needs.

More information, videos, and answers to frequently asked questions on the work search requirement can be found at: https://www.maine.gov/labor/unemployment/

If an employer has offered work to an employee and that employee refused the work, the employer should notify the Department. A fact-finding would be held to determine if there was good cause for the refusal of work. If no good cause is determined, then the claimant would no longer be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Employers can report refusals of work here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ucbr/

Maine Department of Labor Offering Workplace Training Sessions Bookmark and Share

March 24, 2021

Maine Department of Labor Offering Workplace Training Sessions

Class registration: 1-877-SAFE 345 (1-877-723-3345) or www.safetyworksmaine.gov

SafetyWorks! can help you prevent work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths and reduce related costs. Our safety & health consultation and training services are offered at no charge and confidential and we don't issue fines or citations.

10 Hour Construction Standards

  • This 1-day course offers basic information on several of the OSHA standards for construction (29 CFR 1926). Attendees who complete the course will receive an OSHA 10-hour course completion certificate.

  • Thursday, April 1, 2021, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. SafetyWorks! Training Institute, 45 Commerce Drive, Augusta.

Trenching & Excavation

  • You will learn the dangers to employees, soil classifications, OSHA requirements, and the types of protective systems to prevent cave-ins. You will also learn what is meant by "competent person."

  • Thursday, April 8, 2021 8:30 a.m.12:30 p.m. Presque Isle Career Center, 66 Spruce St., Suite 1, Presque Isle.

Mine Safety and Health Administration: Refresher

  • The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) requires all surface mining (i.e., stone crushing, gravel pit, etc.) employees to receive eight-hour annual training. This one-day course will cover generic MSHA training. However, site-specific training will also need to be conducted once you return to your respective job sites.

  • Tuesday, April 13, 2021, 8 a.m.5 p.m. Presque Isle Career Center, 66 Spruce St, Suite 1, Presque Isle.

Lockout/Tagout

  • This training session covers the OSHA requirements and procedures to be used in the Lockout/Tagout process to ensure safety and protection during repair and maintenance of equipment.

  • Wednesday, April 14, 2021, 8:30 a.m.12:30 p.m. Presque Isle Career Center, 66 Spruce St, Suite 1, Presque Isle.

Trenching & Excavation

  • You will learn the dangers to employees, soil classifications, OSHA requirements, and the types of protective systems to prevent cave-ins. You will also learn what is meant by competent person.

  • Thursday, April 15, 2021, 8:30 a.m.12:30 p.m. Bangor Career Center, 45 Oak Street, Bangor.

Fire Extinguisher/Emergency Action Plan/Workplace Violence

  • In this class you will learn about Emergency Action Plans, including workplace violence, as well as various types of fire extinguishers and how to maintain them. This is a hands-on class. Those attending this class should come prepared to discharge a fire extinguisher.

  • Tuesday, April 20, 2021, 8:30 a.m.3:30 p.m. SafetyWorks! Training Institute, 45 Commerce Drive, Augusta.

Mine Safety and Health Administration: Refresher

  • The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) requires all surface mining (i.e., stone crushing, gravel pit, etc.) employees to receive eight-hour annual training. This one-day course will cover generic MSHA training. However, site-specific training will also need to be conducted once you return to your respective job sites.

  • Thursday April 22, 2021, 8 a.m.5 p.m. Houlton Public Works/Fire Station, 99 Military St., Houlton.

Impairment Detection Training for Employers

  • This training session is designed to help owners, managers, and supervisors recognize and respond appropriately to employee-impairment in the workplace in order to reduce worker accidents and injuries. Participants will be taught procedures to detect impairment regardless of the substance or cause. This class is designed to fulfill the federal DOT requirements for reasonable suspicion training of supervisors. In addition, participants will learn how to develop and implement policies that address impairment in the workplace and are in compliance with Maine's Substance Use Testing Law.

  • Thursday, April 22, 2021, 8:30 a.m.3:30 p.m. Bangor Career Center, 45 Oak St., Bangor.

Practical Approach to NFPA 70E

  • In this class you will learn how to protect workers from electrical hazards. NFPA 70E requirements will be discussed in laymans terms.

  • Friday, April 23, 2021, 8:30 a.m.12:30 p.m. SafetyWorks! Training Institute, 45 Commerce Drive, Augusta.

Trenching & Excavation

  • You will learn the dangers to employees, soil classifications, OSHA requirements, and the types of protective systems to prevent cave-ins. You will also learn what is meant by competent person.

  • Tuesday, April 27, 2021, 8:30 a.m.12:30 p.m. SafetyWorks! Training Institute, 45 Commerce Drive, Augusta.

Minors in the Workforce

  • This course is designed for business owners, parents, superintendents and their issuing officers. Child Labor laws can be complex. This seminar covers wage and hour laws, youth employment, including work permits, allowable work hours and hazardous occupations. It also touches on minimum wage, required posters and break requirements, and addresses commonly asked child labor-related questions.

  • Wednesday, April 28, 2021, 9 11 a.m. SafetyWorks! Training Institute, 45 Commerce Drive, Augusta.

10 Hour Construction Standards

  • This 1-day course offers basic information on several of the OSHA standards for construction (29 CFR 1926). Attendees who complete the course will receive an OSHA 10-hour course completion certificate.

  • Thursday, April 29, 2021, 8:30 a.m.4:30 p.m. and Friday, April 30, 2021, 8:30 a.m.1 p.m. SafetyWorks! Training Institute, 45 Commerce Drive, Augusta.

145 People Hired During the 2020 Maine Hire-A-Vet Campaign Bookmark and Share

March 24, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 24, 2021

145 People Hired During the 2020 Maine Hire-A-Vet Campaign

The annual campaign's goal is for 100+ employers to hire 100+ veterans during 100 days.

AUGUSTA - Final results are in, and a total of 145 veterans and military family members were hired during the 2020 Maine Hire-A-Vet Campaign! Responding to the needs of our Veteran and Military Service community, the 2020 campaign was the first one held fully virtual. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Campaign was a success.

The Maine Hire-A-Vet campaign provides support for employers to expand the hiring of veterans through a network of state and federal agencies, resources and nonprofits, education on military language and culture, recruiting and hiring assistance, and recognition for the hiring and advancement of veterans and military family members.

"Over the past year, the pandemic has caused the Department to adapt and be creative in the ways it delivered services. For the first time ever, the Hire-A-Vet Campaign was completely virtual," Commissioner Laura Fortman said. The 2020 Campaign was an integral piece of the puzzle as we focus on re-employment and transferrable skills for all job seekers.

The 2020 campaign kicked off on September 15, 2020 with a virtual hiring fair and ended on December 24, 2020.

The average hourly wage of veterans hired was $23.92, an increase of $1.14 from the 2019 campaign, and 226 employers signed on to the campaign. Fourteen of the sixteen counties in the state had veteran hires in them. Employers also sent 20 staff members to a Veteran Hiring for Employers training, which provides a Basic Training approach to aid businesses in recruiting, hiring and retaining veterans.

The five businesses that had the most hires during the 2020 campaign were Bath Iron Works/General Dynamics, Dead River Company, Northern Light Health, MaineGeneral, and the State of Maine.

2020 campaign sponsors included: Gold Sponsors General Dynamics/Bath Iron Works and Veterans Education and Transition Services; Silver Sponsors Maine Bureau of Veteran Services, Maine Department of Corrections, Northern Light Health and Destination Occupation; as well as our Bronze Sponsors Hancock Lumber, Reed & Reed, and Moody Collision Centers.

The campaign has connected nearly 900 employers with over 1,450 veteran-hires since its inception in 2015 and has been recognized as a best practice by the United States Department of Labor (USDOL) and the National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA).

The Maine Hire-A-Vet Campaign is a partnership between the Maine Department of Labor Veterans Employment Team and its CareerCenters, Boots2Roots, Easter Seals and their Veterans Count program, the Maine National Guard Employment Support Program, Maine Bureau of Veterans Services, Transition Assistance Advisors, VA Veteran Readiness and Employment, State Bureau of Rehabilitation Services along with numerous business partners throughout the state.

Learn more at https://www.mainecareercenter.gov/hireavet.shtml , and follow the campaign on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/mainehireavet .

Veterans, military family members and civilians seeking assistance in job search and training are encouraged to contact their closest Maine CareerCenter, which can be found online at https://www.mainecareercenter.gov/locations . Veterans Representatives and Career Counselors are available at each location.

The Maine Department of Labor and Maine CareerCenters are equal opportunity providers. Auxiliary aids and services are available to individuals with disabilities upon request.

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending March 20 Bookmark and Share

March 25, 2021

For Immediate Release: March 25, 2021

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending March 20

The Department has now paid out over $2 billion in unemployment benefits since March 2020.

AUGUSTA - For the week ending March 20, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 1,400 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 300 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). In total, approximately 2,500 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.

About 14,650 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 13,100 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 19,100 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

Between March 15, 2020 and March 25, 2021, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $2 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits.

The Department has handled approximately 245,300 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 110,000 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Note: Claims do not equal the number of unique unemployment claimants. There have been over 3.6 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html

CareerCenter services are available to help people identify and take next their steps. It is a requirement that those receiving unemployment insurance benefits also be registered on the Maine JobLink, which includes a weekly newsletter for job seekers highlighting opportunities and training.

Other Updates:

Virtual Hiring Events

Employers can work with the Maine CareerCenters to hold independent virtual and drive-through hiring events.

The Department has seen some great success with virtual and drive-through hiring events. For example, March 18 and 19 the Department helped hold a drive-through hiring event for Bath Iron Works, which saw over 70 job seekers drive through.

Upcoming virtual hiring event: On April 1 from 2-3 p.m., Maine CareerCenters are hosting a virtual hiring event for Government and Federal Contractor positions to include Federal, State and local municipalities. Job seekers can register by using the online form.

More information on upcoming workshops and events: https://www.mainecareercenter.gov

145 People Hired During the 2020 Maine Hire-A-Vet Campaign

Final results are in, and a total of 145 veterans and military family members were hired during the 2020 Maine Hire-A-Vet Campaign! Responding to the needs of our Veteran and Military Service community, the 2020 campaign was the first one held fully virtual.

The Maine Hire-A-Vet campaign provides support for employers to expand the hiring of veterans through a network of state and federal agencies, resources and nonprofits, education on military language and culture, recruiting and hiring assistance, and recognition for the hiring and advancement of veterans and military family members.

The 2020 campaign kicked off on September 15, 2020 with a virtual hiring fair and ended on December 24, 2020.

The average hourly wage of veterans hired was $23.92, an increase of $1.14 from the 2019 campaign, and 226 employers signed on to the campaign. Fourteen of the sixteen counties in the state had veteran hires in them. Employers also sent 20 staff members to a "Veteran Hiring for Employers" training, which provides a Basic Training approach to aid businesses in recruiting, hiring and retaining veterans.

The five businesses that had the most hires during the 2020 campaign were Bath Iron Works/General Dynamics, Dead River Company, Northern Light Health, MaineGeneral, and the State of Maine.

Learn more at https://www.mainecareercenter.gov/hireavet.shtml, and follow the campaign on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/mainehireavet .

Full press release: https://www.maine.gov/labor/news_events/article.shtml?id=4351630

MDOL Warns Public of Texting, Telegram, and Social Media Scams

The Maine Department of Labor is warning the public of scammer's attempts to phish individuals personal information via social media platforms and text messages. Scammers are creating social media pages and accounts on direct message apps such as Telegram to mimic the Maine Department of Labors and are asking people to direct message them via these fake pages for unemployment help. The Department is working with social media platforms to remove the fake pages as they pop up.

For Facebook users, look for the Departments verified blue checkmark. The Maine Department of Labor will never ask for sensitive information via social media or direct messenger.

Scammers are also texting the public asking them to click links for information about their unemployment benefits. The Maine Department of Labor does not conduct business via text.

The Department is asking the public stay vigilant, never share personal information through social media or text, and to report fake social media pages immediately.

MDOL Recommends Unemployment Claimants Call Thursdays and Fridays

If unemployment claimants have a question about their claim, the Department recommends that they call the unemployment phone line, 1-800-593-7660, between 8 am and 3 pm Monday-Friday. Call wait times continue to decrease on all days, however Thursdays and Fridays remain the days when call volume is at its lowest and usually have shorter wait times.

They can also leave a message 24/7 at https://www.maine.gov/labor/contact/index.html . They should only put in one message to avoid duplication.

Fraud Update

The U.S. Department of Labor launched a new website for people to understand unemployment insurance identity theft, and how and where to report stolen benefits if they are victims.

The new website provides key steps to help victims address issues that might arise because of previous identity theft and outlines steps to report the theft of unemployment benefits. To assist victims, the department worked closely with other federal agencies and state workforce agencies to consolidate necessary steps and resources.

The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims, and to evolve its fraud prevention techniques.

During the week ending March 20, the Department cancelled 920 initial claims and six weekly claims suspected to be fraudulent.

The Department strongly recommends that claimants use a password that is unique to their unemployment account and is not used for anything else.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/

RESEA Program for Unemployed Mainers Restarted this Month

On March 14, the Maine Department of Labor restarted the Re-Employment Services and Eligibility & Assessment (RESEA) program. RESEA is a program that provides qualifying Unemployment Insurance (UI) claimants with one-on-one coaching and relevant services to help them in their reemployment journey. The Department last offered the program from 2015-2017.

RESEA is run by MDOL's Bureau of Unemployment Compensation (BUC) and Bureau of Employment Services (BES), with the objective that claimants are unemployed for shorter amounts of time.

Services are delivered through one-on-one meetings held virtually. Selected claimants are notified of their meeting by email and a physical mailed letter.

How does the program work?

Participants are scheduled for a meeting with a skilled CareerCenter staff member for their RESEA appointment. They will work with each participant to help them get back to work faster by better navigating the job market and creating a structured reemployment plan.

What will be covered in the RESEA appointment?

During the appointment participants can expect:

  • Help in structuring a job search
  • Assistance in completing their Individual Reemployment Plan (IRP)
  • Walkthrough of labor market report
  • Receiving a targeted list of referrals to resources that can best help them get back to work - Guidance in completing their Maine JobLink profile and using the sites resources and tools

More information: https://www.maine.gov/labor/resea/

All claimants are required to be registered on the Maine JobLink, a free job search tool, where claimants can upload their resumes and employers can post their job openings: https://joblink.maine.gov/ada/r/

People can also call their local CareerCenter to schedule a 1:1 appointment with a CareerCenter Consultant to explore work search activity options specific to the persons individual needs. More information, videos, and answers to frequently asked questions on the work search requirement can be found at: https://www.maine.gov/labor/unemployment

If an employer has offered work to an employee and that employee refused the work, the employer should notify the Department. A fact-finding would be held to determine if there was good cause for the refusal of work. If no good cause is determined, then the claimant would no longer be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Employers can report refusals of work here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ucbr/

February Workforce Conditions in Maine Bookmark and Share

March 26, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 26, 2021

Contact: Glenn Mills 207-621-5192

February Workforce Conditions in Maine

AUGUSTA - Workforce conditions in Maine continued to gradually improve in February:

  • Nonfarm payroll jobs were up 2,800
  • Labor force participation was little changed at 60 percent
  • The unemployment rate was 4.8 percent

Seasonally Adjusted Estimates

Nonfarm Payroll Jobs Estimates The number of nonfarm payroll jobs increased 2,800 to 605,800 in February. Over the month job gains were primarily in the professional and business services, retail trade, and manufacturing sectors. Changes in most other sectors were small.

There were 34,200 fewer jobs than one year ago. The 5.3 percent decrease is close to the 6.2 percent national rate of net job loss. Jobs remained down 16,100 (23 percent) in the leisure and hospitality sector and 5,800 (eight percent) in public and private education, both K-12 and higher ed combined. Those two sectors, which accounted for 21 percent of jobs a year ago, experienced 64 percent of the net job loss over the year.

The number of jobs in the professional and business services, construction, and manufacturing sectors, each of which lost jobs at the beginning of the pandemic last spring, have mostly recovered. Along with federal government, each was within one percent of its level from a year ago in February.

Labor Force and Unemployment Estimates The number of unemployed decreased 2,500 to 32,500, pushing the unemployment rate down from 5.2 to 4.8 percent in February. Labor force participation was little changed at 60 percent.

Unemployment was up 1.7 percentage points and labor force participation down 2.6 points from year ago rates. If participation was as high as a year ago, the number of unemployed would be 29,400 higher and the unemployment rate would be 8.8 percent.

U.S and New England Unemployment Estimates The U.S. unemployment rate was 6.3 percent and the New England rate was 6.7 percent in February. Rates for other states in the region were 3.3 percent in New Hampshire, 3.3 percent in Vermont, 7.2 percent in Massachusetts, 7.9 percent in Rhode Island, and 8.5 percent in Connecticut.

Not Seasonally Adjusted Substate Estimates

The not seasonally adjusted statewide unemployment rate of 5.6 percent for February was up from 3.4 percent one year ago. Unemployment rates were lowest in Sagadahoc County (4.4 percent) and highest in Washington County (8.0 percent). Unemployment rates were below the statewide average in all three metro areas: Bangor (5.0 percent), Portland-South Portland (5.0 percent), and Lewiston-Auburn (5.3 percent).

March estimates will be released Friday, April 16 at 10 a.m. (Data Release Schedule - https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/releaseDates.html).

This release is available here - https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/news/release.html .

Labor force and unemployment data is available here - https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/laus1.html .

Nonfarm payroll jobs data is available here - https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ces1.html .

Monthly workforce estimates are cooperatively produced and released by the Maine Department of Labor, Center for Workforce Research and Information and the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

NOTES

  1. Preliminary seasonally-adjusted labor force estimates, including rates (labor force participation, employment, and unemployment rates), and levels (labor force, employed, and unemployed) tend to move in a direction for several months and then reverse course. Those directional trends are largely driven by a smoothing procedure and may not indicate a change in underlying workforce conditions. Annual revisions (published in March each year) tend to moderate or eliminate those directional patterns. A comparison of 2020 preliminary and revised estimates of labor force and unemployment rates, as well as nonfarm payroll jobs, is available at https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/blogs/2021workforcedata_revisions.pdf

  2. The 90 percent confidence interval for statewide unemployment rates for February is 1.0 percentage points above or below the published estimate.

  3. To assess job change, we recommend looking at nonfarm jobs from the payroll survey rather than at resident employment from the household survey. The payroll survey is larger, has smaller margins of error, and is subject to smaller revisions. A 2016 blog on the differences in accuracy of the two measures provides more context at https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/blogs/imprecise_data.pdf

  4. Nonfarm payroll jobs estimates tend to be volatile from month to month because there is variability in the sample of reporting employers and their representativeness for the universe of all employers. Additionally, seasonal adjustment is imperfect because weather, the beginning and ending of school semesters, holidays, and other events do not always occur with the same timing relative to the pay period that includes the 12th day of the month, which is the reference period. This sometimes exacerbates monthly volatility. Users should look to the trend over multiple months rather than the change from one specific month to another. Estimates for the period from April 2020 to September 2021 will be replaced with actual payroll data in March 2022. Those benchmark revisions are likely to show less volatility than preliminary estimates do.

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending March 27 Bookmark and Share

April 1, 2021

For Immediate Release: April 1, 2021

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending March 27

AUGUSTA - For the week ending March 27, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 1,600 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 400 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). In total, approximately 2,400 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.

About 14,800 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 13,500 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 18,700 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

Between March 15, 2020 and March 27, 2021, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $2 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits.

The Department has handled approximately 246,900 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 110,300 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Note: Claims do not equal the number of unique unemployment claimants. There have been over 3.6 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html

CareerCenter services - https://lnks.gd/2/Rrbpn6 are available to help people identify and take next their steps. It is a requirement that those receiving unemployment insurance benefits also be registered on the Maine JobLink, which includes a weekly newsletter for job seekers highlighting opportunities and training.

Other Updates:

Virtual Hiring Events

Employers can work with the Maine CareerCenters to hold independent virtual and drive-through hiring events.

Upcoming virtual hiring event: On April 8 from 2-4 p.m., Maine CareerCenters are hosting a virtual hiring event featuring jobs in the Medical, Medical Staffing and Home Care fields. Job seekers can register by using the online form - https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=q6g_QX0gYkubzeoajy-GTkfD6zxBq4NNk3ctLSfuvwRUOFJCUUM4S0NHTlQyVzhEMlFKUk5KVjYySi4u .

More information on upcoming workshops and events: https://www.mainecareercenter.gov .

MDOL Warns Public of Texting, "Telegram," and Social Media Scams

The Maine Department of Labor is warning the public of scammer's attempts to phish individuals personal information via social media platforms and text messages. Scammers are creating social media pages and accounts on direct message apps such as Telegram to mimic the Maine Department of Labors and are asking people to direct message them via these fake pages for unemployment help. The Department is working with social media platforms to remove the fake pages as they pop up.

For Facebook users, look for the Departments verified blue checkmark. The Maine Department of Labor will never ask for sensitive information via social media or direct messenger.

Scammers are also texting the public asking them to click links for information about their unemployment benefits. The Maine Department of Labor does not conduct business via text.

The Department is asking the public stay vigilant, never share personal information through social media or text, and to report fake social media pages immediately.

MDOL Recommends Unemployment Claimants Call Thursdays and Fridays

If unemployment claimants have a question about their claim, the Department recommends that they call the unemployment phone line, 1-800-593-7660, between 8 am and 3 pm Monday-Friday. Call wait times continue to decrease on all days, however Thursdays and Fridays remain the days when call volume is at its lowest and usually have shorter wait times.

They can also leave a message 24/7 at https://www.maine.gov/labor/contact/index.html . They should only put in one message to avoid duplication.

Fraud Update

The U.S. Department of Labor launched a new website - https://www.dol.gov/agencies/eta/UIIDtheft for people to understand unemployment insurance identity theft, and how and where to report stolen benefits if they are victims.

The new website provides key steps to help victims address issues that might arise because of previous identity theft and outlines steps to report the theft of unemployment benefits. To assist victims, the department worked closely with other federal agencies and state workforce agencies to consolidate necessary steps and resources.

The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims, and to evolve its fraud prevention techniques.

During the week ending March 27, the Department cancelled 613 initial claims and one weekly claim suspected to be fraudulent.

The Department strongly recommends that claimants use a password that is unique to their unemployment account and is not used for anything else.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/

All claimants are required to be registered on the Maine JobLink, a free job search tool, where claimants can upload their resumes and employers can post their job openings: https://joblink.maine.gov/ada/r/

People can also call their local CareerCenter to schedule a 1:1 appointment with a CareerCenter Consultant to explore work search activity options specific to the persons individual needs.

More information, videos, and answers to frequently asked questions on the work search requirement can be found at: https://www.maine.gov/labor/unemployment

If an employer has offered work to an employee and that employee refused the work, the employer should notify the Department. A fact-finding would be held to determine if there was good cause for the refusal of work. If no good cause is determined, then the claimant would no longer be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Employers can report refusals of work here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ucbr/

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending April 3 Bookmark and Share

April 8, 2021

For Immediate Release: April 8, 2021

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending April 3

AUGUSTA - For the week ending April 3, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 2,100 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 200 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). In total, approximately 3,000 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.

The increase in state unemployment initial claims is due to layoffs in Retail Trade, Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services, and Accommodations and Food Services industries as well as seasonal layoffs in Skiing and Logging industries. Part of the increase is from claimants qualifying for a new benefit year after at least a one-week break in filing a weekly claim. A claimant's benefit year is the 52-week period after they file an initial claim. For example, if someone filed their initial claim in March 2020, their benefit year would end in March 2021 and a new one would need to be established if they are eligible to collect state unemployment benefits.

About 15,200 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 13,400 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 17,800 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

Between March 15, 2020 and April 3, 2021, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $2 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits.

The Department has handled approximately 249,100 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 110,550 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Note: Claims do not equal the number of unique unemployment claimants. There have been over 3.7 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html

CareerCenter services - https://lnks.gd/2/T6PZ_n are available to help people identify and take next their steps. It is a requirement that those receiving unemployment insurance benefits also be registered on the Maine JobLink, which includes a weekly newsletter for job seekers highlighting opportunities and training.

Other Updates:

CWRI Publishes Article on Pandemics Impact on Telework

MDOLs Center for Workforce Research and Information (CWRI) has published an article titled "Maines Labor Market During the Pandemic: Impact on Telework."

This article is the third published by CWRI about Maines labor market during the pandemic. It focuses on how the pandemic has impacted telework.

The article can be found here: https://cwri1.blogspot.com/2021/04/maines-labor-market-during-pandemic.html

ReEmployME Updates for Account Security:

As part of MDOLs ongoing user experience improvement initiative and fraud prevention measures, when a claimant next updates their account details, such as their password, payment information, or contact details, they will receive a confirmation email. This is to alert them of changes made to their account and confirm that they are the ones who changed the information. If they receive the confirmation email, they do not need to contact MDOL unless they did not make these changes.

Claimants will also be asked to choose and answer a few security questions when they next log-in to file their weekly claim, as part of our ongoing fraud prevention measures.

Virtual Hiring Events

Employers can work with the Maine CareerCenters to hold independent virtual and drive-through hiring events.

Upcoming virtual hiring event: On April 15 from 2-4 p.m., Maine CareerCenters are hosting a virtual hiring event featuring jobs in the Information Technology/Telecommunications fields. Job seekers can register by using the online form. More information on upcoming workshops and events: https://www.mainecareercenter.gov

MDOL Warns Public of Texting, Telegram, and Social Media Scams

The Maine Department of Labor is warning the public of scammers attempts to phish individuals personal information via social media platforms and text messages. Scammers are creating social media pages and accounts on direct message apps such as Telegram to mimic the Maine Department of Labors and are asking people to direct message them via these fake pages for unemployment help. The Department is working with social media platforms to remove the fake pages as they pop up.

For Facebook users, look for the Departments verified blue checkmark. The Maine Department of Labor will never ask for sensitive information via social media or direct messenger.

Scammers are also texting the public asking them to click links for information about their unemployment benefits. The Maine Department of Labor does not conduct business via text.

The Department is asking the public stay vigilant, never share personal information through social media or text, and to report fake social media pages immediately.

MDOL Recommends Unemployment Claimants Call Thursdays and Fridays

If unemployment claimants have a question about their claim, the Department recommends that they call the unemployment phone line, 1-800-593-7660, between 8 am and 3 pm Monday-Friday. Call wait times continue to decrease on all days, however Thursdays and Fridays remain the days when call volume is at its lowest and usually have shorter wait times.

They can also leave a message 24/7 at https://www.maine.gov/labor/contact/index.html . They should only put in one message to avoid duplication.

Fraud Update

The U.S. Department of Labor launched a new website - https://www.dol.gov/agencies/eta/UIIDtheft for people to understand unemployment insurance identity theft, and how and where to report stolen benefits if they are victims.

The new website provides key steps to help victims address issues that might arise because of previous identity theft and outlines steps to report the theft of unemployment benefits. To assist victims, the department worked closely with other federal agencies and state workforce agencies to consolidate necessary steps and resources.

The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims, and to evolve its fraud prevention techniques.

During the week ending April 3, the Department cancelled 695 initial claims and one weekly claim suspected to be fraudulent.

The Department strongly recommends that claimants use a password that is unique to their unemployment account and is not used for anything else.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/

All claimants are required to be registered on the Maine JobLink, a free job search tool, where claimants can upload their resumes and employers can post their job openings: https://joblink.maine.gov/

People can also call their local CareerCenter to schedule a 1:1 appointment with a CareerCenter Consultant to explore work search activity options specific to the persons individual needs.

More information, videos, and answers to frequently asked questions on the work search requirement can be found at: www.maine.gov/labor/unemployment If an employer has offered work to an employee and that employee refused the work, the employer should notify the Department. A fact-finding would be held to determine if there was good cause for the refusal of work. If no good cause is determined, then the claimant would no longer be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Employers can report refusals of work here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ucbr/

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending April 10 Bookmark and Share

April 15, 2021

For Immediate Release: April 15, 2021

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending April 10

AUGUSTA - For the week ending April 10, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 2,050 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 200 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). In total, approximately 2,600 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.

About 15,100 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 13,200 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 17,900 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

Between March 15, 2020 and April 10, 2021, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $2 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits.

The Department has handled approximately 251,100 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 110,700 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Note: Claims do not equal the number of unique unemployment claimants. There have been over 3.7 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html

CareerCenter services - https://lnks.gd/2/THvwxt are available to help people identify and take their next steps to employment or training. It is a requirement that those receiving unemployment insurance benefits also be registered on the Maine JobLink, which includes a weekly newsletter for job seekers highlighting opportunities and training.

Other Updates

Routine Website Maintenance

On April 17, beginning at 10 p.m., State of Maine websites will be temporarily unavailable due to routine maintenance. It will resume normal activity by 12 a.m. Unemployment claimants will still be able to reach their ReEmployME account by entering reemployme.maine.gov in their web browser.

Patriots Day Holiday

Although the rest of state government will be closed on Monday, April 19 for the Patriots Day holiday, unemployment payments will be released as usual. The unemployment phone line, 1-800-593-7660, will be open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Staff will be able to assist claimants with the most common issues, such as:

  • new initial claims,
  • reopening claims (including after new employment),
  • weekly claims,
  • password resets, and
  • address changes

The full range of services will be available Tuesday - Friday next week.

Virtual Hiring Events

Employers can work with the Maine CareerCenters to hold independent virtual and drive-through hiring events.

Upcoming virtual hiring event: On April 28 from 9-11:30 a.m., Maine CareerCenters and the Sanford Springvale Chamber of Commerce are hosting the 10th Annual York County Job Fair, for jobs in the Hospitality Sector. Job seekers can register by using this online form .

More information on upcoming workshops and events: https://www.mainecareercenter.gov

MDOL Warns Public of Texting, "Telegram," and Social Media Scams

The Maine Department of Labor is warning the public of scammer's attempts to phish individuals personal information via social media platforms and text messages. Scammers are creating social media pages and accounts on direct message apps such as Telegram to mimic the Maine Department of Labors and are asking people to direct message them via these fake pages for unemployment help. The Department is working with social media platforms to remove the fake pages as they pop up.

For Facebook users, look for the Departments verified blue checkmark. The Maine Department of Labor will never ask for sensitive information via social media or direct messenger.

Scammers are also texting the public asking them to click links for information about their unemployment benefits. The Maine Department of Labor does not conduct business via text.

The Department is asking the public stay vigilant, never share personal information through social media or text, and to report fake social media pages immediately.

MDOL Recommends Unemployment Claimants Call Thursdays and Fridays

If unemployment claimants have a question about their claim, the Department recommends that they call the unemployment phone line, 1-800-593-7660, between 8 am and 3 pm Monday-Friday. Call wait times continue to decrease on all days, however Thursdays and Fridays remain the days when call volume is at its lowest and usually have shorter wait times.

They can also leave a message 24/7 at https://www.maine.gov/labor/contact/index.html . They should only put in one message to avoid duplication.

Fraud Update

The U.S. Department of Labor launched anew website for people to understand unemployment insurance identity theft, and how and where to report stolen benefits if they are victims.

The new website provides key steps to help victims address issues that might arise because of previous identity theft and outlines steps to report the theft of unemployment benefits. To assist victims, the department worked closely with other federal agencies and state workforce agencies to consolidate necessary steps and resources.

The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims, and to evolve its fraud prevention techniques.

During the week ending April 10, the Department cancelled 380 initial claims and three weekly claims suspected to be fraudulent.

The Department strongly recommends that claimants use a password that is unique to their unemployment account and is not used for anything else.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/

All claimants are required to be registered on the Maine JobLink, a free job search tool, where claimants can upload their resumes and employers can post their job openings: https://joblink.maine.gov/job_seeker

People can also call their local CareerCenter to schedule a 1:1 appointment with a CareerCenter Consultant to explore work search activity options specific to the persons individual needs.

More information, videos, and answers to frequently asked questions on the work search requirement can be found at: https://www.maine.gov/labor/unemployment

If an employer has offered work to an employee and that employee refused the work, the employer should notify the Department. A fact-finding would be held to determine if there was good cause for the refusal of work. If no good cause is determined, then the claimant would no longer be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Employers can report refusals of work here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ucbr/

Maine Department of Labor awarded $382K grant to promote, enhance WorkShare Program Bookmark and Share

April 20, 2021

For Immediate Release: April 20, 2021

Maine Department of Labor awarded $382K grant to promote, enhance WorkShare Program

The Workshare Program helps employers avoid layoffs and keep workers employed.

AUGUSTA - The Maine Department of Labor has been awarded a $382,579 grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to promote and enhance its Short-Time Compensation program, known as Workshare is an unemployment program designed to help employers avoid layoffs by allowing groups of workers to receive partial unemployment benefit payments while their employer reduces their hours.

"This grant will help the Department provide outreach to employers about Maine's WorkShare program and also provides funds to implement enhancements to the program that both employees and employers have requested," Commissioner Laura Fortman said. WorkShare can be used both to prevent layoffs and to recall workers who had been temporarily laid off from the business. This program has significant benefits for both employees and employers and is one tool to help support efforts to jump-start Maines economy.

The Maine Department of Labor will use the grant funds to raise awareness of the WorkShare program and its benefits, increase participation, and streamline reporting by participating employers and workers to MDOLs Bureau of Unemployment Compensation.

The grant, funded by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act of 2020, is part of up to $100 million in funding available to states for the implementation or improved administration of a Short-Time Compensation program. In addition, states may use funds to promote the program and enroll employers.

More information about Maines WorkShare program can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/workshare/

The U.S. Department of Labors press release can be found here: https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/eta/eta20210416

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending April 17 Bookmark and Share

April 22, 2021

For Immediate Release: April 22, 2021

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending April 17

AUGUSTA - For the week ending April 17, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 1,700 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 100 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). In total, approximately 2,000 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.

About 14,400 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 13,200 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 17,400 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

Between March 15, 2020 and April 17, 2021, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $2.1 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits.

The Department has handled approximately 252,800 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 110,900 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Note: Claims do not equal the number of unique unemployment claimants. There have been over 3.8 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html

CareerCenter services - https://lnks.gd/2/TVLBRv are available to help people identify and take their next steps to employment or training. It is a requirement that those receiving unemployment insurance benefits also be registered on the Maine JobLink, which includes a weekly newsletter for job seekers highlighting opportunities and training.

Other Updates

Routine ReEmployME Website Maintenance

On April 22, ReEmployME will undergo regularly scheduled maintenance from approximately 7:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. ReEmployMe online accounts, filing, and the automated phone system will be temporarily unavailable during this time.

Partial Unemployment Benefit Calculator

Did you know that it is possible to accept temporary part-time work without losing all of your unemployment benefits? As long as the claimant continues to meet their responsibilities for receiving benefits, they may be able to earn wages from part-time work and still collect a partial benefit. We have a new tool on our website that can help calculate how many hours a week someone could work and still collect partial benefits based on their weekly earnings. The calculator can be found on the below webpage, under "Looking for work?" https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/

Maine Department of Labor awarded $382K grant to promote, enhance WorkShare Program

MDOL has been awarded a $382,579 grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to promote and enhance its Short-Time Compensation program, known as Workshare is an unemployment program designed to help employers avoid layoffs by allowing groups of workers to receive partial unemployment benefit payments while their employer reduces their hours. "This grant will help the Department provide outreach to employers about Maine's WorkShare program and also provides funds to implement enhancements to the program that both employees and employers have requested," Commissioner Laura Fortman said. WorkShare can be used both to prevent layoffs and to recall workers who had been temporarily laid off from the business. This program has significant benefits for both employees and employers and is one tool to help support efforts to jump-start Maine's economy. The Maine Department of Labor will use the grant funds to raise awareness of the WorkShare program and its benefits, increase participation, and streamline reporting by participating employers and workers to MDOLs Bureau of Unemployment Compensation. The grant, funded by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act of 2020, is part of up to $100 million in funding available to states for the implementation or improved administration of a Short-Time Compensation program. In addition, states may use funds to promote the program and enroll employers. More information about Maines WorkShare program can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/workshare/ The U.S. Department of Labors press release can be found here: https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/eta/eta20210416

Virtual Hiring Events

Employers can work with the Maine CareerCenters to hold independent virtual and drive-through hiring events. Upcoming virtual hiring event: On April 28 from 9-11:30 a.m., Maine CareerCenters and the Sanford Springvale Chamber of Commerce are hosting the 10th Annual York County Job Fair, for jobs in the Hospitality Sector. Job seekers can register by using this online form.
More information on upcoming workshops and events: https://www.mainecareercenter.gov

MDOL Warns Public of Texting, Telegram, and Social Media Scams

The Maine Department of Labor is warning the public of scammers attempts to phish individuals personal information via social media platforms and text messages. Scammers are creating social media pages and accounts on direct message apps such as Telegram to mimic the Maine Department of Labors and are asking people to direct message them via these fake pages for unemployment help. The Department is working with social media platforms to remove the fake pages as they pop up.

For Facebook users, look for the Departments verified blue checkmark. The Maine Department of Labor will never ask for sensitive information via social media or direct messenger. Scammers are also texting the public asking them to click links for information about their unemployment benefits. The Maine Department of Labor does not conduct business via text. The Department is asking the public stay vigilant, never share personal information through social media or text, and to report fake social media pages immediately.

MDOL Recommends Unemployment Claimants Call Thursdays and Fridays

If unemployment claimants have a question about their claim, the Department recommends that they call the unemployment phone line, 1-800-593-7660, between 8 am and 3 pm Monday-Friday. Call wait times continue to decrease on all days, however Thursdays and Fridays remain the days when call volume is at its lowest and usually have shorter wait times. They can also leave a message 24/7 at https://www.maine.gov/labor/contact/index.html . They should only put in one message to avoid duplication.

Fraud Update

The U.S. Department of Labor launched a new website for people to understand unemployment insurance identity theft, and how and where to report stolen benefits if they are victims.

The new website provides key steps to help victims address issues that might arise because of previous identity theft and outlines steps to report the theft of unemployment benefits. To assist victims, the department worked closely with other federal agencies and state workforce agencies to consolidate necessary steps and resources.

The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims, and to evolve its fraud prevention techniques.

During the week ending April 17, the Department cancelled 1,278 initial claims and three weekly claims suspected to be fraudulent.

The Department strongly recommends that claimants use a password that is unique to their unemployment account and is not used for anything else.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/

All claimants are required to be registered on the Maine JobLink, a free job search tool, where claimants can upload their resumes and employers can post their job openings: https://joblink.maine.gov/job_seeker

People can also call their local CareerCenter to schedule a 1:1 appointment with a CareerCenter Consultant to explore work search activity options specific to the persons individual needs.

More information, videos, and answers to frequently asked questions on the work search requirement can be found at: https://www.maine.gov/labor/unemployment

If an employer has offered work to an employee and that employee refused the work, the employer should notify the Department. A fact-finding would be held to determine if there was good cause for the refusal of work. If no good cause is determined, then the claimant would no longer be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Employers can report refusals of work here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ucbr/

Maine Dept. of Labor awarded over $800,000 to support efforts to return unemployed to workforce more quickly Bookmark and Share

April 22, 2021

For Immediate Release: April 22, 2021

Maine Dept. of Labor awarded over $800,000 to support efforts to return unemployed to workforce more quickly

AUGUSTA - Maine has been awarded $823,061 from the U.S. Department of Labor to operate its Reemployment Services and Eligibility Assessments (RESEA) program. The grant is part of more than $146 million awarded to workforce agencies in 48 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia.

The Maine Department of Labor restarted its RESEA program on March 14, 2021. RESEA is a program that provides qualifying Unemployment Insurance (UI) claimants with one-on-one coaching and relevant services to help them in their reemployment journey. The Department last offered the program from 2015-2017.

"We know that the pandemic has created unique challenges, especially for those who have lost their jobs or are searching for a new career," Commissioner Laura Fortman said. The RESEA program is one of many tools that the Department is using to connect people to new job and training opportunities and help them develop an individualized plan to achieve their career goals.

RESEA is run by MDOL's Bureau of Unemployment Compensation (BUC) and Bureau of Employment Services (BES), with the objective of reducing periods of unemployment by helping claimants find new, long-term employment quicker. Services are delivered through one-on-one meetings held virtually.

The RESEA program is a valuable tool that connects Mainers with resources to achieve their employment goals, Andrew Robinson, RESEA Program Manager, said. Each RESEA session is tailored to meet the customers needs. Participants who have recently completed the RESEA program rated their overall satisfaction with the experience a 4.67 out of 5, and we will continue to connect with more people as the program grows.

RESEA is a program focused on individualized assessments, reemployment services and referrals to support an individual who is receiving unemployment benefits return to work more quickly. It is one of many tools Maine has to introduce workers receiving unemployment benefits to services the broader workforce system provides.

More information on Maines RESEA program: https://www.maine.gov/labor/resea/ U.S. DOLs press release can be found here: https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/eta/eta20210421

Maine Senate Confirms New Members to Maine's State Workforce Board Bookmark and Share

April 23, 2021

For Immediate Release: April 23, 2021

Maine Senate Confirms New Members to Maine's State Workforce Board

AUGUSTA - The Maine Senate confirmed five nominees to the State Workforce Board (SWB) in a vote held late Thursday afternoon. These five new SWB members, nominated by Governor Mills, are Adria Horn of Pittston, Allyson Coombs of Brunswick, The Honorable John Patrick of Rumford, Meryl Fogg Ryan of Falmouth, and Vaughan Woodruff of Pittsfield.

"With yesterdays confirmation vote by the Maine Senate, the State Workforce Board has gained five experienced leaders who will work to address the pressing needs of Maine employers and workers for a skilled workforce in high demand jobs," said MDOL Commissioner Laura Fortman. These five individuals are qualified, and well respected in their fields. I am confident their expertise will be beneficial to the Workforce Development Board as it tackles the important work ahead.

Adria Horn serves as the Vice President of Workforce at Tilson Technology Management, a high growth, Maine-based national company on a mission to build America's information infrastructure. Adria graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York in 2001 and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army Military Police Corps and served in various positions as both a Military Police Officer and a Psychological Operations Officer. She deployed five times in support of the Global War on Terror. Still serving, Adria is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army Reserves. She holds an MBA from Northeastern University.

Allyson Coombs serves as the Director of HR Services at Bath Iron Works. She has over 20 years of human resources experience working in various manufacturing and construction market sectors including marine, transportation, power generation, industrial, and ransmission & distribution, and has extensive knowledge of human resource activities, specifically project staffing, recruiting, training and EEO compliance. Allyson received a B.S. in Business Administration with a concentration in HR Management from the University of Southern New Hampshire.

The Honorable John Patrick served as a member of the Maine House of Representatives and the Maine Senate for 14 years. Prior to his first election in 2000, John worked for 29 years as a journeymen mechanic in the NewPage Paper Mill in Rumford. While working as a journeyman mechanic, Patrick eventually became President of the United Paperworkers Union Local 900, the mill's union. He also served on the board of directors of the Maine AFL-CIO. Patrick graduated from Mexico High School in 1972.

Meryl Fogg serves as a Vice President at Grand Rounds Health, where she is responsible for leading all aspects of member care. Prior to Grand Rounds, Meryl worked at J.P. Morgan where she was responsible for growing and scaling teams in support of global regulatory change for the Cleared Derivatives business. She started her career at UBS gaining experience in Process Re-engineering and Program Management. Meryl has a BA in History from Davidson College and a Postgraduate Certificate in International Business Practice from Cambridge University.

Vaughn Woodruff is the Owner and Founder of Insource Renewables. Insource, which Vaughn founded in 2012 and expanded to a 20 person staff by early 2020, provides design, installation, and service of residential, commercial, and municipal solar energy, heat pump, and energy storage systems. From 2014-2019, Woodruff oversaw a nearly 900% increase in revenues while increasing the quality of work provided by the firm. He directly oversees the companys business development efforts and supervises management of the financial and operations teams. In 2019, Vaughn worked with employees to convert the business to a worker cooperative. Under Woodruffs leadership, Insource became the tenth solar company in North America to earn the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP), the most respected, well-established and widely recognized certification organization for professionals in the field of renewable energy. In 2019, Insource was recognized as a Best for the World Company for its treatment of workers. Vaughn received his B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Maine and his M.A. Education from Prescott College.

The State Workforce Board (SWB) is an employer-led board whose purpose is to ensure that Maines workforce development system helps Maine people and businesses compete successfully in the global economy. The SWB advises the Governor on workforce policy and the development and evaluation of the Workforce Development System (WDS), which includes other state agencies such as Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services along with the Community College System, University of Maine System and employers.

Maine Dept. of Labor to Begin Accepting Applications for Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation Program Bookmark and Share

April 27, 2021

AUGUSTA - The Maine Department of Labor will begin accepting applications for the new Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation Program (MEUC) on April 29, 2021.

The MEUC program was created by the Continued Assistance for Unemployed Workers Act of 2020 and provides a $100 supplemental benefit to certain individuals who had both employment and self-employment prior to becoming unemployed during the pandemic. The program is payable for weeks ending January 2, 2021 through September 4, 2021.

The program is intended for claimants who had at least $5,000 in net self-employment income, however qualified for state unemployment insurance benefits resulting in their self-employment income not being included in their benefit calculation. Individuals receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) are not eligible for MEUC benefits because their self-employment income has already been taken into consideration.

Payments to eligible claimants will be retroactive. If eligible, claimants would receive MEUC for each week January 2 through September 4, 2021 for which they received unemployment benefits.

An individual must be eligible to receive at least one dollar ($1) of underlying unemployment benefits for the claimed week to receive the full $100 MEUC for that week.

How individuals can apply:

Those who may be eligible for the program will be notified with instructions on how to apply through the mail and in their account correspondence.

They can then:

  • Log into their account at https://www.maine.gov/reemployme
  • Select MEUC Application then Apply for MEUC
  • Complete application and click on Upload Proof on MEUC Proof of Earnings page.

Individuals who apply for MEUC are required to submit documentation showing their self-employment income in order for MDOL to determine eligibility. This documentation must be submitted to the Department by November 3, 2021.

The documentation must show net self-employment income of at least $5,000 during the most recent taxable year in which you filed your unemployment claim.

Acceptable documentation of self-employment income could include, but is not limited to:

income tax return for the most recent taxable year ending prior to their application for unemployment compensation

  • pay-check stubs
  • bank receipts
  • business records
  • ledgers
  • signed contracts
  • invoices
  • billing statements

More information and FAQS will be added to our website: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending April 24 Bookmark and Share

April 29, 2021

For Immediate Release: April 29, 2021

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending April 24

AUGUSTA - For the week ending April 24, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 1,700 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 150 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). In total, approximately 1,850 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.

About 13,700 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 13,000 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 17,200 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

Between March 15, 2020 and April 24, 2021, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $2.1 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits.

The Department has handled approximately 254,500 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 111,000 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Note: Claims do not equal the number of unique unemployment claimants. There have been over 3.8 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html

CareerCenter services are available to help people identify and take their next steps to employment or training. It is a requirement that those receiving unemployment insurance benefits also be registered on the Maine JobLink, which includes a weekly newsletter for job seekers highlighting opportunities and training.

Other Updates:

Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation Program

The Maine Department of Labor will begin accepting applications for the new Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation Program (MEUC) on April 29, 2021.

The MEUC program was created by the Continued Assistance for Unemployed Workers Act of 2020 and provides a $100 supplemental benefit to certain individuals who had both employment and self-employment prior to becoming unemployed during the pandemic. The program is payable for weeks ending January 2, 2021 through September 4, 2021.

The program is intended for claimants who had at least $5,000 in net self-employment income, however qualified for state unemployment insurance benefits resulting in their self-employment income not being included in their benefit calculation. Individuals receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) are not eligible for MEUC benefits because their self-employment income has already been taken into consideration.

Payments to eligible claimants will be retroactive. If eligible, claimants would receive MEUC for each week January 2 through September 4, 2021 for which they received unemployment benefits.

An individual must be eligible to receive at least one dollar ($1) of underlying unemployment benefits for the claimed week to receive the full $100 MEUC for that week.

How individuals can apply:

Those who may be eligible for the program will be notified with instructions on how to apply through the mail and in their account correspondence.

Individuals who apply for MEUC are required to submit documentation showing their self-employment income in order for MDOL to determine eligibility. This documentation must be submitted to the Department by November 3, 2021.

The documentation must show net self-employment income of at least $5,000 during the most recent taxable year in which you filed your unemployment claim.

Acceptable documentation of self-employment income could include, but is not limited to:

  • income tax return for the most recent taxable year ending prior to their application for unemployment compensation
  • pay-check stubs
  • bank receipts
  • business records
  • ledgers
  • signed contracts
  • invoices
  • billing statements

More information and FAQS will be added to our website: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment

Maine Dept. of Labor awarded over $800,000 to support efforts to return unemployed to workforce more quickly

Maine has been awarded $823,061 from the U.S. Department of Labor to operate its Reemployment Services and Eligibility Assessments (RESEA) program. The grant is part of more than $146 million awarded to workforce agencies in 48 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia.

The Maine Department of Labor restarted its RESEA program on March 14, 2021. RESEA is a program that provides qualifying Unemployment Insurance (UI) claimants with one-on-one coaching and relevant services to help them in their reemployment journey. The Department last offered the program from 2015-2017.

RESEA is run by MDOL's Bureau of Unemployment Compensation (BUC) and Bureau of Employment Services (BES), with the objective of reducing periods of unemployment by helping claimants find new, long-term employment quicker. Services are delivered through one-on-one meetings held virtually.

RESEA is a program focused on individualized assessments, reemployment services and referrals to support an individual who is receiving unemployment benefits return to work more quickly. It is one of many tools Maine has to introduce workers receiving unemployment benefits to services the broader workforce system provides.

More information on Maines RESEA program: https://www.maine.gov/labor/resea/

U.S. DOLs press release can be found here: https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/eta/eta20210421

Partial Unemployment Benefit Calculator

Did you know that it is possible to accept temporary part-time work without losing all of your unemployment benefits? As long as the claimant continues to meet their responsibilities for receiving benefits, they may be able to earn wages from part-time work and still collect a partial benefit.

We have a new tool on our website that can help calculate how many hours a week someone could work and still collect partial benefits based on their weekly earnings. The calculator can be found on the below webpage, under "Looking for work?" https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/

Virtual Hiring Events

Employers can work with the Maine CareerCenters to hold independent virtual and drive-through hiring events.

Upcoming virtual hiring event: On April 29 from 2-4 p.m., Maine CareerCenters are hosting a virtual job fair for jobs in the Part-Time/Flex Jobs/ Remote Work/Work from Home Jobs fields.

The following employers will be a part of this event:

  • ABC Behave LLC
  • Associates for Training and Development
  • Camp Nashoba
  • FEDEX Ground
  • Maine Health -Schooner Estates
  • Sea Coast Management
  • U-Haul
  • United Ground Express
  • Walgreens
  • Woodfords Family Services

Job seekers can register by using this online form.

More information on upcoming workshops and events: https://www.mainecareercenter.gov

MDOL Recommends Unemployment Claimants Call Thursdays and Fridays

If unemployment claimants have a question about their claim, the Department recommends that they call the unemployment phone line, 1-800-593-7660, between 8 am and 3 pm Monday-Friday. Call wait times continue to decrease on all days, however Thursdays and Fridays remain the days when call volume is at its lowest and usually have shorter wait times.

They can also leave a message 24/7 at https://www.maine.gov/labor/contact/index.html. They should only put in one message to avoid duplication.

Fraud Update

The U.S. Department of Labor launched a new website for people to understand unemployment insurance identity theft, and how and where to report stolen benefits if they are victims.

The new website provides key steps to help victims address issues that might arise because of previous identity theft and outlines steps to report the theft of unemployment benefits. To assist victims, the department worked closely with other federal agencies and state workforce agencies to consolidate necessary steps and resources.

The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims, and to evolve its fraud prevention techniques.

During the week ending April 24, the Department cancelled 367 initial claims and two weekly claims suspected to be fraudulent.

The Department strongly recommends that claimants use a password that is unique to their unemployment account and is not used for anything else.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/

All claimants are required to be registered on the Maine JobLink, a free job search tool, where claimants can upload their resumes and employers can post their job openings: https://joblink.maine.gov/

People can also call their local CareerCenter to schedule a 1:1 appointment with a CareerCenter Consultant to explore work search activity options specific to the persons individual needs.

More information, videos, and answers to frequently asked questions on the work search requirement can be found at: https://www.maine.gov/labor/unemployment

If an employer has offered work to an employee and that employee refused the work, the employer should notify the Department. A fact-finding would be held to determine if there was good cause for the refusal of work. If no good cause is determined, then the claimant would no longer be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Employers can report refusals of work here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ucbr/

Some Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Claimants will Need to Provide Proof of ID and All Will Need to Provide Proof of Employment Bookmark and Share

May 5, 2021

For Immediate Release: May 5, 2021

Some Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Claimants will Need to Provide Proof of ID and All Will Need to Provide Proof of Employment

AUGUSTA - The federal Continued Assistance for Unemployed Workers Act of 2020 requires that the Maine Department of Labor verify the identity of all new PUA applicants before the claim is processed. It is also a federal requirement that PUA recipients provide proof of employment. MDOL will be sending out letters to PUA claimants who have not yet been asked to provide this information.

What do claimants need to know?

  • If they need to provide ID verification or employment verification, they will receive a letter in the mail and in their account correspondence with instructions.

ID Verification:

  • Claimants will need to provide two forms of identification one must be a government issued photo ID
  • Log into maine.gov, select "Upload documents for identity verification"
  • Experienced ID verification staff will review the documents in the order that they are received. Once a claimant's identity is verified, the hold on their claim will be released and payment will be sent within 7-14 days, as long as there are no other eligibility issues.

Employment Verification:

Claimants who must provide proof of employment will receive a 'Request for Proof of Employment letter with either a 21-day or a 90-day deadline.

  • Per the instructions, log into maine.gov, and select Provide PUA Proof of Employment prior to the deadline date provided in the correspondence.
  • Failure to respond to this request may lead to a denial of benefits starting with the week ending January 2, 2021 and may result in an overpayment of benefits received since that time.

Acceptable documentation to provide proof of employment are:

In general:

  • paycheck stubs
  • earnings and leave statements showing the employers name and address
  • W-2 forms when available

Proof of self-employment:

  • State or Federal employer identification numbers
  • business licenses
  • tax returns
  • business receipts
  • signed affidavits from persons verifying the individuals self-employment

Proof of employment with organizations such as the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, and educational or religious organizations:

  • documentation provided by these organizations and signed affidavits from persons verifying the individuals attachment to such organizations (could be contract, etc.)

Proof of the planned commencement of employment:

  • letters offering employment, statements/affidavits by individuals (with name and contact I-11 information) verifying an offer of employment

Proof of the planned commencement of self-employment:

  • business licenses
  • state or Federal employer identification numbers

More information and walk-through guides of how to upload ID and proof of employment documents are available on the website: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment

If someone receives correspondence from the Department about unemployment and did not file an unemployment claim, they should report this to us immediately at https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/fraud

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending May 1 Bookmark and Share

May 6, 2021

For Immediate Release: May 6, 2021

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending May 1

AUGUSTA - For the week ending May 1, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 1,400 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 300 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). In total, approximately 1,600 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.

About 13,550 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 13,200 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 17,100 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

Between March 15, 2020 and May 1, 2021, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $2.1 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits.

The Department has handled approximately 255,900 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 111,300 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Note: Claims do not equal the number of unique unemployment claimants. There have been over 3.8 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html

CareerCenter services are available to help people identify and take their next steps to employment or training. It is a requirement that those receiving unemployment insurance benefits also be registered on the Maine JobLink, which includes a weekly newsletter for job seekers highlighting opportunities and training.

Other Updates:

Some Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Claimants will Need to Provide Proof of ID and All Will Need to Provide Proof of Employment

The federal Continued Assistance for Unemployed Workers Act of 2020 requires that the Maine Department of Labor verify the identity of all new PUA applicants before the claim is processed. It is also a federal requirement that PUA recipients provide proof of employment. MDOL will be sending out letters to PUA claimants who have not yet been asked to provide this information.

More information and walk-through guides of how to upload ID and proof of employment documents are available on the website: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/puaemployment/

Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation Program

The Maine Department of Labor began accepting applications for the new Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation Program (MEUC) on April 29, 2021.

The MEUC program was created by the Continued Assistance for Unemployed Workers Act of 2020 and provides a $100 supplemental benefit to certain individuals who had both employment and self-employment prior to becoming unemployed during the pandemic. The program is payable for weeks ending January 2, 2021 through September 4, 2021.

The program is intended for claimants who had at least $5,000 in net self-employment income, however qualified for state unemployment insurance benefits resulting in their self-employment income not being included in their benefit calculation. Individuals receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) are not eligible for MEUC benefits because their self-employment income has already been taken into consideration.

More information and FAQS are available on our website: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment

Virtual Hiring Events

Employers can work with the Maine CareerCenters to hold independent virtual and drive-through hiring events.

Upcoming virtual hiring events: Over the next couple of weeks, Maine CareerCenters are hosting a series of virtual hiring fairs for jobs in the Hospitality Sector across the state.

  • Southern Midcoast: May 11 from 2-4 p.m.
  • Greater Central/Western Maine: May 12 from 2-4 p.m.
  • Northeastern: May 21 from 2-4 p.m.

Job seekers can register for any of these hiring fairs by using this online form.

More information on upcoming workshops and events: https://www.mainecareercenter.gov

MDOL Recommends Unemployment Claimants Call Thursdays and Fridays

If unemployment claimants have a question about their claim, the Department recommends that they call the unemployment phone line, 1-800-593-7660, between 8 am and 3 pm Monday-Friday. Call wait times continue to decrease on all days, however Thursdays and Fridays remain the days when call volume is at its lowest and usually have shorter wait times.

They can also leave a message 24/7 at https://www.maine.gov/labor/contact/index.html . They should only put in one message to avoid duplication.

Fraud Update

The U.S. Department of Labor launched a new website for people to understand unemployment insurance identity theft, and how and where to report stolen benefits if they are victims.

The new website provides key steps to help victims address issues that might arise because of previous identity theft and outlines steps to report the theft of unemployment benefits. To assist victims, the department worked closely with other federal agencies and state workforce agencies to consolidate necessary steps and resources.

The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims, and to evolve its fraud prevention techniques.

During the week ending May 1, the Department cancelled 342 initial claims and one weekly claim suspected to be fraudulent.

The Department strongly recommends that claimants use a password that is unique to their unemployment account and is not used for anything else.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/

All claimants are required to be registered on the Maine JobLink, a free job search tool, where claimants can upload their resumes and employers can post their job openings: https://joblink.maine.gov/

People can also call their local CareerCenter to schedule a 1:1 appointment with a CareerCenter Consultant to explore work search activity options specific to the person's individual needs.

More information, videos, and answers to frequently asked questions on the work search requirement can be found at: https://www.maine.gov/labor/unemployment

If an employer has offered work to an employee and that employee refused the work, the employer should notify the Department. A fact-finding would be held to determine if there was good cause for the refusal of work. If no good cause is determined, then the claimant would no longer be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Employers can report refusals of work here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ucbr/

Maine Department of Labor Tightens Work Search Requirement Bookmark and Share

May 6, 2021

For Immediate Release: May 6, 2021

Maine Department of Labor Tightens Work Search Requirement

AUGUSTA - The Maine Department of Labor announced today that it is tightening work search requirements for people on unemployment, reinstating the traditional work search requirements as of Sunday, May 23, 2021. Maine had temporarily expanded the types of activities that would meet the work search requirement, adjusting to sudden closings, health concerns, school, childcare and other issues brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.

"Thousands of Maine people lost their jobs during the pandemic, through no fault of their own. Now it is our goal to get them back to work," said Laura Fortman, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Labor. With vaccines more widely available, and with businesses re-opened now and in need of help - especially with the busy tourism season approaching, we want people to rejoin the workforce, earn a living and aid in our state's economic recovery.

Work search requirements had been relaxed because of the pandemic to include job-related education or skills development, and networking. Now people receiving unemployment will be required to actively look for work and to accept positions for which they are reasonably qualified. A refusal to accept an offer of suitable work is grounds for disqualifying a person for benefits.

The regional CareerCenters of the Department of Labor will assist people to connect with jobs by hosting job fairs, offering job workshops and reemployment services.

In addition, Commissioner Fortman pointed out, in many cases, people receiving unemployment benefits can go back to work part-time and still retain the $300 weekly stipend offered by Congress through this summer. A new online tool offered by the Department will calculate how many hours a week a person can work and still collect partial benefits, including the $300 stipend, based on weekly earnings. The tool is found HERE under Looking for work?

Those who were self-employed and now receiving unemployment must attest to engaging in activities designed to fully reopen their business, such as connecting with theOffice of Business Developmentto explore the resources available to small businesses. If an individual was previously self-employed but has no plans to return to self-employment, they will be required to do a work search and accept a position for which they are reasonably qualified.

Whether or not currently unemployed, people looking for work should visit Maine JobLink, to find thousands of jobs posted, including remote work. Employers can post their jobs by registering with the Maine JobLink.

CareerCenters host a variety of job fairs as well as one-on-one meetings with a consultant, to develop employment or training plans. The CareerCenter can be reached by email at MaineDOL.CareerCenter@maine.gov, by phone at 207-623-7981, or by live-chat at https://www.MaineCareerCenter.gov .

Employers who have tried to recall employees or have made job offers that have been declined can report those refusals HERE. The Department will determine whether the individual is receiving unemployment benefits, and, if so, determine whether they should remain eligible.

Employers can also participate in the WorkShare program, which is designed to help employers avoid layoffs by allowing groups of workers to receive partial unemployment benefit payments while their employer reduces their hours. The employees are then subject to being called back when work expands.

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending May 8 Bookmark and Share

May 13, 2021

For Immediate Release: May 13, 2021

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending May 8

AUGUSTA - For the week ending May 8, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 1,300 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 100 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). In total, approximately 1,600 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.

About 12,300 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 12,900 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 16,900 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

Between March 15, 2020 and May 8, 2021, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $2.17 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits.

The Department has handled approximately 257,200 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 111,400 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Note: Claims do not equal the number of unique unemployment claimants. There have been over 3.9 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html

Work Search Requirement: On Sunday, May 23, 2021, the Maine Department of Labor is tightening work search requirements for people receiving unemployment, reinstating the traditional work search requirement. Maine had temporarily expanded the types of activities that would meet the work search requirement, adjusting to sudden closings, health concerns, school, childcare and other issues brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.

Work search requirements had been relaxed because of the pandemic to include job-related education or skills development, and networking. Now people receiving unemployment will be required to actively look for work and to accept positions for which they are reasonably qualified. A refusal to accept an offer of suitable work is grounds for disqualifying a person for benefits.

In many cases, people receiving unemployment benefits can go back to work part-time and still retain the weekly $300 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) stipend. A new online tool offered by the Department will calculate how many hours a week a person can work and still collect partial benefits, including the $300 stipend, based on weekly earnings. The tool is found on the MDOL Unemployment website under "Looking for work?"

CareerCenter services are available to help people identify and take their next steps to employment or training. It is a requirement that those receiving unemployment insurance benefits also be registered on the Maine JobLink, which includes a weekly newsletter for job seekers highlighting opportunities and training.

Other Updates:

CWRI Publishes New Article: Job Outlook to 2028 by Educational Requirement

MDOL's Center for Workforce Research and Information has published a new article titled Job Outlook to 2028 by Educational Requirement.

The article can be found here: https://cwri1.blogspot.com/2021/05/job-outlook-to-2028-by-educational.html

Maine Department of Labor Tightens Work Search Requirement

The Maine Department of Labor is tightening work search requirements for people on unemployment, reinstating the traditional work search requirements as of Sunday, May 23, 2021. Maine had temporarily expanded the types of activities that would meet the work search requirement, adjusting to sudden closings, health concerns, school, childcare and other issues brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.

Work search requirements had been relaxed because of the pandemic to include job-related education or skills development, and networking. Now people receiving unemployment will be required to actively look for work and to accept positions for which they are reasonably qualified. A refusal to accept an offer of suitable work is grounds for disqualifying a person for benefits.

The regional CareerCenters of the Department of Labor will assist people to connect with jobs by hosting job fairs, offering job workshops and reemployment services.

In many cases, people receiving unemployment benefits can go back to work part-time and still retain the $300 weekly stipend offered by Congress through this summer. A new online tool offered by the Department will calculate how many hours a week a person can work and still collect partial benefits, including the $300 stipend, based on weekly earnings. The tool is found on the MDOL Unemployment website under Looking for work?

Those who were self-employed and now receiving unemployment must attest to engaging in activities designed to fully reopen their business, such as connecting with theOffice of Business Developmentto explore the resources available to small businesses. If an individual was previously self-employed but has no plans to return to self-employment, they will be required to do a work search and accept a position for which they are reasonably qualified.

Whether or not currently unemployed, people looking for work should visit Maine JobLink, to find thousands of jobs posted, including remote work. Employers can post their jobs by registering with the Maine JobLink.

CareerCenters host a variety of hiring events as well as one-on-one meetings with a consultant, to develop employment or training plans. The CareerCenter can be reached by email at MaineDOL.CareerCenter@maine.gov, by phone at 207-623-7981, or by live-chat at MaineCareerCenter.gov.

Employers who have tried to recall employees or have made job offers that have been declined can report those refusals at the MDOL Reporting Refusal of Return to Work online form. The Department will determine whether the individual is receiving unemployment benefits, and, if so, determine whether they should remain eligible.

Employers can also participate in the WorkShare program, which is designed to help employers avoid layoffs by allowing groups of workers to receive partial unemployment benefit payments while their employer reduces their hours. The employees are then subject to being called back when work expands.

Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation Program

The Maine Department of Labor began accepting applications for the new Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation Program (MEUC) on April 29, 2021.

The MEUC program was created by the Continued Assistance for Unemployed Workers Act of 2020 and provides a $100 supplemental benefit to certain individuals who had both employment and self-employment prior to becoming unemployed during the pandemic. The program is payable for weeks ending January 2, 2021 through September 4, 2021.

The program is intended for claimants who had at least $5,000 in net self-employment income, however qualified for state unemployment insurance benefits resulting in their self-employment income not being included in their benefit calculation. Individuals receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) are not eligible for MEUC benefits because their self-employment income has already been taken into consideration.

More information and FAQS are available on our website: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment

Virtual Hiring Events

Employers can work with the Maine CareerCenters to hold independent virtual and drive-through hiring events.

Upcoming virtual hiring event: May 20, 2021 from 2-4 p.m., Maine CareerCenters are hosting a virtual job fair for the Hospitality/Food Service/Retail/Wholesale/Customer Service fields.

Job seekers can register for any of these hiring fairs by using this online form.

More information on upcoming workshops and events: https://www.mainecareercenter.gov

MDOL Recommends Unemployment Claimants Call Thursdays and Fridays

If unemployment claimants have a question about their claim, the Department recommends that they call the unemployment phone line, 1-800-593-7660, between 8 am and 3 pm Monday-Friday. Call wait times continue to decrease on all days, however Thursdays and Fridays remain the days when call volume is at its lowest and usually have shorter wait times.

They can also leave a message 24/7 at https://www.maine.gov/labor/contact/index.html . They should only put in one message to avoid duplication.

Fraud Update

The U.S. Department of Labor launched a new website for people to understand unemployment insurance identity theft, and how and where to report stolen benefits if they are victims.

The new website provides key steps to help victims address issues that might arise because of previous identity theft and outlines steps to report the theft of unemployment benefits. To assist victims, the department worked closely with other federal agencies and state workforce agencies to consolidate necessary steps and resources. The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims, and to evolve its fraud prevention techniques.

During the week ending May 8, the Department cancelled 189 initial claims and one weekly claim suspected to be fraudulent.

The Department strongly recommends that claimants use a password that is unique to their unemployment account and is not used for anything else. The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/

All claimants are required to be registered on the Maine JobLink, a free job search tool, where claimants can upload their resumes and employers can post their job openings: https://joblink.maine.gov/ada/r/

People can also call their local CareerCenter to schedule a 1:1 appointment with a CareerCenter Consultant to explore work search activity options specific to the persons individual needs.

More information, videos, and answers to frequently asked questions on the work search requirement can be found at: www.maine.gov/labor/unemployment If an employer has offered work to an employee and that employee refused the work, the employer should notify the Department. A fact-finding would be held to determine if there was good cause for the refusal of work. If no good cause is determined, then the claimant would no longer be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Employers can report refusals of work here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ucbr/

OSHA, Maine Brewers' Guild, Maine Department of Labors Workplace Safety and Health Division partner to promote worker safety Bookmark and Share

May 13, 2021

OSHA, Maine Brewers' Guild, Maine Department of Labors Workplace Safety and Health Division partner to promote worker safety

AUGUSTA, ME - The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Maine Department of Labor Workplace Safety and Health Division (SafetyWorks!) and the Maine Brewers' Guild have formed an alliance to promote worker safety and health in the Maine brewing industry.

The alliance partners will address industry hazards including lockout/tagout, hazard communication, powered industrial trucks, permit-required confined spaces, electrical, walking-working surfaces and personal protective equipment.

"Craft brewing is a growing industry in Maine. This alliance is an opportunity to share information, training resources and best safety practices to prevent workplace hazards and promote safety in the industry," said OSHA Area Director David McGuan in Augusta, Maine.

Maine is a national leader in the brewing industry, and were committed to attracting and retaining the best brewing talent our country has to offer. Safe workplaces are better places to work, and so establishing this voluntary alliance was an easy decision, said Maine Brewers Guild Executive Director Sean Sullivan.

The Maine Brewers Guild is a nonprofit trade association representing nearly all of Maines more than 150 breweries. The parties signed the alliance on April 7, 2021.

The OSHA Alliance Program fosters collaborative relationships with groups committed to worker safety and health. Alliance partners help OSHA reach targeted audiences, such as employers and workers in high-hazard industries, giving them better access to workplace safety and health tools and information.

The Maine Department of Labor, Workplace Safety and Health Division promotes a healthful, safe, and fair workplace through consultation services, training resources, worksite inspections and regulatory enforcement. Learn more about SafetyWorks! in Maine.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHAs role is to help ensure these conditions for Americas workers by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. Learn more about OSHA.

Media Contacts:

  • Ted Fitzgerald, 617-565-2075, fitzgerald.edmund@dol.gov

  • James C. Lally, 617-565-2074, lally.james.c@dol.gov

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending May 15 Bookmark and Share

May 20, 2021

For Immediate Release: May 20, 2021

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending May 15

AUGUSTA - For the week ending May 15, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 1,200 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 100 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). In total, approximately 1,500 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.

About 11,700 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 12,800 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 16,800 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

Between March 15, 2020 and May 15, 2021, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $2.19 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits.

The Department has handled approximately 258,400 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 111,500 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Note: Claims do not equal the number of unique unemployment claimants. There have been over 3.9 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html

Work Search Requirements Tightening this Weekend:

The Maine Department of Labor is tightening work search requirements for people on unemployment, reinstating the traditional work search requirements as of Sunday, May 23, 2021. Maine had temporarily expanded the types of activities that would meet the work search requirement, adjusting to sudden closings, health concerns, school, childcare and other issues brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.

Work search requirements had been relaxed because of the pandemic to include job-related education or skills development, and networking. Now people receiving unemployment will be required to actively look for work and to accept positions for which they are reasonably qualified. A refusal to accept an offer of suitable work is grounds for disqualifying a person for benefits. More information on the requirement can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/faq/worksearch/

In many cases, people receiving unemployment benefits can go back to work part-time and still retain the $300 weekly stipend offered by Congress through this summer. More information, including a walk-through video and "partial benefit calculator," can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/pub/

Whether or not currently unemployed, people looking for work should visit Maine JobLink, to find thousands of jobs posted, including remote work. Employers can post their jobs by registering with the Maine JobLink.

CareerCenters host a variety of hiring events as well as one-on-one meetings with a consultant, to develop employment or training plans. The CareerCenter can be reached by email at MaineDOL.CareerCenter@maine.gov, by phone at 207-623-7981, or by live-chat at MaineCareerCenter.gov.

Employers who have tried to recall employees or have made job offers that have been declined can report those refusals by visiting the Reporting Refusal of Work web page. The Department will determine whether the individual is receiving unemployment benefits, and, if so, determine whether they should remain eligible.

Employers can also participate in the WorkShare program, which is designed to help employers avoid layoffs by allowing groups of workers to receive partial unemployment benefit payments while their employer reduces their hours. The employees are then subject to being called back when work expands.

Other Updates

Virtual Hiring Events

Employers can work with the Maine CareerCenters to hold independent virtual and drive-through hiring events.

Upcoming virtual hiring events:

More information on upcoming workshops and events: https://www.mainecareercenter.gov

Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation Program

The Maine Department of Labor began accepting applications for the new Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation Program (MEUC) on April 29, 2021.

The MEUC program was created by the Continued Assistance for Unemployed Workers Act of 2020 and provides a $100 supplemental benefit to certain individuals who had both employment and self-employment prior to becoming unemployed during the pandemic. The program is payable for weeks ending January 2, 2021 through September 4, 2021.

The program is intended for claimants who had at least $5,000 in net self-employment income, however qualified for state unemployment insurance benefits resulting in their self-employment income not being included in their benefit calculation. Individuals receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) are not eligible for MEUC benefits because their self-employment income has already been taken into consideration.

More information and FAQS are available on our website: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment

MDOL Recommends Unemployment Claimants Call Thursdays and Fridays

If unemployment claimants have a question about their claim, the Department recommends that they call the unemployment phone line, 1-800-593-7660, between 8 am and 3 pm Monday-Friday. Call wait times continue to decrease on all days, however Thursdays and Fridays remain the days when call volume is at its lowest and usually have shorter wait times.

They can also leave a message 24/7 at https://www.maine.gov/labor/contact/index.html . They should only put in one message to avoid duplication.

Fraud Update

The U.S. Department of Labor launched a new website for people to understand unemployment insurance identity theft, and how and where to report stolen benefits if they are victims.

The new website provides key steps to help victims address issues that might arise because of previous identity theft and outlines steps to report the theft of unemployment benefits. To assist victims, the department worked closely with other federal agencies and state workforce agencies to consolidate necessary steps and resources.

The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims, and to evolve its fraud prevention techniques.

During the week ending May 15, the Department cancelled 351 initial claims suspected to be fraudulent. The Department strongly recommends that claimants use a password that is unique to their unemployment account and is not used for anything else. The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/

All claimants are required to be registered on the Maine JobLink, a free job search tool, where claimants can upload their resumes and employers can post their job openings: https://joblink.maine.gov/ada/r/

People can also call their local CareerCenter to schedule a 1:1 appointment with a CareerCenter Consultant to explore work search activity options specific to the person's individual needs.

More information, videos, and answers to frequently asked questions on the work search requirement can be found at: https://www.maine.gov/labor/unemployment

If an employer has offered work to an employee and that employee refused the work, the employer should notify the Department. A fact-finding would be held to determine if there was good cause for the refusal of work. If no good cause is determined, then the claimant would no longer be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Employers can report refusals of work here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ucbr/

April Workforce Conditions in Maine Bookmark and Share

May 21, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 21, 2021

April Workforce Conditions in Maine

AUGUSTA - The spring recovery in workforce conditions continued with job gains in most sectors and a substantial upward revision to March jobs estimates. In April:

  • Nonfarm payroll jobs increased in most sectors
  • Labor force participation modestly increased
  • The unemployment rate remained 4.8 percent for the third consecutive month

Seasonally Adjusted Estimates

Nonfarm Payroll Jobs Estimates The number of nonfarm payroll jobs increased in most sectors of the economy in April, though the 610,800 jobs was down 1,600 from March. The decrease is the result of unusual seasonal changes in education and an unusually large upward revision to March jobs estimates. Aside from these issues, the underlying jobs trend remained positive in April, reflecting a more open economy. The state added 9,600 jobs over the first four months of 2021, following four months of little change at the end of 2020.

Excluding education, the number of private sector jobs increased by 1,200 between March and April. The largest gains were in the construction, retail trade, and professional and business services sectors. This is on top an upward revision of 2,600 private sector, non-education jobs in March. In the two months combined, private non-education sectors added 5,000 jobs.

The number of jobs in public and private education was 2,700 lower than in March, but was higher than for any other month since September. The March figure was unusually high because the University of Maine and some private colleges reduced spring break and kept most students on campus as part of their efforts to contain the spread of the virus. In the two months combined, public and private education added 300 jobs.

The number of nonfarm jobs increased 65,400 from a year-ago, when the state had the lowest number of jobs in 24 years as the pandemic forced many workplaces to close or reduce operations. The largest gains over the year were in the sectors most impacted at the beginning of the pandemic: leisure and hospitality, retail trade, healthcare and social assistance, and manufacturing.

There remained 29,200 fewer jobs than in February 2020, before the virus impacted the labor market. Maine had 4.6 percent fewer jobs than 14 months ago, compared to the national 5.4 percent net decrease. Over that period, jobs remained down the most in leisure and hospitality, public and private education (K-12 and higher ed), and healthcare and social assistance. The construction and the professional and business services sectors have fully recovered to February 2020 levels, and retail trade, manufacturing, and a few other sectors have nearly recovered to pre-pandemic levels.

Labor Force and Unemployment Estimates In April the number of unemployed was little changed from March at 32,500, and the unemployment rate was unchanged, remaining at 4.8 percent for the third consecutive month. The labor force participation rate was little changed, edging up 0.1 points to 60.1 percent.

Over the last year, the unemployment rate decreased sharply from the pandemic-induced peak of 9.1 percent in April 2020, though it remained elevated from the 3.1 percent rate of February 2020. The same is true for labor force participation. The share of the population age 16 and over in the labor force increased 1.5 percentage points from a year ago, though it remained 2.5 points lower than in February 2020.

The lower rate of participation in the labor force than before the pandemic continued to cause unemployment data to understate the impact of the decrease in the number of jobs. If participation in April was as high as it was 14 months earlier, the number of unemployed would be 28,300 higher and the unemployment rate would be 8.7 percent.

U.S and New England Unemployment Rates The U.S. and New England unemployment rates were 6.1 percent and 6.2 percent in April. Rates for other states in the region were 2.8 percent in New Hampshire, 2.9 percent in Vermont, 6.5 percent in Massachusetts, 6.3 percent in Rhode Island, and 8.1 percent in Connecticut.

Not Seasonally Adjusted Substate Estimates

The not seasonally adjusted statewide unemployment rate of 5.3 percent for April was down from 9.8 percent one year ago. Unemployment rates were lowest in Sagadahoc County (4.1 percent) and highest in Washington County (7.5 percent).

Unemployment rates were below the statewide average in all three metro areas: Bangor (4.9 percent), Portland-South Portland (4.6 percent), and Lewiston-Auburn (5.2 percent).

May workforce estimates will be released Wednesday, June 23 at 10 a.m. (Data Release Schedule) - https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/releaseDates.html

Monthly workforce estimates are cooperatively produced and released by the Maine Department of Labor, Center for Workforce Research and Information and the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

NOTES

  1. Preliminary seasonally-adjusted labor force estimates, including rates (labor force participation, employment, and unemployment rates), and levels (labor force, employed, and unemployed) tend to move in a direction for several months and then reverse course. Those directional trends are largely driven by a smoothing procedure and may not indicate a change in underlying workforce conditions. Annual revisions (published in March each year) tend to moderate or eliminate those directional patterns. A comparison of 2020 preliminary and revised estimates of labor force and unemployment rates, as well as nonfarm payroll jobs, is available at https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/blogs/2021workforcedata_revisions.pdf

  2. The 90 percent confidence interval for statewide unemployment rates for April is 1.0 percentage points above or below the published estimate.

  3. To assess job growth, we recommend looking at nonfarm jobs from the payroll survey rather than at resident employment from the household survey. The payroll survey is larger, has smaller margins of error, and is subject to smaller revisions. A 2016 blog on the differences in accuracy of the two measures provides more context at https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/blogs/imprecise_data.pdf

  4. Nonfarm payroll jobs estimates tend to be volatile from month to month because there is variability in the sample of reporting employers and their representativeness for the universe of all employers. Additionally, seasonal adjustment is imperfect because weather, the beginning and ending of school semesters, holidays, and other events do not always occur with the same timing relative to the pay period that includes the 12th day of the month, which is the reference period. This sometimes exacerbates monthly volatility. Users should look to the trend over multiple months rather than the change from one specific month to another. Estimates for the period from April 2020 to September 2021 will be replaced with actual payroll data in March 2022. Those benchmark revisions are likely to show less volatility than preliminary estimates do.

COVID-19 Vaccine Appointment Bookmark and Share

May 24, 2021

Hello,

The Maine Department of Labor is working with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services to make sure Maine people have information about getting vaccinated against COVID-19. Everyone age 12 and older is now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

All three U.S. FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines have proven to be safe and remarkably effective at preventing severe disease and death from COVID-19. We encourage everyone 12 and older to get the vaccine as soon as possible.

Scheduling Your Appointment

The vaccines are free, and many sites across the State are providing vaccination with no appointment necessary. To find an appointment near you, please visit https://www.maine.gov/covid19/vaccines/vaccination-sites .

If you cannot access the website or need additional assistance to get an appointment, you can call the Maine COVID-19 Community Vaccination Line at 1-888-445-4111. The Community Vaccination Line can also support Maine people who need interpretation assistance, help with transportation, are homebound, or have other questions about resources in their area. Deaf or hard of hearing individuals can access the Community Vaccination Line by dialing 711 and requesting to be connected to 1-888-445-4111.

Should you have a child or guardian in need of vaccination, please note that only the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been authorized by the FDA for use in youth ages 12-17. Please visit https://www.maine.gov/covid19/vaccines/vaccination-sites to learn which sites are vaccinating youth.

Need a Ride to Your Vaccination Appointment?

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services is offering free rides for anyone in Maineto and from a COVID-19 vaccination appointment. Call1-855-608-5172 to reserve a ride at least 48 hours in advance of your appointment.That phone number can also support translation services, should you need to request a ride and your preferred language is not English.

Individuals must have a vaccination appointment before requesting a ride. Rides will be provided to and from the appointment. These may be shared rides so DHHS can provide transportation to as many people as possible, and face masks will be required.

DHHS can provide transportation for appointments that are scheduled Monday through Saturday from 7:00 am - 4:00 pm. At least 48 hours before the vaccine appointment, individuals should call 1-855-608-5172 to reserve a ride and should have the following information ready:

  • Date and time of appointment

  • Name, address, and phone number of the facility where they are receiving the vaccination

MaineCare members who already use a Non-Emergency Transportation (NET) broker to arrange rides to their MaineCare-covered services should call that same broker for rides to vaccination clinics. This program is for MaineCare members who are ineligible for Non-Emergency Transportation as well as any other Maine resident who does not have access to reliable transportation to get to their vaccination appointment.

For more information aboutthe NETprogram, including how to submit a ride request online, please visit the website:https://www.maine.gov/dhhs/oms/member-resources/transportation .

Sincerely,

The Maine Department of Labor

Supporting documents

List of MaineCare NET Brokers (PDF)

List of MaineCare NET Brokers (Word)

Relief for Maine H-2B Employers: U.S. DOL, DHS release 22,000 H-2B Visas Nationally for Returning Foreign Workers Bookmark and Share

May 25, 2021

For Immediate Release: May 25, 2021

Relief for Maine H-2B Employers:

U.S. DOL, DHS release 22,000 H-2B Visas Nationally for Returning Foreign Workers

AUGUSTA - Maine employers who are already certified by the U.S. Department of Labor now have another chance to apply for H-2B, or nonagricultural nonimmigrant temporary worker visas: The Secretary of Homeland Security has decided, after consultation with Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor, to increase the H-2B cap for FY 2021 by up to 22,000 additional visas.

The visas are for American businesses that are likely to suffer irreparable harm (permanent and severe financial loss) without the ability to employ all of the H-2B workers requested on their respective petitions before the end of FY 2021.

"Many Maine businesses rely on temporary workers during the busy summer tourism season," Maine Department of Labor Commissioner Laura Fortman said. "I encourage qualifying businesses who are still looking to hire nonagricultural, nonimmigrant temporary workers to consider taking advantage of these additional visas to help fill the gaps in their workforce. The Maine CareerCenters stand ready to help employers with recruitment assistance and posting job orders on the Maine JobLink."

The 22,000 visas are divided into two allocations, as follows:

  • 16,000 visas limited to returning workers, regardless of country of nationality, who were issued H-2B visas or held H-2B status in fiscal years 2018, 2019, or 2020

  • 6,000 visas initially reserved for nationals of the Northern Triangle countries as attested by the petitioner (regardless of whether such nationals are returning workers). However, if all 6,000 visas reserved for nationals of the Northern Triangle countries are not allocated by July 8, 2021, USCIS will announce by July 23, 2021, on its website, that such unused Northern Triangle country visas will be made available to employers regardless of the beneficiary's country of nationality, subject to the returning worker limitation.

"Maine's hospitality industry is excited to have this second opportunity to access some of the 22,000 additional H2B visa workers available through the H-2B cap increase," Greg Dugal of HospitalityMaine said. "It is no secret that there is a shortage of workers in general in every state and that this effort will be one of many ways to resolve that issue for what looks to be an incredibly busy summer travel season in Maine."

Employers, who must already be certified by U.S. DOL, will be required to work with MDOL to:

  1. Place a new job order with the Maine JobLink - https://joblink.maine.gov/ for at least 15 calendar days; and

  2. Contact the nearest Maine CareerCenter - https://www.mainecareercenter.gov/locations/index.shtml in the geographic area where work will commence to request staff assistance to advertise and recruit U.S. workers for the job opportunity.

CareerCenters can be reached by email at MaineAtWork.DOL@maine.gov, by phone at 207-623-7981, or by LiveChat at https://www.MaineCareerCenter.gov .

Information on other qualification requirements for the FY 2021 supplemental cap can be found in the temporary rule, which was published in the Federal Register on May 25, 2021: https://www.federalregister.gov/public-inspection/2021-11048/exercise-of-time-limited-authority-to-increase-the-fiscal-year-2021-numerical-limitation-for-the

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending May 22 Bookmark and Share

May 27, 2021

For Immediate Release: May 27, 2021

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending May 22

AUGUSTA - For the week ending May 22, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 1,000 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 200 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). In total, approximately 1,300 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.

Unemployment claims filed each week continue to steadily decline. About 11,600 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 12,700 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 16,400 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

Between March 15, 2020 and May 22, 2021, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $2.2 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits.

The Department has handled approximately 259,400 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 111,700 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Note: Claims do not equal the number of unique unemployment claimants. There have been over 4 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html

Traditional Work Search Requirements Reinstated:

The Maine Department of Labor reinstated traditional work search requirements for people receiving unemployment benefits on May 23, 2021.

Work search requirements had been temporarily relaxed because of the pandemic to include job-related education or skills development, and networking. Now people receiving unemployment will be required to actively look for work and to accept positions for which they are reasonably qualified. A refusal to accept an offer of suitable work is grounds for disqualifying a person for benefits. More information on the requirement can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/faq/worksearch/

In many cases, people receiving unemployment benefits can go back to work part-time and still retain the $300 weekly Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) offered by Congress through September 4, 2021. More information, including a walk-through video and "partial benefit calculator," can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/pub/

Whether or not currently unemployed, people looking for work should visit Maine JobLink, to find thousands of jobs posted, including remote work. Employers can post their jobs by registering with the Maine JobLink.

CareerCenters host a variety of hiring events as well as one-on-one meetings with a consultant, to develop employment or training plans. The CareerCenter can be reached by email at MaineDOL.CareerCenter@maine.gov, by phone at 207-623-7981, or by live-chat at MaineCareerCenter.gov.

Employers who have tried to recall employees or have made job offers that have been declined can report those refusals by using this online form. The Department will determine whether the individual is receiving unemployment benefits, and, if so, determine whether they should remain eligible.

Employers can also participate in the WorkShare program, which is designed to help employers avoid layoffs by allowing groups of workers to receive partial unemployment benefit payments while their employer reduces their hours. The employees are then subject to being called back when work expands.

Other Updates

Virtual Hiring Events

Employers can work with the Maine CareerCenters to hold independent virtual and drive-through hiring events. Information on upcoming workshops and events: https://www.mainecareercenter.gov

Upcoming virtual hiring event: On June 3, 2021 from 2-4 p.m., Maine CareerCenters are hosting a virtual job fair for Staffing Agencies (Non-Medical) and Financial Services Employment.

More information: https://www.mainecareercenter.com/locations/jobfair.shtml?id=4296174

MDOL Recommends Unemployment Claimants Call Thursdays and Fridays

If unemployment claimants have a question about their claim, the Department recommends that they call the unemployment phone line, 1-800-593-7660, between 8 am and 3 pm Monday-Friday. Call wait times continue to decrease on all days, however Thursdays and Fridays remain the days when call volume is at its lowest and usually have shorter wait times. They can also leave a message 24/7 at https://www.maine.gov/labor/contact/index.html .

They should only put in one message to avoid duplication.

Fraud Update

The U.S. Department of Labor launched a new website for people to understand unemployment insurance identity theft, and how and where to report stolen benefits if they are victims.

The new website provides key steps to help victims address issues that might arise because of previous identity theft and outlines steps to report the theft of unemployment benefits. To assist victims, the department worked closely with other federal agencies and state workforce agencies to consolidate necessary steps and resources.

The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims, and to evolve its fraud prevention techniques.

During the week ending May 22, the Department cancelled 118 initial claims suspected to be fraudulent.

The Department strongly recommends that claimants use a password that is unique to their unemployment account and is not used for anything else.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending May 29 Bookmark and Share

June 3, 2021

For Immediate Release: June 3, 2021

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending May 29

AUGUSTA - For the week ending May 29, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 1,400 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 100 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). In total, approximately 1,800 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.

Unemployment continued claims filed each week continue to steadily decline, down roughly 1,600 claims from the previous week. About 10,600 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 12,300 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 16,100 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

For the same time period, roughly 4,400 unemployment claimants reported having partial earnings for the week. In many cases, people receiving unemployment benefits can work part-time and still retain the $300 weekly Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) offered by Congress through September 4, 2021. More information, including a walk-through video and "partial benefit calculator," can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/pub/

Between March 15, 2020 and May 29, 2021, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $2.2 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits. Approximately $1.7 billion of the $2.2 billion was paid through federal unemployment programs.

The Department has handled approximately 260,700 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 111,800 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Note: Claims do not equal the number of unique unemployment claimants. There have been over 4 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html

Traditional Work Search Requirement:

The Maine Department of Labor reinstated traditional work search requirements for people receiving unemployment benefits on May 23, 2021.

Work search requirements had been temporarily relaxed because of the pandemic to include job-related education or skills development, and networking. Now people receiving unemployment will be required to actively look for work and to accept positions for which they are reasonably qualified. A refusal to accept an offer of suitable work is grounds for disqualifying a person for benefits. More information on the requirement can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/faq/worksearch/

Whether or not currently unemployed, people looking for work should visit Maine JobLink, to find thousands of jobs posted, including remote work. Employers can post their jobs by registering with the Maine JobLink.

CareerCenters host a variety of hiring events as well as one-on-one meetings with a consultant, to develop employment or training plans. The CareerCenter can be reached by email at MaineDOL.CareerCenter@maine.gov, by phone at 207-623-7981, or by live-chat at https://www.MaineCareerCenter.gov .

Employers who have tried to recall employees or have made job offers that have been declined can report those refusals by using this online form. The Department will determine whether the individual is receiving unemployment benefits, and, if so, determine whether they should remain eligible.

Employers can also participate in the WorkShare program, which is designed to help employers avoid layoffs by allowing groups of workers to receive partial unemployment benefit payments while their employer reduces their hours. The employees are then subject to being called back when work expands.

Other Updates:

Virtual Hiring Events

Employers can work with the Maine CareerCenters to hold independent virtual and drive-through hiring events. Information on upcoming workshops and events: https://www.mainecareercenter.gov

Upcoming virtual hiring event: On June 10, 2021 from 2-4 p.m., Maine CareerCenters are hosting a virtual job fair featuring the Maine Registered Apprenticeship Program and participating employers.

More information: https://www.mainecareercenter.com/locations/jobfair.shtml?id=4296175

MDOL Recommends Unemployment Claimants Call Thursdays and Fridays

If unemployment claimants have a question about their claim, the Department recommends that they call the unemployment phone line, 1-800-593-7660, between 8 am and 3 pm Monday-Friday. Call wait times continue to decrease on all days, however Thursdays and Fridays remain the days when call volume is at its lowest and usually have shorter wait times.

They can also leave a message 24/7 at https://www.maine.gov/labor/contact/index.html. They should only put in one message to avoid duplication.

Fraud Update

The U.S. Department of Labor launched a new website for people to understand unemployment insurance identity theft, and how and where to report stolen benefits if they are victims.

The new website provides key steps to help victims address issues that might arise because of previous identity theft and outlines steps to report the theft of unemployment benefits. To assist victims, the department worked closely with other federal agencies and state workforce agencies to consolidate necessary steps and resources.

The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims, and to evolve its fraud prevention techniques.

During the week ending May 29, the Department cancelled 350 initial claims suspected to be fraudulent.

The Department strongly recommends that claimants use a password that is unique to their unemployment account and is not used for anything else.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending June 5 Bookmark and Share

June 10, 2021

For Immediate Release: June 10, 2021

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending June 5

AUGUSTA - For the week ending June 5, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 1,600 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 150 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). In total, approximately 1,900 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim. These numbers represent claim applications; claims are then reviewed for eligibility and legitimacy.

Overall unemployment continued claims filed each week continue to steadily decline, down roughly 760 claims from the previous week. About 10,700 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 11,900 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 15,600 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

For the same time period, roughly 3,600 unemployment claimants reported having partial earnings for the week. In many cases, people receiving unemployment benefits can work part-time and still retain the $300 weekly Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) offered by Congress through September 4, 2021. More information, including a walk-through video and "partial benefit calculator," can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/pub/

Between March 15, 2020 and June 5, 2021, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $2.2 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits. Approximately $1.7 billion of the $2.2 billion was paid through federal unemployment programs.

The Department has handled approximately 262,400 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 111,900 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Note: Claims do not equal the number of unique unemployment claimants. There have been over 4 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html

Work Search Requirement:

The Maine Department of Labor reinstated traditional work search requirements for people receiving unemployment benefits on May 23, 2021.

Work search requirements had been temporarily relaxed because of the pandemic to include job-related education or skills development, and networking. Now people receiving unemployment will be required to actively look for work and to accept positions for which they are reasonably qualified. A refusal to accept an offer of suitable work is grounds for disqualifying a person for benefits. More information on the requirement can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/faq/worksearch/

Whether or not currently unemployed, people looking for work should visit Maine JobLink, to find thousands of jobs posted, including remote work. Employers can post their jobs by registering with the Maine JobLink.

CareerCenters host a variety of hiring events as well as one-on-one meetings with a consultant, to develop employment or training plans. The CareerCenter can be reached by email at MaineDOL.CareerCenter@maine.gov, by phone at 207-623-7981, or by live-chat at https://www.MaineCareerCenter.gov .

Employers who have tried to recall employees or have made job offers that have been declined can report those refusals by using this online form. The Department will determine whether the individual is receiving unemployment benefits, and, if so, determine whether they should remain eligible.

Employers can also participate in the WorkShare program, which is designed to help employers avoid layoffs by allowing groups of workers to receive partial unemployment benefit payments while their employer reduces their hours. The employees are then subject to being called back when work expands.

Other Updates

Hiring Events

Employers can work with the Maine CareerCenters to hold independent virtual, in-person, or drive-through hiring events. Information on upcoming workshops and events: https://www.mainecareercenter.gov

Upcoming hiring event: On June 15, 2021 from 12-3 p.m., Maine CareerCenters and the Boothbay Harbor Region Chamber of Commerce are hosting an in-person hiring event at Sherman's Field on Townsend Ave. in Boothbay Harbor.

The event is open to all job seekers and employers. More information, including how employers can register and a list of attending employers can be found here: https://www.mainecareercenter.com/locations/jobfair.shtml?id=4772221

MDOL Recommends Unemployment Claimants Call Thursdays and Fridays

If unemployment claimants have a question about their claim, the Department recommends that they call the unemployment phone line, 1-800-593-7660, between 8 am and 3 pm Monday-Friday. Call wait times continue to decrease on all days, however Thursdays and Fridays remain the days when call volume is at its lowest and usually have shorter wait times.

They can also leave a message 24/7 at https://www.maine.gov/labor/contact/index.html. They should only put in one message to avoid duplication.

Fraud Update

The U.S. Department of Labor launched a new website for people to understand unemployment insurance identity theft, and how and where to report stolen benefits if they are victims.

The new website provides key steps to help victims address issues that might arise because of previous identity theft and outlines steps to report the theft of unemployment benefits. To assist victims, the department worked closely with other federal agencies and state workforce agencies to consolidate necessary steps and resources.

The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims, and to evolve its fraud prevention techniques.

During the week ending June 5, the Department cancelled 213 initial claims suspected to be fraudulent.

The Department strongly recommends that claimants use a password that is unique to their unemployment account and is not used for anything else.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/

MDOL Launches New Data Tool Showcasing Graduate Earnings in Maine Bookmark and Share

June 16, 2021

For Immediate Release: June 16, 2021

MDOL Launches New Data Tool Showcasing Graduate Earnings in Maine

The Maine Post-Secondary Outcomes Report Displays Economic Outcomes of Graduates by School, Program, and Credential

AUGUSTA-The Maine Department of Labor's Center for Workforce Research and Information (CWRI) is excited to announce the launch of the Maine Post-Secondary Outcomes Report (MPSO), a MaineEARNS data series that provides the employment and earnings outcomes of graduates from the University of Maine System (UMS) and Maine Community College System (MCCS). We encourage you to explore the new Maine Post-Secondary Outcomes Report with expanded features and newly available data here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/mpso

"MaineEARNS is a wonderful resource for Maine people interested in using data to make decisions related to education and training. The tool provides insight into salary and industry of employment for Maine graduates," said Laura Fortman, Commissioner of the Department of Labor. I encourage you to take a look and explore the new features.

MPSO is a longitudinal data series, containing aggregated graduate records beginning in 2009, three cohorts of graduates and up to nine labor market outcomes years of data after graduation. Available data includes the industries graduates enter, age at graduation, newly available outcome years, wages adjusted for inflation, and rollups that contain all students across all cohorts to increase sample sizes.

For ease of navigation, the new MPSO website displays data that can be viewed from different perspectives including by Broad Fields of Study, by Program, by School, and for General Research purposes. The published data is searchable by credential or degree, area of study, and school, displaying aggregated information for cohorts of graduates ensuring individual confidentially.

The data system serves as a platform for understanding what happens to cohorts of students after completing post-secondary credentials and as they progress through the workforce. It can be used to address such questions as: - How many graduates go on to work in Maine? - What do they earn? - How do the wage and employment outcomes for various credentials compare? - In which industries do graduates find employment?

We invite you to view the data, which can be used to find post-secondary credentials available in Maine, and is an excellent resource for prospective students, their parents and any others exploring or advising others about higher education.

This dataset shows how much you can earn after spending just one or two years at a community college. Looking to earn more than $60K? This data shows that there are many programs at the community colleges - including electrical lineworkers, telecommunications tech, healthcare, precision machining, computer science, business - that can get you there, said David Daigler, president of the Maine Community College System. Reliable, specific wage data can be hard to find. This new searchable database puts detailed information at everyones fingertips, allowing them to make smart choices about their careers and education. Thats a good thing.

A college degree can improve wages and opportunities across generations, said University of Maine System Chancellor Dannel Malloy. MaineEARNS provides students and their families with information that can help them make the right choices about their college and career pathways. Providing better insights on the impact of higher education also creates the incentives we need to engage more people with our programs and build a stronger, more highly qualified workforce for Maine.

MPSO is a MaineEARNS product, built in partnership with UMS and MCCS. Grants from the U.S. Department of Labors Education and Training Administration including the Workforce Data Quality Initiative grant (WDQI) grant provided the majority of the funding for the project, with additional state support. MaineEARNS was originally launched as a pilot in 2014. Data from participating education and training programs are matched with available unemployment insurance wage records. To learn more about the many capabilities and limitations of the MPSO report, please visit: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/mpso/about.html

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending June 12 Bookmark and Share

June 17, 2021

For Immediate Release: June 17, 2021

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending June 12

AUGUSTA - For the week ending June 12, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 1,350 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 300 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). These numbers represent claim applications; claims are then reviewed for eligibility and legitimacy. In total, approximately 1,300 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.

Overall unemployment continued claims filed each week continue to steadily decline, down roughly 1,050 claims from the previous week. About 10,200 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 11,500 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 15,500 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

For the same time period, roughly 3,600 unemployment claimants reported having partial earnings for the week. In many cases, people receiving unemployment benefits can work part-time and still retain the $300 weekly Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) offered by Congress through September 4, 2021. More information, including a walk-through video and "partial benefit calculator," can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/pub/

Between March 15, 2020 and June 12, 2021, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $2.27 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits. Approximately $1.7 billion of the $2.27 billion was paid through federal unemployment programs.

The Department has handled approximately 263,100 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 112,200 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Note: Claims do not equal the number of unique unemployment claimants. There have been over 4.1 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html

Work Search Requirement:

The Maine Department of Labor reinstated traditional work search requirements for people receiving unemployment benefits on May 23, 2021.

Work search requirements had been temporarily relaxed because of the pandemic to include job-related education or skills development, and networking. Now people receiving unemployment will be required to actively look for work and to accept positions for which they are reasonably qualified. A refusal to accept an offer of suitable work is grounds for disqualifying a person for benefits. More information on the requirement can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/faq/worksearch/

Whether or not currently unemployed, people looking for work should visit Maine JobLink, to find thousands of jobs posted, including remote work. Employers can post their jobs by registering with the Maine JobLink.

CareerCenters host a variety of hiring events as well as one-on-one meetings with a consultant, to develop employment or training plans. The CareerCenter can be reached by email at MaineDOL.CareerCenter@maine.gov, by phone at 207-623-7981, or by live-chat at MaineCareerCenter.gov.

Employers who have tried to recall employees or have made job offers that have been declined, or who have scheduled an interview and the potential employee did not attend, can report those situations by using this online form. The Department will determine whether the individual is receiving unemployment benefits, and, if so, determine whether they should remain eligible.

Employers can also participate in the WorkShare program, which is designed to help employers avoid layoffs by allowing groups of workers to receive partial unemployment benefit payments while their employer reduces their hours. The employees are then subject to being called back when work expands.

Other Updates:

New Back to Work Program Employer Application Available

On June 14, Governor Mills announced the creation of the new Back to Work program, aimed at getting unemployed Maine people back into the workforce. The employer application for the program is now available, and can be found here along with FAQs: https://www.maine.gov/covid19/back-to-work-grants

The Back to Work program, administered by the Maine Department of Labor and the Department of Economic and Community Development, will provide employers a one-time $1,500 payment for eligible workers who start jobs between June 15 and June 30 or a $1,000 payment for eligible workers who start jobs in July to encourage unemployed Maine people to return to the workforce. The first-come, first-served program will utilize $10 million in Federal funding and could reach up to 7,500 Maine people.

To be eligible, people must:

  • Have received unemployment compensation for the week ending May 29, 2021;
  • Accept a full-time job that pays less than $25 per hour and remain in the job for a period of at least eight consecutive weeks, and;
  • Not receive unemployment compensation during the eight-week period of employment

The program began on June 15, 2021, and applications will be accepted through July 25, 2021. Once the employee has worked for eight weeks, the employer will provide documentation of the completion of the requirement and grant funds will be issued to the employer to be passed through to the employee.

MDOL Launches New Data Tool Showcasing Graduate Earnings in Maine

The Maine Department of Labor's Center for Workforce Research and Information (CWRI) is excited to announce the launch of the Maine Post-Secondary Outcomes Report (MPSO), a MaineEARNS data series that provides the employment and earnings outcomes of graduates from the University of Maine System (UMS) and Maine Community College System (MCCS). We encourage you to explore the new Maine Post-Secondary Outcomes Report with expanded features and newly available data here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/mpso

For ease of navigation, the new MPSO website displays data that can be viewed from different perspectives including by Broad Fields of Study, by Program, by School, and for General Research purposes. The published data is searchable by credential or degree, area of study, and school, displaying aggregated information for cohorts of graduates ensuring individual confidentially.

The data system serves as a platform for understanding what happens to cohorts of students after completing post-secondary credentials and as they progress through the workforce. It can be used to address such questions as: - How many graduates go on to work in Maine? - What do they earn? - How do the wage and employment outcomes for various credentials compare? - In which industries do graduates find employment?

The full press release can be found at: https://www.maine.gov/labor/news_events/article.shtml?id=4983786

Hiring Events

Employers can work with the Maine CareerCenters to hold independent virtual, in-person, or drive-through hiring events. Information on upcoming workshops and events: https://www.mainecareercenter.gov

Upcoming hiring event: On July 1, 2021 from 2-4 p.m., Maine CareerCenters are hosting a virtual hiring event featuring jobs in the Medical/Medical Staffing/Home Care fields. More information: https://www.mainecareercenter.com/locations/jobfair.shtml?id=4296178

MDOL Recommends Unemployment Claimants Call Thursdays and Fridays

If unemployment claimants have a question about their claim, the Department recommends that they call the unemployment phone line, 1-800-593-7660, between 8 am and 3 pm Monday-Friday. Call wait times continue to decrease on all days, however Thursdays and Fridays remain the days when call volume is at its lowest and usually have shorter wait times.

They can also leave a message 24/7 at https://www.maine.gov/labor/contact/index.html . They should only put in one message to avoid duplication.

Fraud Update

The U.S. Department of Labor launched a new website for people to understand unemployment insurance identity theft, and how and where to report stolen benefits if they are victims.

The new website provides key steps to help victims address issues that might arise because of previous identity theft and outlines steps to report the theft of unemployment benefits. To assist victims, the department worked closely with other federal agencies and state workforce agencies to consolidate necessary steps and resources. The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims, and to evolve its fraud prevention techniques.

During the week ending June 12, the Department cancelled 981 initial claims and three weekly claims suspected to be fraudulent.

The Department strongly recommends that claimants use a password that is unique to their unemployment account and is not used for anything else.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/

May Workforce Conditions in Maine Bookmark and Share

June 23, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 23, 2021

May Workforce Conditions in Maine

AUGUSTA - There was little change in workforce conditions between April and May:

  • Nonfarm payroll jobs were little changed
  • The 4.7 percent unemployment rate was little changed
  • Labor force participation was unchanged

Seasonally Adjusted Estimates

Nonfarm Payroll Jobs Estimates The number of nonfarm payroll jobs was little changed in May, down 600 to 610,600. Decreases in construction and manufacturing jobs were mostly offset by increases in wholesale and retail trade and other services.

The number of nonfarm jobs increased 52,800 from a year-ago. The largest gains over the year were in the sectors most impacted at the beginning of the pandemic: leisure and hospitality, retail trade, and healthcare and social assistance.

There remained 29,400 fewer jobs than in February 2020, before the virus impacted the labor market. Maine had 4.6 percent fewer jobs than 15 months earlier, compared to the national 5.0 percent decrease. Over that period, jobs remained down the most in leisure and hospitality, public and private education (K-12 and higher ed), and healthcare and social assistance.

Labor Force and Unemployment Estimates In May the number of unemployed was down 1,100 to 31,400 and the unemployment rate was 4.7 percent following three consecutive months at 4.8 percent. The labor force participation rate was unchanged at 60.1 percent.

Over the last year, the unemployment rate decreased sharply from the pandemic-induced 8.3 percent in May 2020, though it remained elevated from the 3.1 percent rate of February 2020. The same is true for labor force participation. The share of the population age 16 and over in the labor force increased 0.9 percentage points from a year ago, though it remained 2.5 points lower than in February 2020.

The lower rate of participation in the labor force than before the pandemic continued to cause unemployment data to understate the impact of the decrease in the number of jobs. If participation in May was as high as it was 15 months earlier, the number of unemployed would be 28,500 higher and the unemployment rate would be 8.5 percent.

U.S and New England Unemployment Rates The U.S. and New England unemployment rates were 5.8 percent and 5.9 percent in May. Rates for other states in the region were 2.5 percent in New Hampshire, 2.6 percent in Vermont, 6.1 percent in Massachusetts, 5.8 percent in Rhode Island, and 7.7 percent in Connecticut.

Substate Not Seasonally Adjusted Estimates

The not seasonally adjusted statewide unemployment rate of 4.7 percent for May was down from 8.7 percent one year ago. Unemployment rates were lowest in Sagadahoc County (3.7 percent) and highest in Washington County (6.6 percent).

Unemployment rates were below the statewide average in the Bangor (4.4 percent) and Portland-South Portland (4.2 percent) metro areas, and above the average in Lewiston-Auburn (4.9 percent).

June workforce estimates will be released Friday, July 16 at 10 a.m. (Data Release Schedule) - https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/releaseDates.html

Monthly workforce estimates are cooperatively produced and released by the Maine Department of Labor, Center for Workforce Research and Information and the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

NOTES

  1. Preliminary seasonally-adjusted labor force estimates, including rates (labor force participation, employment, and unemployment rates), and levels (labor force, employed, and unemployed) tend to move in a direction for several months and then reverse course. Those directional trends are largely driven by a smoothing procedure and may not indicate a change in underlying workforce conditions. Annual revisions (published in March each year) tend to moderate or eliminate those directional patterns. A comparison of 2020 preliminary and revised estimates of labor force and unemployment rates, as well as nonfarm payroll jobs, is available at https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/blogs/2021workforcedata_revisions.pdf

  2. The 90 percent confidence interval for statewide unemployment rates for May is 1.0 percentage points above or below the published estimate.

  3. To assess job growth, we recommend looking at nonfarm jobs from the payroll survey rather than at resident employment from the household survey. The payroll survey is larger, has smaller margins of error, and is subject to smaller revisions. A 2016 blog on the differences in accuracy of the two measures provides more context at https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/blogs/imprecise_data.pdf

  4. Nonfarm payroll jobs estimates tend to be volatile from month to month because there is variability in the sample of reporting employers and their representativeness for the universe of all employers. Additionally, seasonal adjustment is imperfect because weather, the beginning and ending of school semesters, holidays, and other events do not always occur with the same timing relative to the pay period that includes the 12th day of the month, which is the reference period. This sometimes exacerbates monthly volatility. Users should look to the trend over multiple months rather than the change from one specific month to another. Estimates for the period from April 2020 to September 2021 will be replaced with actual payroll data in March 2022. Those benchmark revisions are likely to show less volatility than preliminary estimates do.

Maine Department of Labor Partnering with ID.me to Help Protect Unemployment Claimants Bookmark and Share

June 23, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 23, 2021

Maine Department of Labor Partnering with ID.me to Help Protect Unemployment Claimants

AUGUSTA - Along with states across the country, the Department has partnered with trusted technology partner ID.me to help bolster current fraud prevention measures and protect unemployment claimants.

ID.me is a secure and safe national portal that Maine will be using to verify the identity of unemployment claimants in our ongoing efforts to detect and prevent fraudulent unemployment claims. This identity verification integration is in addition to current fraud prevention measures and will help to ensure claimants identities are verified before their claim is processed.

Who will be asked to verify their identity?

A claimant may be selected to provide proof of their identity through the secure portal for one of two main reasons:

1. Their claim was reviewed and contains elements that have been seen in confirmed ID Theft claims. To ensure the claim is legitimate and benefits will be paid to the actual claimant, providing proof of their identity through the ID.me portal may be required.

2. Per federal guidance in the Continued Assistance Act of 2020, all new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claims filed after January 31, 2021 are subject to identity verification.

If a claimant must submit ID verification documents, notification will be added to their ReEmployME account, and instructions for completion of the process may be found under Correspondences in their account, as well as sent via regular mail.

They will be asked to create an ID.me account and begin the identity verification process. The Department recommends that claimants create a unique username and password that they have not used for anything else.

Once they complete the identity verification process, the result will be sent back to the Department in real-time. If there are no other issues, the Department will move forward with their claim. If there is still a question about their identity after completing the verification process, ID.me may reach out to the claimant directly for next steps.

ID.me also partners with many federal government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Social Security Administration, and Department of the Treasury. Many other states have partnered with ID.me to help prevent unemployment benefit fraud. According to ID.me, almost 70% of the country's population is now using the service to verify for unemployment benefits.

More information on the process will be posted to our website: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/

Anyone who believes that their information has been used to file a fraudulent unemployment claim should let the Department know immediately by reporting it here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/fraud/

Employers are also crucial partners in identifying fraudulent claims filed in their employees names. Employers can report fraud online: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/fraud/ or email UIFraud.DOL@maine.gov.

Maine Awarded Over $5.5 Million Grant to Support Registered Apprenticeship Bookmark and Share

June 23, 2021

Maine Awarded Over $5.5 Million Grant to Support Registered Apprenticeship

AUGUSTA - The Maine Dept. of Labor has been awarded a $5,594,187 State Apprenticeship Expansion, Equity and Innovation grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, effective July 1. Apprenticeship is an industry-driven, high-quality career pathway where employers can develop and prepare their future workforce, and individuals can obtain paid work experience, classroom instruction, and a nationally recognized, portable credential.

The grant, which is part of more than $99 million awarded to 15 states, will help Maine continue to develop, modernize, and diversify its Registered Apprenticeship Program and accelerate its expansion.

"In Maine, there are currently 948 registered apprentices and 263 participating businesses. This grant recognizes the effectiveness of the Registered Apprenticeship model in providing a successful career pathway to high-wage occupations," Commissioner Laura Fortman said. "It also provides critical funding to begin expanding this "learn while you earn" training method, making it available to more people and businesses."

The grant will focus on expanding apprenticeship in high wage and in-demand occupations in healthcare and infrastructure, such as broadband and renewable energy, and to embed diversity, equity, and inclusion practices within these expansion efforts. Outreach efforts will stress recruiting women, people with disabilities, people of color, and justice involved individuals.

"Today's announcement reflects the Department of Labors renewed commitment to expanding Registered Apprenticeship to train U.S. workers and ensure that diversity and inclusion are core elements of our nations post-pandemic economic recovery," said Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh in a June 22 press release. "Using Registered Apprenticeships to expand career opportunities for all workers, especially those in under-represented populations, is a priority for the department and a critical component of the Biden-Harris administrations American Jobs Plan."

U.S DOLs Employment and Training Administration awarded more than $99 million in State Apprenticeship Expansion, Equity and Innovation grants -- ranging from $2 million to $10 million -- to bolster states efforts to expand programming and inclusive recruitment strategies to attract a diverse workforce. The awards include more than $85 million for states that demonstrated a commitment to increase their diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. These grants also aim to develop partnerships with new industries and non-traditional occupations, including industry sectors hardest hit by the pandemic, and align Registered Apprenticeships with other work-based learning opportunities within state education and workforce systems.

The U.S. DOL press release can be found here: https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/eta/eta20210622

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending June 19 Bookmark and Share

June 24, 2021

For Immediate Release: June 24, 2021

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending June 19

Overall, weekly unemployment claims continue to decrease

AUGUSTA - For the week ending June 19, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 1,500 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 100 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). These numbers represent claim applications; claims are then reviewed for eligibility and legitimacy. In total, approximately 1,800 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.

Overall unemployment continued claims filed each week continue to steadily decline, down roughly 950 claims from the previous week. About 9,600 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 11,250 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 15,400 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

For the same time period, roughly 3,600 unemployment claimants reported having partial earnings for the week. In many cases, people receiving unemployment benefits can work part-time and still retain the $300 weekly Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) offered by Congress through September 4, 2021. More information, including a walk-through video and "partial benefit calculator," can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/pub/

Between March 15, 2020 and June 19, 2021, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $2.29 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits. Approximately $1.7 billion of the $2.29 billion was paid through federal unemployment programs.

The Department has handled approximately 264,700 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 112,300 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Note: Claims do not equal the number of unique unemployment claimants. There have been over 4.1 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html

Work Search Requirement:

Individuals receiving unemployment are required to actively look for work and to accept positions for which they are reasonably qualified. A refusal to accept an offer of suitable work is grounds for disqualifying a person for benefits. More information on the requirement can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/faq/worksearch/

Whether or not currently unemployed, people looking for work should visit Maine JobLink, to find thousands of jobs posted, including remote work. Employers can post their jobs by registering with the Maine JobLink.

CareerCenters host a variety of job fairs as well as one-on-one meetings with a consultant, to develop employment or training plans. The CareerCenter can be reached by email at MaineDOL.CareerCenter@maine.gov, by phone at 207-623-7981, or by live-chat at https://www.MaineCareerCenter.gov .

Employers who have tried to recall employees or have made job offers that have been declined, or who have scheduled an interview and the potential employee did not attend, can report those situations by using this online form. The Department will determine whether the individual is receiving unemployment benefits, and, if so, determine whether they should remain eligible.

Employers can also participate in the WorkShare program, which is designed to help employers avoid layoffs by allowing groups of workers to receive partial unemployment benefit payments while their employer reduces their hours. The employees are then subject to being called back when work expands.

Other Updates:

Maine Awarded Over $5.5 Million Grant to Support Registered Apprenticeship

The Maine Dept. of Labor has been awarded a $5,594,187 State Apprenticeship Expansion, Equity and Innovation grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, effective July 1. Apprenticeship is an industry-driven, high-quality career pathway where employers can develop and prepare their future workforce, and individuals can obtain paid work experience, classroom instruction, and a nationally recognized, portable credential.

The grant, which is part of more than $99 million awarded to 15 states, will help Maine continue to develop, modernize, and diversify its Registered Apprenticeship Program and accelerate its expansion.

In Maine, there are currently 948 registered apprentices and 263 participating businesses. This grant recognizes the effectiveness of the Registered Apprenticeship model in providing a successful career pathway to high-wage occupations, Commissioner Laura Fortman said. It also provides critical funding to begin expanding this learn while you earn training method, making it available to more people and businesses.

The grant will focus on expanding apprenticeship in high wage and in-demand occupations in healthcare and infrastructure, such as broadband and renewable energy, and to embed diversity, equity, and inclusion practices within these expansion efforts. Outreach efforts will stress recruiting women, people with disabilities, people of color, and justice involved individuals.

U.S DOL's Employment and Training Administration awarded more than $99 million in State Apprenticeship Expansion, Equity and Innovation grants - ranging from $2 million to $10 million to bolster states efforts to expand programming and inclusive recruitment strategies to attract a diverse workforce. The awards include more than $85 million for states that demonstrated a commitment to increase their diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. These grants also aim to develop partnerships with new industries and non-traditional occupations, including industry sectors hardest hit by the pandemic, and align Registered Apprenticeships with other work-based learning opportunities within state education and workforce systems.

The U.S. DOL press release can be found here: https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/eta/eta20210622

MDOL Partnering with ID.me to Help Protect Unemployment Claimants

Along with states across the country, the Department has partnered with trusted technology partner ID.me to help bolster current fraud prevention measures and protect unemployment claimants.

ID.me is a secure and safe national portal that Maine will be using to verify the identity of unemployment claimants in our ongoing efforts to detect and prevent fraudulent unemployment claims. This identity verification integration is in addition to current fraud prevention measures and will help to ensure claimants identities are verified before their claim is processed.

Who will be asked to verify their identity?

A claimant may be selected to provide proof of their identity through the secure portal for one of two main reasons:

  1. Their claim was reviewed and contains elements that have been seen in confirmed ID Theft claims. To ensure the claim is legitimate and benefits will be paid to the actual claimant, providing proof of their identity through the ID.me portal may be required.
  2. Per federal guidance in the Continued Assistance Act of 2020, all new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claims filed after January 31, 2021 are subject to identity verification.

If a claimant must submit ID verification documents, notification will be added to their ReEmployME account, and instructions for completion of the process may be found under Correspondences in their account, as well as sent via regular mail.

They will be asked to create an ID.me account and begin the identity verification process. The Department recommends that claimants create a unique username and password that they have not used for anything else.

Once they complete the identity verification process, the result will be sent back to the Department in real-time. If there are no other issues, the Department will move forward with their claim. If there is still a question about their identity after completing the verification process, ID.me may reach out to the claimant directly for next steps.

ID.me also partners with many federal government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Social Security Administration, and Department of the Treasury. Many other states have partnered with ID.me to help prevent unemployment benefit fraud. According to ID.me, almost 70% of the countrys population is now using the service to verify for unemployment benefits.

More information on the process is on our website: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment

Fraud Update

The U.S. Department of Labor launched a website for people to understand unemployment insurance identity theft, and how and where to report stolen benefits if they are victims.

The new website provides key steps to help victims address issues that might arise because of previous identity theft and outlines steps to report the theft of unemployment benefits. To assist victims, the department worked closely with other federal agencies and state workforce agencies to consolidate necessary steps and resources.

The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims, and to evolve its fraud prevention techniques.

During the week ending June 19, the Department cancelled 811 initial claims suspected to be fraudulent.

The Department strongly recommends that claimants use a password that is unique to their unemployment account and is not used for anything else.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/

Back to Work Program Employer Application Available

On June 14, Governor Mills announced the creation of the new Back to Work program, aimed at getting unemployed Maine people back into the workforce. The employer application for the program is now available, and can be found here along with FAQs: https://www.maine.gov/covid19/back-to-work-grants

The Back to Work program, administered by the Maine Department of Labor and the Department of Economic and Community Development, will provide employers a one-time $1,500 payment for eligible workers who start jobs between June 15 and June 30 or a $1,000 payment for eligible workers who start jobs in July to encourage unemployed Maine people to return to the workforce. The first-come, first-served program will utilize $10 million in Federal funding and could reach up to 7,500 Maine people.

To be eligible, people must: 1. Have received unemployment compensation for the week ending May 29, 2021; 2. Accept a full-time job that pays less than $25 per hour and remain in the job for a period of at least eight consecutive weeks, and; 3. Not receive unemployment compensation during the eight-week period of employment.

The program began on June 15, 2021, and applications will be accepted through July 25, 2021. Once the employee has worked for eight weeks, the employer will provide documentation of the completion of the requirement and grant funds will be issued to the employer to be passed through to the employee.

Hiring Events

Employers can work with the Maine CareerCenters to hold independent virtual, in-person, or drive-through hiring events. Information on upcoming workshops and events: https://www.mainecareercenter.gov

Upcoming hiring event: On July 1, 2021 from 2-4 p.m., Maine CareerCenters are hosting a virtual hiring event featuring jobs in the Medical/Medical Staffing/Home Care fields. More information: https://www.mainecareercenter.com/locations/jobfair.shtml?id=4296178

MDOL Recommends Unemployment Claimants Call Thursdays and Fridays

If unemployment claimants have a question about their claim, the Department recommends that they call the unemployment phone line, 1-800-593-7660, between 8 am and 3 pm Monday-Friday. Call wait times continue to decrease on all days, however Thursdays and Fridays remain the days when call volume is at its lowest and usually have shorter wait times.

They can also leave a message 24/7 at https://www.maine.gov/labor/contact/index.html . They should only put in one message to avoid duplication.

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending June 26, 2021 Bookmark and Share

July 1, 2021

For Immediate Release: July 1, 2021

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending June 26

AUGUSTA - For the week ending June 26, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 1,400 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 700 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). Most of the PUA initial claims are due to already existing claimants moving from the regular state unemployment program to federal PUA. These numbers represent claim applications; claims are then reviewed for eligibility and legitimacy. In total, approximately 1,600 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.

Overall unemployment continued claims filed each week continue to steadily decline, down roughly 600 claims from the previous week. About 9,400 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 11,000 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 15,300 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

For the same time period, roughly 3,300 unemployment claimants reported having partial earnings for the week. In many cases, people receiving unemployment benefits can work part-time and still retain the $300 weekly Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) offered by Congress through September 4, 2021. More information, including a walk-through video and "partial benefit calculator," can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/pub/

Between March 15, 2020 and June 26, 2021, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $2.3 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits. Approximately $1.7 billion of the $2.3 billion was paid through federal unemployment programs

The Department has handled approximately 266,050 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 113,000 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Note: Claims do not equal the number of unique unemployment claimants. There have been over 4.2 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html

Work Search Requirement:

Individuals receiving unemployment are required to actively look for work and to accept positions for which they are reasonably qualified. A refusal to accept an offer of suitable work is grounds for disqualifying a person for benefits. More information on the requirement can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/faq/worksearch/

Whether or not currently unemployed, people looking for work should visit Maine JobLink, to find thousands of jobs posted, including remote work. Employers can post their jobs by registering with the Maine JobLink.

CareerCenters host a variety of job fairs as well as one-on-one meetings with a consultant, to develop employment or training plans. The CareerCenter can be reached by email at MaineDOL.CareerCenter@maine.gov, by phone at 207-623-7981, or by live-chat at https://www.MaineCareerCenter.gov .

Employers who have tried to recall employees or have made job offers that have been declined, or who have scheduled an interview and the potential employee did not attend, can report those situations by using this online form. The Department will determine whether the individual is receiving unemployment benefits, and, if so, determine whether they should remain eligible.

Employers can also participate in the WorkShare program, which is designed to help employers avoid layoffs by allowing groups of workers to receive partial unemployment benefit payments while their employer reduces their hours. The employees are then subject to being called back when work expands.

Other Updates:

MDOL Partnering with ID.me to Help Protect Unemployment Claimants

Along with states across the country, the Department has partnered with trusted technology partner ID.me to help bolster current fraud prevention measures and protect unemployment claimants.

ID.me is a secure and safe national portal that Maine will be using to verify the identity of unemployment claimants in our ongoing efforts to detect and prevent fraudulent unemployment claims. This identity verification integration is in addition to current fraud prevention measures and will help to ensure claimants identities are verified before their claim is processed.

Who will be asked to verify their identity?

A claimant may be selected to provide proof of their identity through the secure portal for one of two main reasons:

  1. Their claim was reviewed and contains elements that have been seen in confirmed ID Theft claims. To ensure the claim is legitimate and benefits will be paid to the actual claimant, providing proof of their identity through the ID.me portal may be required.
  2. Per federal guidance in the Continued Assistance Act of 2020, all new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claims filed after January 31, 2021 are subject to identity verification.

If a claimant must submit ID verification documents, notification will be added to their ReEmployME account, and instructions for completion of the process may be found under Correspondences in their account, as well as sent via regular mail.

They will be asked to create an ID.me account and begin the identity verification process. The Department recommends that claimants create a unique username and password that they have not used for anything else.

Once they complete the identity verification process, the result will be sent back to the Department in real-time. If there are no other issues, the Department will move forward with their claim. If there is still a question about their identity after completing the verification process, ID.me may reach out to the claimant directly for next steps.

ID.me also partners with many federal government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Social Security Administration, and Department of the Treasury. Many other states have partnered with ID.me to help prevent unemployment benefit fraud. According to ID.me, almost 70% of the countrys population is now using the service to verify for unemployment benefits.

More information on the process is on our website: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment

Fraud Update

The U.S. Department of Labor launched a website for people to understand unemployment insurance identity theft, and how and where to report stolen benefits if they are victims.

The new website provides key steps to help victims address issues that might arise because of previous identity theft and outlines steps to report the theft of unemployment benefits. To assist victims, the department worked closely with other federal agencies and state workforce agencies to consolidate necessary steps and resources.

The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims, and to evolve its fraud prevention techniques.

During the week ending June 26, the Department cancelled 128 initial claims and nine weekly claims suspected to be fraudulent.

The Department strongly recommends that claimants use a password that is unique to their unemployment account and is not used for anything else.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/

Hiring Events

Employers can work with the Maine CareerCenters to hold independent virtual, in-person, or drive-through hiring events. Information on upcoming workshops and events: https://www.mainecareercenter.gov

Upcoming hiring event: On July 7, 2021 from 10 am-12 p.m., the Lewiston CareerCenter will host an outdoor in-person hiring event featuring local employers. More information: https://www.mainecareercenter.com/locations/jobfair.shtml?id=5110974

MDOL Recommends Unemployment Claimants Call Thursdays and Fridays

If unemployment claimants have a question about their claim, the Department recommends that they call the unemployment phone line, 1-800-593-7660, between 8 am and 3 pm Monday-Friday. Call wait times continue to decrease on all days, however Thursdays and Fridays remain the days when call volume is at its lowest and usually have shorter wait times.

They can also leave a message 24/7 at https://www.maine.gov/labor/contact/index.html . They should only put in one message to avoid duplication.

Updates to the "Back to Work" Grant Program Bookmark and Share

July 1, 2021

For Immediate Release: July 1, 2021

Updates to the "Back to Work" Grant Program

AUGUSTA - Based on feedback from employers and job seekers some requirements for the state's Back to Work program are being modified. The $1,500 payment is being extended for the duration of the program June 15- July 25.

The program will now also retroactively cover part-time workers who are working at least 20 hours a week for a single employer and are no longer receiving unemployment benefits. This is based on feedback from those who were working too many hours to be eligible for an unemployment benefit, but not enough hours to be considered full time. If working part-time, the grant amount would be $750, half of the full-time grant.

As awareness of the program increases, interest and participation from employers is gaining momentum, said Commissioner Laura Fortman. By extending the $1,500 grant through the end of the program, we hope that more employers are able to offer this payment to their newly hired employees.

As of June 30, over 100 employers have applied for grants to cover about 300 workers. Of the initial applications, more than 20% were from the accommodation & food services industry, followed closely by administrative & waste services and healthcare & social assistance employers.

The updated eligibility qualifications for the program are now as follows:

For the $1,500 grant, full-time new hires must:

  • Have received unemployment benefits for the week ending May 29, 2021.
  • Have started one full-time job (at least 35 hours per week) in Maine between June 15 and July 25, 2021.
  • Be employed for at least eight weeks, at an hourly wage of less than $25.
  • Not receive unemployment benefits during their period of employment.

For the $750 grant, part-time new hires must:

  • Have received unemployment benefits for the week ending May 29, 2021.
  • Have started one part-time job (at least 20 hours per week) in Maine between June 15 and July 25, 2021.
  • Be employed for at least eight weeks, at an hourly wage of less than $25.
  • Not receive any unemployment benefits during their period of employment.

More information on the Back to Work program, and the application for employers, can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/covid19/back-to-work-grants

On the Maine JobLink, employers can log into their accounts and use the Back to Work Employer tag for themselves and their posted jobs to indicate that they are participating in the new Back to Work grant program. Job seekers interested in the program can search the Maine JobLink to see which employers have tagged that they are participating. For assistance with Maine JobLink registration and tagging, call the Maine JobLink Team at 207-623-7967 or email Joblink@maine.gov.

Additionally, Maine CareerCenters are supporting Back to Work employers statewide through individual employer or group hiring events and featured postings on the CareerCenters weekly jobs newsletter. To connect with your local CareerCenters Business Services Team, send an email to MaineAtWork.DOL@maine.gov or call the CareerCenter Hotline at 207-623-7981.

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending July 3 Bookmark and Share

July 8, 2021

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending July 3

Weekly unemployment claims continue to decline.

AUGUSTA - For the week ending July 3, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 1,200 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 100 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). These numbers represent claim applications; claims are then reviewed for eligibility and legitimacy. In total, approximately 1,400 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.

Overall unemployment continued claims filed each week continue to steadily decline, down roughly 1,350 claims from the previous week. About 9,400 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 9,900 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 15,000 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

For the same time period, roughly 3,100 unemployment claimants reported having partial earnings for the week. In many cases, people receiving unemployment benefits can work part-time and still retain the $300 weekly Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) offered by Congress through September 4, 2021. More information, including a walk-through video and "partial benefit calculator," can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/pub/

Between March 15, 2020 and July 3, 2021, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $2.3 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits. Approximately $1.7 billion of the $2.3 billion was paid through federal unemployment programs.

The Department has handled approximately 267,300 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 113,100 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Note: Claims do not equal the number of unique unemployment claimants. There have been over 4.2 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html

Work Search Requirement: Individuals receiving unemployment are required to actively look for work and to accept positions for which they are reasonably qualified. A refusal to accept an offer of suitable work is grounds for disqualifying a person for benefits. More information on the requirement can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/faq/worksearch/

Whether or not currently unemployed, people looking for work should visit Maine JobLink, to find thousands of jobs posted, including remote work. Employers can post their jobs by registering with the MaineJobLink.

CareerCenters host a variety of hiring events as well as one-on-one meetings with a consultant, to develop employment or training plans. The CareerCenter can be reached by email at MaineDOL.CareerCenter@maine.gov, by phone at 207-623-7981, or by live-chat at https://www.MaineCareerCenter.gov .

Employers who have tried to recall employees or have made job offers that have been declined, or who have scheduled an interview and the potential employee did not attend, can report those situations by using this online form. The Department will determine whether the individual is receiving unemployment benefits, and, if so, determine whether they should remain eligible.

Employers can also participate in the WorkShare program, which is designed to help employers avoid layoffs by allowing groups of workers to receive partial unemployment benefit payments while their employer reduces their hours. The employees are then subject to being called back when work expands.

Other Updates:

Health Insurance information from DHHS:

MDOL is helping the Department of Health and Human Services spread the word about health insurance to unemployment claimants: Starting July 1, 2021, consumers who received or are approved to receive unemployment compensation for any week beginning in 2021 may be able to find even lower cost plans and save extra money on out-of-pocket expenses through https://www.healthcare.gov/ .

To take advantage of these additional savings, consumers who received or have been approved for unemployment compensation in 2021 need to visit https://www.HealthCare.gov before August 15th to submit a new application or update their existing application to maximize the savings they can get for the rest of 2021. An average of four out of five current HealthCare.gov consumers will be able to find a plan for $10 or less per month after advance payments of tax credits.

Whether you're uninsured, or have a Marketplace plan and want to save more money on premiums and out-of-pocket costs, make sure to apply or update your application with https://www.HealthCare.gov.

Learn more about what to include as income and how to estimate your income if youre unemployed.

Hiring Events

Employers can work with the Maine CareerCenters to hold independent virtual, in-person, or drive-through hiring events. Information on upcoming workshops and events: https://www.mainecareercenter.gov

Upcoming hiring event: On July 14, 2021 from 10 am-12 p.m., the Brunswick CareerCenter will host an outdoor in-person hiring event featuring local employers. More information: https://www.mainecareercenter.com/locations/jobfair.shtml?id=5114400

Fraud Update

The U.S. Department of Labor has a website for people to understand unemployment insurance identity theft, https://www.dol.gov/agencies/eta/UIIDtheft, and how and where to report stolen benefits if they are victims.

The website provides key steps to help victims address issues that might arise because of previous identity theft and outlines steps to report the theft of unemployment benefits. To assist victims, the department worked closely with other federal agencies and state workforce agencies to consolidate necessary steps and resources.

The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims, and to evolve its fraud prevention techniques. During the week ending June 26, the Department cancelled 1,889 initial claims and five weekly claims suspected to be fraudulent. The Department strongly recommends that claimants use a password that is unique to their unemployment account and is not used for anything else.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/ .

MDOL Recommends Unemployment Claimants Call Thursdays and Fridays

If unemployment claimants have a question about their claim, the Department recommends that they call the unemployment phone line, 1-800-593-7660, between 8 am and 3 pm Monday-Friday. Call wait times continue to decrease on all days, however Thursdays and Fridays remain the days when call volume is at its lowest and usually have shorter wait times.

They can also leave a message 24/7 at https://www.maine.gov/labor/contact/index.html . They should only put in one message to avoid duplication.

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending July 10 Bookmark and Share

July 15, 2021

For Immediate Release: July 15, 2021

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending July 10

Weekly unemployment claims continue to decline.

AUGUSTA - For the week ending July 10, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 1,200 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 60 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). These numbers represent claim applications; claims are then reviewed for eligibility and legitimacy. In total, approximately 1,300 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.

Overall unemployment continued claims filed each week continue to steadily decline, down roughly 1,300 claims from the previous week. About 9,000 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 9,600 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 14,500 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

For the same time period, roughly 3,200 unemployment claimants reported having partial earnings for the week. In many cases, people receiving unemployment benefits can work part-time and still retain the $300 weekly Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) offered by Congress through September 4, 2021. More information, including a walk-through video and "partial benefit calculator," can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/pub/

Reminder: Federal unemployment benefits end on September 4, 2021. The Department recommends that claimants take advantage of CareerCenter services. CareerCenters host a variety of hiring events as well as one-on-one meetings with a consultant, to develop employment or training plans. The CareerCenter can be reached by email at MaineDOL.CareerCenter@maine.gov, by phone at 207-623-7981, or by live-chat at https://www.MaineCareerCenter.gov .

Between March 15, 2020 and July 10, 2021, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $2.3 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits. Approximately $1.76 billion of the $2.3 billion was paid through federal unemployment programs.

The Department has handled approximately 268,500 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 113,200 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Note: Claims do not equal the number of unique unemployment claimants. There have been over 4.2 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html

Work Search Requirement:

Individuals receiving unemployment are required to actively look for work and to accept positions for which they are reasonably qualified. A refusal to accept an offer of suitable work is grounds for disqualifying a person for benefits. More information on the requirement can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/faq/worksearch/

Whether or not currently unemployed, people looking for work should visit Maine JobLink - https://joblink.maine.gov/, to find thousands of jobs posted, including remote work. Employers can post their jobs by registering with the Maine JobLink.

Employers who have tried to recall employees or have made job offers that have been declined, or who have scheduled an interview and the potential employee did not attend, can report those situations using this online form. The Department will determine whether the individual is receiving unemployment benefits, and, if so, determine whether they should remain eligible.

Employers can also participate in the WorkShare program - https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/workshare/, which is designed to help employers avoid layoffs by allowing groups of workers to receive partial unemployment benefit payments while their employer reduces their hours. The employees are then subject to being called back when work expands.

Other Updates

Hiring Events

Employers can work with the Maine CareerCenters to hold independent virtual, in-person, or drive-through hiring events. Information on upcoming workshops and events: https:/www.mainecareercenter.gov

Upcoming hiring event: On July 21, 2021 from 10 am-12 p.m., the Lewiston CareerCenter will host an outdoor in-person hiring event featuring local employers. More information: https://www.mainecareercenter.com/locations/jobfair.shtml?id=5110975

Fraud Update

The U.S. Department of Labor has a website - https://www.dol.gov/agencies/eta/UIIDtheft , for people to understand unemployment insurance identity theft, and how and where to report stolen benefits if they are victims.

The website provides key steps to help victims address issues that might arise because of previous identity theft and outlines steps to report the theft of unemployment benefits. To assist victims, the department worked closely with other federal agencies and state workforce agencies to consolidate necessary steps and resources.

The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims, and to evolve its fraud prevention techniques.

During the week ending July 10, the Department cancelled 253 initial claims suspected to be fraudulent.

The Department strongly recommends that claimants use a password that is unique to their unemployment account and is not used for anything else.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/

MDOL Recommends Unemployment Claimants Call Thursdays and Fridays

If unemployment claimants have a question about their claim, the Department recommends that they call the unemployment phone line, 1-800-593-7660, between 8 am and 3 pm Monday-Friday. Call wait times continue to decrease on all days, however Thursdays and Fridays remain the days when call volume is at its lowest and usually have shorter wait times. They can also leave a message 24/7 at https://www.maine.gov/labor/contact/index.html . They should only put in one message to avoid duplication.

Employment Situation in Maine - June 2021 Bookmark and Share

July 16, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 16, 2021

Employment Situation in Maine - June 2021

AUGUSTA The labor market continued to gradually recover in June:

  • Payroll jobs increased by 3,000, mostly in educational services
  • Labor force participation was unchanged
  • The unemployment rate remained at 4.8 percent

Seasonally Adjusted Estimates

Nonfarm Payroll Jobs Estimates The number of nonfarm payroll jobs increased by 3,000 to 614,900 in June and the estimate for May was upwardly revised by 1,300. Most of the June gain was in private and public education.

The number of payroll jobs is up 47,000 from a year-ago. The largest over the year gains were in the leisure and hospitality, retail trade, professional and business services, and manufacturing sectors.

In June there remained 25,100 fewer jobs than in February 2020, before the virus impacted the labor market. In that period Maine had 3.9 percent fewer jobs compared to 4.4 percent fewer nationally. Jobs remained down the most in leisure and hospitality, public and private education (K-12 and higher ed), and healthcare and social assistance than before the pandemic.

Labor Force and Unemployment Estimates The number of unemployed was nearly unchanged at 32,500 and the unemployment rate was 4.8 percent for the fifth consecutive month. (The rate for May was revised up one tenth from 4.7 percent.) The labor force participation rate was unchanged at 60.2 percent.

The unemployment rate decreased from 5.3 percent one year ago, but it remained elevated from the 3.1 percent rate of February 2020. The same is true for labor force participation. The share of the population age 16 and over in the labor force increased one percentage point from a year ago, though it remained 2.4 points lower than in February 2020.

The lower rate of participation in the labor force than before the pandemic continued to cause unemployment data to understate the impact of the decrease in the number of jobs. If participation in June was as high as it was 16 months earlier, the number of unemployed would be 26,400 higher and the unemployment rate would be 8.4 percent.

U.S and New England Unemployment Rates The U.S. and New England unemployment rates were 5.9 percent and 5.4 percent in June. Rates for other states in the region were 2.9 percent in New Hampshire, 3.1 percent in Vermont, 4.9 percent in Massachusetts, 5.9 percent in Rhode Island, and 7.9 percent in Connecticut.

Substate Not Seasonally Adjusted Estimates

The not seasonally adjusted statewide unemployment rate of 5.1 percent for June was unchanged from one year ago. Unemployment rates were lowest in Sagadahoc County (4.1 percent) and highest in Washington County (6.8 percent).

Unemployment rates were below the statewide average in the Portland-South Portland metro area (4.6 percent), close to the average in the Bangor metro (5.0 percent), and above the average in the Lewiston-Auburn metro (5.5 percent).

July workforce estimates will be released Friday, August 20 at 10 a.m. (Data Release Schedule) - https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/releaseDates.html

Monthly workforce estimates are cooperatively produced and released by the Maine Department of Labor, Center for Workforce Research and Information and the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Notes

  1. Preliminary seasonally-adjusted labor force estimates, including rates (labor force participation, employment, and unemployment rates), and levels (labor force, employed, and unemployed) tend to move in a direction for several months and then reverse course. Those directional trends are largely driven by a smoothing procedure and June not indicate a change in underlying workforce conditions. Annual revisions (published in March each year) tend to moderate or eliminate those directional patterns. A comparison of 2020 preliminary and revised estimates of labor force and unemployment rates, as well as nonfarm payroll jobs, is available at maine.gov/labor/cwri/blogs/2021workforcedata_revisions.pdf

  2. The 90 percent confidence interval for statewide unemployment rates for June is 1.0 percentage points above or below the published estimate.

  3. To assess job growth, we recommend looking at nonfarm jobs from the payroll survey rather than at resident employment from the household survey. The payroll survey is larger, has smaller margins of error, and is subject to smaller revisions. A 2016 blog on the differences in accuracy of the two measures provides more context at maine.gov/labor/cwri/blogs/imprecise_data.pdf

  4. Nonfarm payroll jobs estimates tend to be volatile from month to month because there is variability in the sample of reporting employers and their representativeness for the universe of all employers. Additionally, seasonal adjustment is imperfect because weather, the beginning and ending of school semesters, holidays, and other events do not always occur with the same timing relative to the pay period that includes the 12th day of the month, which is the reference period. This sometimes exacerbates monthly volatility. Users should look to the trend over multiple months rather than the change from one specific month to another. Estimates for the period from April 2020 to September 2021 will be replaced with actual payroll data in March 2022. Those benchmark revisions are likely to show less volatility than preliminary estimates do.

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending July 17 Bookmark and Share

July 22, 2021

For Immediate Release: July 22, 2021

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending July 17

AUGUSTA - For the week ending July 17, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 1,200 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 100 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). These numbers represent claim applications; claims are then reviewed for eligibility and legitimacy. In total, approximately 1,400 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.

About 9,400 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 10,000 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 14,600 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

For the same time period, roughly 3,300 unemployment claimants reported having partial earnings for the week. In many cases, people receiving unemployment benefits can work part-time and still retain the $300 weekly Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) offered by Congress through September 4, 2021. More information, including a walk-through video and "partial benefit calculator," can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/pub/

Reminder: Federal unemployment benefits end on September 4, 2021. The Department recommends that claimants take advantage of CareerCenter services. CareerCenters host a variety of hiring events - https://www.mainecareercenter.com/employment/hiringevents/ as well as one-on-one meetings with a consultant, to develop employment or training plans. The CareerCenter can be reached by email at MaineDOL.CareerCenter@maine.gov, by phone at 207-623-7981, or by live-chat at https://www.MaineCareerCenter.gov .

Between March 15, 2020 and July 17, 2021, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $2.3 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits. Approximately $1.7 billion of the $2.3 billion was paid through federal unemployment programs.

The Department has handled approximately 269,700 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 113,300 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Note: Claims do not equal the number of unique unemployment claimants. There have been over 4.3 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html

Work Search Requirement:

Individuals receiving unemployment are required to actively look for work and to accept positions for which they are reasonably qualified. A refusal to accept an offer of suitable work is grounds for disqualifying a person for benefits. More information on the requirement can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/faq/worksearch/

Whether or not currently unemployed, people looking for work should visit Maine JobLink, to find thousands of jobs posted, including remote work. Employers can post their jobs by registering with the Maine JobLink - https://joblink.maine.gov/ .

Employers who have tried to recall employees or have made job offers that have been declined, or who have scheduled an interview and the potential employee did not attend, can report those situations by using this online form - https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ucbr/ . The Department will determine whether the individual is receiving unemployment benefits, and, if so, determine whether they should remain eligible.

Employers can also participate in the WorkShare program - https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/workshare/ , which is designed to help employers avoid layoffs by allowing groups of workers to receive partial unemployment benefit payments while their employer reduces their hours. The employees are then subject to being called back when work expands.

Other Updates

Reminder: Some PUA Claimants must provide proof of employment by August 4

It is a recent federal requirement that anyone who has received PUA benefits beginning with week ending January 2, 2021 must submit proof of employment. This is to show that a claimant was either employed or self-employed when they became unemployed as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic and filed for unemployment benefits.

We sent affected claimants a notice on May 6, 2021 requesting that they submit proof of employment no later than August 4, 2021. This notice and instructions can also be found in their online ReEmployME account. We have also sent reminder emails to those who have not yet uploaded their information through the portal.

The Department asks that affected claimants submit their proof of employment as soon as possible to avoid a possible denial and overpayment of PUA benefits. An overpayment determination would require a claimant to repay any benefits they may have received since the week ending January 2, 2021.

More information and, including a walk-through video, can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/puaemployment/.

If a claimant has already submitted the verification documents, they do not need to do so again unless they hear from the Department that it was insufficient. If they submitted documents and received a denial decision, they have the right to appeal - https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/appeals/ .

Hiring Events

Employers can work with the Maine CareerCenters to hold independent virtual, in-person, or drive-through hiring events. Information on upcoming workshops and events: https://www.mainecareercenter.gov .

Upcoming hiring event: On July 28, 2021 from 10 am-12 p.m., the Brunswick CareerCenter will host an outdoor in-person hiring event featuring local employers. More information: https://www.mainecareercenter.com/locations/jobfair.shtml?id=5114401

Fraud Update

The U.S. Department of Labor has a website - https://www.dol.gov/agencies/eta/UIIDtheft for people to understand unemployment insurance identity theft, and how and where to report stolen benefits if they are victims.

The website provides key steps to help victims address issues that might arise because of previous identity theft and outlines steps to report the theft of unemployment benefits. To assist victims, the department worked closely with other federal agencies and state workforce agencies to consolidate necessary steps and resources.

The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims, and to evolve its fraud prevention techniques.

During the week ending July 17, the Department cancelled 1,008 initial claims suspected to be fraudulent.

The Department strongly recommends that claimants use a password that is unique to their unemployment account and is not used for anything else.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/

MDOL Recommends Unemployment Claimants Call Thursdays and Fridays

If unemployment claimants have a question about their claim, the Department recommends that they call the unemployment phone line, 1-800-593-7660, between 8 am and 3 pm Monday-Friday. Call wait times continue to decrease on all days, however Thursdays and Fridays remain the days when call volume is at its lowest and usually have shorter wait times.

They can also leave a message 24/7 at https://www.maine.gov/labor/contact/index.html . They should only put in one message to avoid duplication.

Reminder: Some PUA claimants must provide proof of employment by August 4 Bookmark and Share

July 27, 2021

For Immediate Release: July 23, 2021

Reminder: Some PUA claimants must provide proof of employment by August 4

AUGUSTA - The Department of Labor is reminding unemployment claimants that it is a recent federal requirement that anyone who has received PUA benefits beginning with week ending January 2, 2021 must submit proof of employment. This is to show that a claimant was either employed or self-employed when they became unemployed as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic and filed for unemployment benefits

We sent affected claimants a notice on May 6, 2021 requesting that they submit proof of employment no later than August 4, 2021. This notice and instructions can also be found in their online ReEmployME account. We have also sent reminder emails to those who have not yet uploaded their information through the secure portal.More recent PUA claimants will also need to provide proof of employment with a deadline of 21 days after the notice send date, so claimants should regularly check their Correspondence.

The Department asks that affected claimants submit their proof of employment as soon as possible to avoid a possible denial and overpayment of PUA benefits. An overpayment determination would require a claimant to repay any benefits they may have received since the week ending January 2, 2021.

More information, including a walk-through video of how to upload the documents, can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/puaemployment/ .

If a claimant has already submitted the verification documents, they do not need to do so again unless they hear from the Department that it was insufficient. If they submitted documents and received a denial decision, they have the right to appeal: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/appeals/ .

Unemployment Texting Scam Alert Bookmark and Share

July 27, 2021

The Maine Department of Labor is warning the public of scammer's attempts to phish individuals personal information via text message while posing as the Department. They will usually include links claiming to lead to information about unemployment benefits, which do not end in '.gov.

The Department is asking the public stay vigilant - it does not conduct business via text, and will never ask for sensitive information via social media or text message. If an individual receives a text message about unemployment benefits, or from someone claiming to be the Department of Labor or Bureau of Unemployment Compensation, it is a scam and should be ignored.

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending July 24 Bookmark and Share

July 29, 2021

For Immediate Release: July 29, 2021

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending July 24

AUGUSTA - For the week ending July 24, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 900 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 100 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). These numbers represent claim applications; claims are then reviewed for eligibility and legitimacy. In total, approximately 1,200 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.

Overall unemployment continued claims were down about 1,600 claims from the previous week. About 8,200 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 9,700 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 14,500 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

For the same time period, roughly 3,100 unemployment claimants reported having partial earnings for the week. In many cases, people receiving unemployment benefits can work part-time and still retain the $300 weekly Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) offered by Congress through September 4, 2021. More information, including a walk-through video and "partial benefit calculator," can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/pub/

Reminder: Federal unemployment benefits end on September 4, 2021. The Department recommends that claimants take advantage of CareerCenter services. CareerCenters host a variety of job fairs as well as one-on-one meetings with a consultant, to develop employment or training plans. The CareerCenter can be reached by email at MaineDOL.CareerCenter@maine.gov, by phone at 207-623-7981, or by live-chat at https://www.MaineCareerCenter.gov .

Between March 15, 2020 and July 24, 2021, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $2.3 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits. Approximately $1.7 billion of the $2.3 billion was paid through federal unemployment programs.

The Department has handled approximately 270,600 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 113,400 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Note: Claims do not equal the number of unique unemployment claimants. There have been over 4.3 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html

Work Search Requirement:

Individuals receiving unemployment are required to actively look for work and to accept positions for which they are reasonably qualified. A refusal to accept an offer of suitable work is grounds for disqualifying a person for benefits. More information on the requirement can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/faq/worksearch/

Whether or not currently unemployed, people looking for work should visit Maine JobLink - https://joblink.maine.gov/, to find thousands of jobs posted, including remote work. Employers can post their jobs by registering with the Maine JobLink.

Employers who have tried to recall employees or have made job offers that have been declined, or who have scheduled an interview and the potential employee did not attend, can report those situations at this online form- https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ucbr/ . The Department will determine whether the individual is receiving unemployment benefits, and, if so, determine whether they should remain eligible.

Employers can also participate in the WorkShare program - https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/workshare/ , which is designed to help employers avoid layoffs by allowing groups of workers to receive partial unemployment benefit payments while their employer reduces their hours. The employees are then subject to being called back when work expands.

Other Updates:

IMPORTANT: Some PUA Claimants must provide proof of employment by August 4

It is a recent federal requirement that anyone who has received PUA benefits beginning with week ending January 2, 2021 must submit proof of employment. This is to show that a claimant was either employed or self-employed when they became unemployed as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic and filed for unemployment benefits.

We sent affected claimants a notice on May 6, 2021 requesting that they submit proof of employment no later than August 4, 2021. This notice and instructions can also be found in their online ReEmployME account. We have also sent reminder emails to those who have not yet uploaded their information through the portal.

The Department asks that affected claimants submit their proof of employment as soon as possible to avoid a possible denial and overpayment of PUA benefits. An overpayment determination would require a claimant to repay any benefits they may have received since the week ending January 2, 2021.

More information and, including a walk-through video, can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/puaemployment/ .

If a claimant has already submitted the verification documents, they do not need to do so again unless they hear from the Department that it was insufficient. If they submitted documents and received a denial decision, they have the right to appeal - https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/appeals/ .

Hiring Events

Employers can work with the Maine CareerCenters to hold independent virtual, in-person, or drive-through hiring events. Information on upcoming workshops and events: https://www.mainecareercenter.gov .

Upcoming hiring event: On August 4, 2021 from 10 am-12 p.m., the Brunswick CareerCenter will host an outdoor in-person hiring event featuring local employers. More information and a list of participating employers can be found here: https://www.mainecareercenter.com/locations/jobfair.shtml?id=5214101

Unemployment Texting Scam Alert

The Maine Department of Labor is warning the public of scammer's attempts to phish individuals personal information via text message while posing as the Department. They will usually include links claiming to lead to information about unemployment benefits, which do not end in '.gov.

The Department is asking the public stay vigilant - it does not conduct business via text and will never ask for sensitive information via social media or text message. If an individual receives a text message about unemployment benefits, or from someone claiming to be the Department of Labor or Bureau of Unemployment Compensation, it is a scam and should be ignored.

Fraud Update

The U.S. Department of Labor has a website - https://www.dol.gov/agencies/eta/UIIDtheft for people to understand unemployment insurance identity theft, and how and where to report stolen benefits if they are victims.

The website provides key steps to help victims address issues that might arise because of previous identity theft and outlines steps to report the theft of unemployment benefits. To assist victims, the department worked closely with other federal agencies and state workforce agencies to consolidate necessary steps and resources.

The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims, and to evolve its fraud prevention techniques.

During the week ending July 24, the Department cancelled 467 initial claims and two weekly claims suspected to be fraudulent.

The Department strongly recommends that claimants use a password that is unique to their unemployment account and is not used for anything else.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/

MDOL Recommends Unemployment Claimants Call Thursdays and Fridays

If unemployment claimants have a question about their claim, the Department recommends that they call the unemployment phone line, 1-800-593-7660, between 8 am and 3 pm Monday-Friday. Call wait times continue to decrease on all days, however Thursdays and Fridays remain the days when call volume is at its lowest and usually have shorter wait times.

They can also leave a message 24/7 at https://www.maine.gov/labor/contact/index.html . They should only put in one message to avoid duplication.

August Programs and Hiring Events at the Maine Department of Labor CareerCenters Bookmark and Share

July 29, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - July 29, 2021

August Programs and Hiring Events at the Maine Department of Labor CareerCenters

MAINE - The Maine Department of Labor's CareerCenters, together with its partners, offers many services to help people find employment or upgrade skills, and help employers find qualified workers.

Due to COVID-19, many services are being offered virtually, while in-person services are currently being offered by appointment only. Hiring events are being offered virtually, drive-through, or in person. Appointments or pre-registration can be made by calling 1-888-457-8883 or by live-chatting with staff on the https://www.mainecareercenter.gov website.

The following services and programs are available at no cost to the public:

  • Career Directions Explores your career interests, aptitudes, values, personality, motivation and how each transfer to todays job market.

  • Resume & Cover Letter Writing Covers the basics of how to evaluate or create an effective resume and cover letter.

  • Effective Interviewing Skills Dedicated to exploring proper interviewing techniques and tips.

  • Job Search Essentials - This workshop is intended to orient job seekers with the digital tools that have risen in importance

  • The Career Exploration WorkshopAn extensive and informative three-day workshop offered to Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) clients to explore a variety of career paths and research the required skills needed for those careers. Registration through Vocational Rehabilitation is required. Please call (207) 753-9000 for more information.

  • Navigating Hiring Process for Individuals with a Criminal History - Navigating Job Search and Hiring Process for Individuals with a Criminal History

  • And MORE!

Workshops can be accessed by clicking on them here: https://www.mainecareercenter.com/employment/workshops.shtml

August Hiring Events:

  • August 4, 2021 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. in Brunswick - Maine CareerCenters Outside Hiring Event

  • August 5, 2021 from 2-4 p.m. Maine CareerCenters Statewide All-Sector Virtual Hiring Event

  • August 6, 2021 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Hinckley CM Almy hiring Event

  • August 10, 2021 from 9-11 a.m. York County Employers Virtual Hiring Fair (South Coastal)

  • August 11, 2021 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. in Lewiston - Maine CareerCenters Outside Hiring Event

  • August 26, 2021 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Augusta Maine Hire-A-Vet Hiring Event at the Augusta Civic Center

  • And more are added all the time!

More information about hiring events can be found by clicking on the event at https://www.mainecareercenter.com/employment/hiringevents/

Apprenticeship Opportunity:

For more information on Apprenticeship, including additional Apprenticeship opportunities and a list of Apprenticeship Sponsors by County, visit: https://www.maine.gov/labor/jobs_training/apprenticeship/

Reminder: Federal unemployment benefits end on September 4, 2021. The Department recommends that claimants take advantage of CareerCenter services. CareerCenters host a variety of job fairs as well as one-on-one meetings with a consultant, to develop employment or training plans. The CareerCenter can be reached by email at MaineDOL.CareerCenter@maine.gov, by phone at 207-623-7981, or by live-chat at https://www.MaineCareerCenter.gov .

Each of the twelve statewide centers provides public computers with internet access, Microsoft Office, resume/cover letter writing software, and O*Net software for personal skills assessment. Employers can list their open positions on Maine JobLink and use our online system which matches jobs with candidates. All CareerCenter services are provided at no charge to employers and job seekers. Veterans and eligible spouses receive priority of service in all Department of Labor programs.

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending July 31 Bookmark and Share

August 5, 2021

For Immediate Release: August 5, 2021

** Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending July 31**

AUGUSTA - For the week ending July 31, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 800 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 100 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). These numbers represent claim applications; claims are then reviewed for eligibility and legitimacy. In total, approximately 1,000 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.

Overall unemployment continued claims continue to decrease. About 8,200 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 9,700 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 14,500 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

For the same time period, roughly 3,100 unemployment claimants reported having partial earnings for the week. In many cases, people receiving unemployment benefits can work part-time and still retain the $300 weekly Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) offered by Congress through September 4, 2021. More information, including a walk-through video and "partial benefit calculator," can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/pub/

Reminder: Federal unemployment benefits end on September 4, 2021. The Department recommends that claimants take advantage of CareerCenter services. CareerCenters host a variety of job fairs as well as one-on-one meetings with a consultant, to develop employment or training plans. The CareerCenter can be reached by email at MaineDOL.CareerCenter@maine.gov, by phone at 207-623-7981, or by live-chat at https://www.MaineCareerCenter.gov .

Between March 15, 2020 and July 31, 2021, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $2.3 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits. Approximately $1.8 billion of the $2.3 billion was paid through federal unemployment programs.

The Department has handled approximately 271,400 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 113,600 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Note: Claims do not equal the number of unique unemployment claimants. There have been over 4.3 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html .

Work Search Requirement:

Individuals receiving unemployment are required to actively look for work and to accept positions for which they are reasonably qualified. A refusal to accept an offer of suitable work is grounds for disqualifying a person for benefits. More information on the requirement can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/faq/worksearch/ .

Whether or not currently unemployed, people looking for work should visit Maine JobLink, to find thousands of jobs posted, including remote work. Employers can post their jobs by registering with the Maine JobLink - https://joblink.maine.gov/ .

Employers who have tried to recall employees or have made job offers that have been declined, or who have scheduled an interview and the potential employee did not attend, can report those situations by using this online form - https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ucbr/ . The Department will determine whether the individual is receiving unemployment benefits, and, if so, determine whether they should remain eligible.

Employers can also participate in the WorkShare program - https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/workshare/ , which is designed to help employers avoid layoffs by allowing groups of workers to receive partial unemployment benefit payments while their employer reduces their hours. The employees are then subject to being called back when work expands.

Other Updates:

New CWRI Article on Pandemic Job Impact by Educational Attainment

MDOL's Center for Workforce Research and Information (CWRI) has published a new article titled Maines Labor Market During the Pandemic: Job Impact by Educational Attainment.

Some highlights include: - The labor market recovery in Maine has been robust but uneven - The lingering effects of job loss remain most concentrated among young people and those without a college education - Between the third quarter of 2019 (before the pandemic) and the third quarter of 2020, workers under 25 experienced the sharpest job reduction (down 17.6 percent) - Jobs were down approximately ten percent among workers with a high school diploma or equivalent or no diploma, 8.7 percent for those with some college or an associates degree, and 7.4 percent for those with a bachelors degree or higher (among those age 25 and over)

The full post can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/blogs/ImpactbyEducationalAttainment.pdf

Other recent blog articles can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/pubs.html

Hiring Events

Employers can work with the Maine CareerCenters to hold independent virtual, in-person, or drive-through hiring events. Information on upcoming workshops and events: https://www.mainecareercenter.gov .

Upcoming hiring event: On August 10, 2021 from 9 am-11 a.m., the York County CareerCenter and Biddeford Saco Chamber of Commerce and Industry will host a virtual hiring event featuring local employers. More information can be found here: https://www.mainecareercenter.com/locations/jobfair.shtml?id=5217597

Unemployment Texting Scam Alert

The Maine Department of Labor is warning the public of scammers attempts to phish individuals personal information via text message while posing as the Department. They will usually include links claiming to lead to information about unemployment benefits, which do not end in '.gov.

The Department is asking the public stay vigilant - it does not conduct business via text and will never ask for sensitive information via social media or text message. If an individual receives a text message about unemployment benefits, or from someone claiming to be the Department of Labor or Bureau of Unemployment Compensation, it is a scam and should be ignored.

Fraud Update

The U.S. Department of Labor has a website - https://www.dol.gov/agencies/eta/UIIDtheft for people to understand unemployment insurance identity theft, and how and where to report stolen benefits if they are victims.

The website provides key steps to help victims address issues that might arise because of previous identity theft and outlines steps to report the theft of unemployment benefits. To assist victims, the department worked closely with other federal agencies and state workforce agencies to consolidate necessary steps and resources.

The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims, and to evolve its fraud prevention techniques. During the week ending July 31, the Department cancelled 277 initial claims suspected to be fraudulent.

The Department strongly recommends that claimants use a password that is unique to their unemployment account and is not used for anything else.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/ .

MDOL Recommends Unemployment Claimants Call Thursdays and Fridays

If unemployment claimants have a question about their claim, the Department recommends that they call the unemployment phone line, 1-800-593-7660, between 8 am and 3 pm Monday-Friday. Call wait times continue to decrease on all days, however Thursdays and Fridays remain the days when call volume is at its lowest and usually have shorter wait times.

They can also leave a message 24/7 at https://www.maine.gov/labor/contact/index.html . They should only put in one message to avoid duplication.

2021 Maine Hire-A-Vet Campaign Kick-Off Event and State's Largest Hiring Fair to be Held August 26 Bookmark and Share

August 5, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 5, 2021

2021 Maine Hire-A-Vet Campaign Kick-Off Event and State's Largest Hiring Fair to be Held August 26

The campaigns goal is for 100+ employers to hire 100+ veterans during 100 days.

AUGUSTA - Maines annual Hire-A-Vet campaign - https://www.mainecareercenter.com/mhav/ , a statewide effort to commit at least 100 employers to hire at least 100 veterans and military family members during a 100-day period, is kicking off with an in-person hiring fair from noon to 4 p.m. on August 26 at the Augusta Civic Center, 76 Civic Center Drive.

Preceding the hiring fair, at 10 a.m., there will be a "Kickoff Opening Ceremony" featuring guest speakers such as MDOL Commissioner Laura Fortman.

The campaign is expecting to feature over 100 hiring employers and resource providers at the kickoff event, which is open to all job seekers, not just veterans.

Veterans have received valuable training during their military service that can transfer to in-demand civilian skills, said Labor Commissioner Laura Fortman. The Maine Hire-A-Vet Campaign is one tool we use to connect veterans with employers, and employers with the skilled workforce they are looking for. I encourage any veteran, or military spouse, searching for their next job, or an employer searching for their next employee, to consider participating in this years campaign, which will feature both in-person and virtual events.

The Maine Hire-A-Vet campaign provides support for employers to expand the hiring of veterans through a network of state and federal agencies, resources and nonprofits, education on military language and culture, recruiting and hiring assistance, and recognition for the hiring and advancement of veterans and military family members.

Employers can sign up to participate, and get more information, here: https://www.mainecareercenter.com/mhav/ . Employer registrations are due by August 20 in order to ensure space.

This years campaign will feature both in-person and virtual hiring events. The kickoff event will conform to current CDC COVID-19 guidance as of the day of the event.

During the entirely virtual 2020 Maine Hire-A-Vet Campaign - https://www.maine.gov/labor/news_events/article.shtml?id=4351630 , 226 employers participated, and 145 veterans and military family members were hired.

Since 2015, the Maine Department of Labor-Bureau of Employment Services Veterans Team, along with key partners, has been proud to facilitate the connection of 1,500 veteran jobseekers with over 900 great Maine employers! It has also been recognized as a best practice by the United States Department of Labor (USDOL) and the National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA). During this time, average wages have increased from $17.43 per hour in 2015 to $23.92 per hour in 2020.

The Maine Hire A Vet Campaign is a partnership between the Maine Department of Labor and its CareerCenters, Destination Occupation, Maine Bureau of Veterans Services, National Guard Employment Support Program, and the Augusta Civic Center. Learn more at https://www.mainecareercenter.gov/hireavet.shtml, and follow the campaign on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/mainehireavet

The 2021 Hire A Vet Campaign is made possible by the following: Bath Iron Works, Maine Department of Corrections, Maine Bureau of Veterans Services, Evergreen Home Performance, Moodys Collision Centers, Hancock Lumber, Reed & Reed, Northern Light Health, Destination Occupation.

Veterans, military family members and civilians seeking assistance in job search and training are encouraged to contact their closest Maine CareerCenter, which can be found online at https://www.mainecareercenter.gov/locations. Veterans Representatives and Career Counselors are available at each location.

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Claimants Who Did Not Submit Required Documents to Receive Eligibility Denial Bookmark and Share

August 6, 2021

For Immediate Release: August 6, 2021

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Claimants Who Did Not Submit Required Documents to Receive Eligibility Denial

Those who failed to provide documents can appeal the decision and provide documents within 15 days.

AUGUSTA - About 7,400 unemployment claimants who had received federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits did not provide federally required retroactive documentation by their August 4 deadline. They will be sent a decision denying their eligibility for the PUA program and warning of a possible requirement to repay benefits received. They will receive detailed information and next steps in the mail and in their ReEmployME online account correspondence.

Those who receive a denial decision and believe that they were eligible for the benefits they received can appeal - https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/appeals/ the decision and upload the requested documents within 15 days of the decision. To upload, they can log in to their ReEmployME account and click on 'Correspondences.' They can then select the correspondence titled "PUAP21" or PUAP90 and follow the instructions on how to upload documents for review. Uploading documents does not guarantee the denial decision will be re-determined, and an appeal must still be filed.

A denial decision and overpayment determination would require a claimant to repay any PUA benefits they received since the week ending January 2, 2021. They would also need to repay any Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (additional weekly $300) benefits that were paid for those weeks.

Background: As previously announced - https://www.maine.gov/labor/news_events/article.shtml?id=4575669 , it is a federal requirement that anyone who has received PUA benefits beginning with week ending January 2, 2021 must submit retroactive proof of employment to show that they were either employed or self-employed when they became unemployed as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We sent affected claimants a notice on May 6, 2021 requesting that they submit proof of employment no later than August 4, 2021. This notice and instructions could also be found in their online ReEmployME account. We also sent periodic reminder emails and mailed a second notice to those who had not yet provided their information.

If someone did not collect PUA benefits in 2020 but filed for PUA after 01/31/2021 (including if they are filing a claim for the first time now) they will get a similar notice that requires them to provide the documentation within 21 days of the notice mailing date - claimants should regularly check the correspondence tab in their ReEmployME account and look closely at what their deadline date is if they receive a letter.

More information on how to upload documents, including a walk-through video, can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/puaemployment/.

Maine DOL Participating in U.S. Digital Service UI Service Modernization Research Project Bookmark and Share

August 9, 2021

For Immediate Release: August 9, 2021

Maine DOL Participating in U.S. Digital Service UI Service Modernization Research Project

AUGUSTA - The Maine Department of Labor (MDOL) is announcing that, along with eight other states, it is participating in a U.S. Digital Service (USDS) - https://www.usds.gov/ research project aimed at modernizing the unemployment insurance service system nationwide.

"Today's workforce is very different from the 1930s when the unemployment insurance program was created. Although, the unemployment insurance program has provided tens of thousands of unemployed Maine workers the necessary funds to feed their families and meet basic needs, the pandemic has revealed cracks in this critical economic stabilizer. The program needs policy and technology updates to be prepared for and flexible in the face of future economic challenges," Commissioner Laura Fortman said. The UI Service Modernization research project is an exciting opportunity for states to work together toward long-term solutions. By participating in this new initiative, Maine will help shape the future of unemployment insurance. We are also committed to using this opportunity to explore ways to strengthen the bridge between temporary unemployment benefits and robust reemployment services.

The two-year research project, which is sponsored by U.S. DOL, will gather input from participating states to help determine what is needed for both shared services and state specific processes.

Goals of the project include:

  • Fight fraud utilizing federal data and cybersecurity resources
  • Federal support implementing federal programs
  • Improve timeliness and accuracy and reduce friction around claim adjudication and appeals to improve customer experience
  • Reduce tech burden on states with federally offered IT services as needed
  • Rethink customer experience metrics and incentives to add focus on claimant and employer experiences

USDS are designers, engineers, product managers, and procurement experts from diverse backgrounds across the public and private sectors. USDS partners with civil servants to solve critical technology challenges across the government.

MDOL Extends Deadline for 'Back to Work' Grant Program to Provide Employers More Time to Submit Applications Bookmark and Share

August 11, 2021

For Immediate Release: August 11, 2021

MDOL Extends Deadline for 'Back to Work' Grant Program to Provide Employers More Time to Submit Applications

AUGUSTA -The Maine Department of Labor (MDOL) announced today that it is extending the application deadline for the States "Back to Work" grant program to Friday, August 20, 2021. The extension will allow employers who did not file their application by the original August 6, 2021 deadline an additional two weeks to do so.

The program, launched in June 2021 as a short-term grant program to provide Maine businesses with another tool for attracting jobseekers, provides businesses with up to $1,500 grants to offer to qualifying new hires who accepted a job between June 15, 2021 and July 25, 2021.

As of August 6th, 386 employers are participating in the program with the Department finding more than 400 employees provisionally eligible, meaning that if they complete at least eight weeks at their new job they will receive the grant funding. Employees dont need to have completed the full eight weeks required to be eligible before the employer applies - the payroll verification to confirm length of employment will take place at a later stage. Of the 386 employers who have participated in the program, 41 percent were smaller businesses with less than 20 employees.Whileemployerparticipation crossed multiple industries,themost represented industries were healthcare and social assistance (19 percent), accommodation and food services (18 percent) and retail trade (13 percent).Employers from every county in the state applied for the program.

The Back to Work grant program is one of many tools we are using to help connect employers with job seekers, said Laura Fortman, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Labor. With Maine demonstrating that it is one of the safest states in the nation, Maine people are continuing to get back to work in steady numbers, and this program, which complements our other workforce programs, gave businesses one more tool to help attract new hires. We hope this two-week application deadline extension will give businesses more time to get any lingering applications in so we can maximize the help we are able to provide. In the meantime, CareerCenters have helped hundreds of employers refine job postings to reflect pandemic changes they made to recruit employees including updating benefits, increasing wages and providing flexible scheduling opportunities.

I am pleased that nearly 400 employers around the state, almost half of which were small businesses, took advantage of the Back to Workprogram, said Heather Johnson, Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development. Maine, like all states, is confronting a workforce shortage worsened by the pandemic, and we are pleased we were able to provide this tool alongside our other efforts to help get people back to work. We remain committed to finding solutions to the barriers that remain to families returningwork.

Maine added 11,200 jobs during the first quarter of 2021 and overall unemployment claims are steadily declining. During July 2021, unemployment claims dropped by about 2,000. Meanwhile,CareerCenterstaff assisted over 1,300 jobseekers with one-on-one basic employment services,546 jobseekers honed their skills by attending virtual re-employment focusedCareerCenterworkshops,and467 jobseekersconnectedwith employmentopportunitiesthroughvirtual and in-personhiring events.

Next Steps for Employers:

Employers now have through August 20 to submit applications for people hired between June 15 and July 25, 2021. After August20, the Back to Work application program will close and no new applications will be considered.

Once new provisionally eligible employees complete eight weeks of work,employers must then submit proof of payroll to verify their eligibility. Once that is completedand approved, the grant funds will be released to the employer to give to theiremployees. As a final step, employers will need to provide proof of payment to demonstrate the grant funds were passed along to the employee.

More information on the Back to Work program, including access to the application and detailed eligibility requirements, can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/covid19/back-to-work-grants

Other Resources for Jobseekers and Employers:

The Maine CareerCenters - https://www.mainecareercenter.gov/

  • Offers both jobseeker and employer services
  • Employers:To connect with your localCareerCentersBusiness Services Team, send an email to DOL@maine.gov or call theCareerCenterHotline at 207-623-7981.
  • Jobseekers:CareerCentershost a variety ofhiring eventsas well as one-on-one meetings with a consultant, to develop employment or training plans. TheCareerCentercan be reached by email atCareerCenter@maine.gov, by phone at 207-623-7981, or by live-chat at https://www.MaineCareerCenter.gov .

The Maine JobLink: - https://joblink.maine.gov/

  • Jobseekers can post their resume and search open jobs, and employers can post their open positions and browse resumes for free.
  • In July 2021, just over 24,000 unique visitors used MaineJobLink. Nearly 12,900 of users connected through targeted E-Blast campaigns featuring regional jobpostings, training opportunities, and hiring events.

The Re-Employment Services and Eligibility Assessment (RESEA) program: - https://www.maine.gov/labor/resea/

  • Launched in April 2021,the Department hasselected nearly 2,900 claimants to participate in opportunities such as one-on-one coaching and other relevant services to assist with reemployment by the end of the calendar year.

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending August 7 Bookmark and Share

August 12, 2021

For Immediate Release: August 12, 2021

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending August 7

AUGUSTA - For the week ending August 7, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 800 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 100 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). These numbers represent claim applications; claims are then reviewed for eligibility and legitimacy. In total, approximately 1,000 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.

Overall unemployment continued claims continue to decrease, decreasing about 640 from the previous week. About 7,900 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 9,500 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 14,400 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

For the same time period, roughly 3,100 unemployment claimants reported having partial earnings for the week. In many cases, people receiving unemployment benefits can work part-time and still retain the $300 weekly Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) offered by Congress through September 4, 2021. More information, including a walk-through video and "partial benefit calculator," can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/pub/

Reminder: Federal unemployment benefits end on September 4, 2021. The Department recommends that claimants take advantage of CareerCenter services. CareerCenters host a variety of hiring events - https://www.mainecareercenter.com/employment/hiringevents/ as well as one-on-one meetings with a consultant, to develop employment or training plans. The CareerCenter can be reached by email at MaineDOL.CareerCenter@maine.gov, by phone at 207-623-7981, or by live-chat at https://www.MaineCareerCenter.gov .

Between March 15, 2020 and August 7, 2021, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $2.4 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits. Approximately $1.8 billion of the $2.4 billion was paid through federal unemployment programs.

The Department has handled approximately 272,200 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 113,700 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Note: Claims do not equal the number of unique unemployment claimants. There have been over 4.4 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html

Work Search Requirement:

Individuals receiving unemployment are required to actively look for work and to accept positions for which they are reasonably qualified. A refusal to accept an offer of suitable work is grounds for disqualifying a person for benefits. More information on the requirement can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/faq/worksearch/

Whether or not currently unemployed, people looking for work should visit Maine JobLink - https://joblink.maine.gov/ , to find thousands of jobs posted, including remote work. Employers can post their jobs by registering with the Maine JobLink.

Employers who have tried to recall employees or have made job offers that have been declined, or who have scheduled an interview and the potential employee did not attend, can report those by using the following online form - https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ucbr/ . The Department will determine whether the individual is receiving unemployment benefits, and, if so, determine whether they should remain eligible.

Employers can also participate in the WorkShare program - https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/workshare/ , which is designed to help employers avoid layoffs by allowing groups of workers to receive partial unemployment benefit payments while their employer reduces their hours. The employees are then subject to being called back when work expands.

Other Updates:

MDOL Extends Deadline for 'Back to Work' Grant Program to Provide Employers More Time to Submit Applications

MDOL announced - https://www.maine.gov/labor/news_events/article.shtml?id=5325338 that it is extending the application deadline for the State's "Back to Work" grant program to Friday, August 20, 2021. The extension will allow employers who did not file their application by the original August 6, 2021 deadline an additional two weeks to do so.

The program, launched in June 2021 as a short-term grant program to provide Maine businesses with another tool for attracting jobseekers, provides businesses with up to $1,500 grants to offer to qualifying new hires who accepted a job between June 15, 2021 and July 25, 2021.

As of August 6th, 386 employers are participating in the program with the Department finding more than 400 employees provisionally eligible, meaning that if they complete at least eight weeks at their new job they will receive the grant funding. Employees dont need to have completed the full eight weeks required to be eligible before the employer applies - the payroll verification to confirm length of employment will take place at a later stage. Of the 386 employers who have participated in the program, 41 percent were smaller businesses with less than 20 employees. While employer participation crossed multiple industries, the most represented industries were healthcare and social assistance (19 percent), accommodation and food services (18 percent) and retail trade (13 percent). Employers from every county in the state applied for the program.

Maine added 13,700 jobs so far in 2021 and overall unemployment claims are steadily declining. During July 2021, unemployment claims dropped by about 2,000. Meanwhile, CareerCenter staff assisted over 1,300 jobseekers with one-on-one basic employment services, 546 jobseekers honed their skills by attending virtual re-employment focused CareerCenter workshops, and 467 jobseekers connected with employment opportunities through virtual and in-person hiring events.

Next Steps for Employers:

Employers now have through August 20 to submit applications for people hired between June 15 and July 25, 2021. After August20, the Back to Work application program will close and no new applications will be considered.

Once new provisionally eligible employees complete eight weeks of work,employers must then submit proof of payroll to verify their eligibility. Once that is completedand approved, the grant funds will be released to the employer to give to theiremployees. As a final step, employers will need to provide proof of payment to demonstrate the grant funds were passed along to the employee.

More information on the Back to Work program, including access to the application and detailed eligibility requirements, can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/covid19/back-to-work-grants

Maine DOL Participating in U.S. Digital Service UI Service Modernization Research Project

MDOL announced - https://www.maine.gov/labor/news_events/article.shtml?id=5307650 that, along with eight other states, it is participating in a U.S. Digital Service (USDS) - https://www.usds.gov/ research project aimed at modernizing the unemployment insurance service system nationwide.

The two-year research project, which is sponsored by U.S. DOL, will gather input from participating states to help determine what is needed for both shared services and state specific processes.

Goals of the project include:

  • Fight fraud utilizing federal data and cybersecurity resources
  • Federal support implementing federal programs
  • Improve timeliness and accuracy and reduce friction around claim adjudication and appeals to improve customer experience
  • Reduce tech burden on states with federally offered IT services as needed
  • Rethink customer experience metrics and incentives to add focus on claimant and employer experiences

USDS are designers, engineers, product managers, and procurement experts from diverse backgrounds across the public and private sectors. USDS partners with civil servants to solve critical technology challenges across the government.

Hiring Events

Employers can work with the Maine CareerCenters to hold independent virtual, in-person, or drive-through hiring events. Information on upcoming workshops and events: https://www.mainecareercenter.gov .

Upcoming hiring event: On August 15, 2021 from 10 am-2 p.m., the United States Postal Service will be holding a hiring event at the Bath Post Office, 750 Washington Street, in Bath. More information can be found here: https://www.mainecareercenter.com/locations/jobfair.shtml?id=5296966

Reminder: those who receive a denial letter for not providing required documents have 15 days to appeal the decision

As previously announced - https://www.maine.gov/labor/news_events/article.shtml?id=5304036 , about 7,400 unemployment claimants who had received federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits did not provide federally required retroactive documentation by their August 4 deadline. They have been sent a decision denying their eligibility for the PUA program and warning of a possible requirement to repay benefits received. Detailed information and next steps were sent in the mail and in their ReEmployME online account correspondence.

Those who receive a denial decision and believe that they were eligible for the benefits they received can appeal - https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/appeals/ the decision and upload the requested documents within 15 days of the decision. To upload, they can log in to their ReEmployME account and click on 'Correspondences.' They can then select the correspondence titled "PUAP21" or PUAP90 and follow the instructions on how to upload documents for review. Uploading documents does not guarantee the denial decision will be re-determined, and an appeal must still be filed.

A denial decision and overpayment determination would require a claimant to repay any PUA benefits they received since the week ending January 2, 2021. They would also need to repay any Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (additional weekly $300) benefits that were paid for those weeks.

If someone did not collect PUA benefits in 2020 but filed for PUA after 01/31/2021 (including if they are filing a claim for the first time now) they will get a similar notice that requires them to provide the documentation within 21 days of the notice mailing date - claimants should regularly check the correspondence tab in their ReEmployME account and look closely at what their deadline date is if they receive a letter.

More information on how to upload documents, including a walk-through video, can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/puaemployment/.

Fraud Update

The U.S. Department of Labor has a website - https://www.dol.gov/agencies/eta/UIIDtheft for people to understand unemployment insurance identity theft, and how and where to report stolen benefits if they are victims.

The website provides key steps to help victims address issues that might arise because of previous identity theft and outlines steps to report the theft of unemployment benefits. To assist victims, the department worked closely with other federal agencies and state workforce agencies to consolidate necessary steps and resources.

The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims, and to evolve its fraud prevention techniques.

During the week ending August 7, the Department cancelled 198 initial claims suspected to be fraudulent.

The Department strongly recommends that claimants use a password that is unique to their unemployment account and is not used for anything else.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/

MDOL Recommends Unemployment Claimants Call Thursdays and Fridays

If unemployment claimants have a question about their claim, the Department recommends that they call the unemployment phone line, 1-800-593-7660, between 8 am and 3 pm Monday-Friday. Call wait times continue to decrease on all days, however Thursdays and Fridays remain the days when call volume is at its lowest and usually have shorter wait times.

They can also leave a message 24/7 at https://www.maine.gov/labor/contact/index.html . They should only put in one message to avoid duplication.

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending August 14 Bookmark and Share

August 19, 2021

For Immediate Release: August 19, 2021

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending August 14

AUGUSTA - For the week ending August 14, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 800 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 100 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). These numbers represent claim applications; claims are then reviewed for eligibility and legitimacy. In total, approximately 900 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.

Overall, weekly unemployment claims continue to decrease, with about 1,800 fewer claims filed last week than the week before that. About 7,900 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 7,700 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 14,300 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

For the same time period, roughly 2,900 unemployment claimants reported having partial earnings for the week. In many cases, people receiving unemployment benefits can work part-time and still retain the $300 weekly Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) offered by Congress through September 4, 2021. More information, including a walk-through video and "partial benefit calculator," can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/pub/ .

Reminder: Federal unemployment benefits end on September 4, 2021. The Department recommends that claimants take advantage of CareerCenter services. CareerCenters host a variety of hiring events - https://www.mainecareercenter.com/employment/hiringevents/ as well as one-on-one meetings with a consultant, to develop employment or training plans. The CareerCenter can be reached by email at MaineDOL.CareerCenter@maine.gov, by phone at 207-623-7981, or by live-chat at https://www.MaineCareerCenter.gov .

Between March 15, 2020 and August 14, 2021, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $2.4 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits. Approximately $1.8 billion of the $2.4 billion was paid through federal unemployment programs.

The Department has handled approximately 273,000 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 113,800 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Note: Claims do not equal the number of unique unemployment claimants. There have been over 4.4 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html .

Individuals receiving unemployment are required to actively look for work and to accept positions for which they are reasonably qualified. A refusal to accept an offer of suitable work is grounds for disqualifying a person for benefits. More information on the requirement can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/faq/worksearch/ .

Whether or not currently unemployed, people looking for work should visit Maine JobLink - https://joblink.maine.gov/ , to find thousands of jobs posted, including remote work. Employers can post their jobs by registering with the Maine JobLink.

Employers who have tried to recall employees or have made job offers that have been declined, or who have scheduled an interview and the potential employee did not attend, can report those situations by using this online form - https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ucbr/ . The Department will determine whether the individual is receiving unemployment benefits, and, if so, determine whether they should remain eligible.

Employers can also participate in the WorkShare program - https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/workshare/ , which is designed to help employers avoid layoffs by allowing groups of workers to receive partial unemployment benefit payments while their employer reduces their hours. The employees are then subject to being called back when work expands.

Other Updates:

Hiring Events

Employers can work with the Maine CareerCenters to hold independent virtual, in-person, or drive-through hiring events. Information on upcoming workshops and events: https://www.mainecareercenter.gov

Upcoming hiring event: On August 26, 2021 from noon -4 p.m., the Maine Hire-A-Vet Campaign will kick off with a hiring fair at the Augusta Civic Center. The opening ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. More information can be found here: https://www.mainecareercenter.com/mhav/

Reminder: those who receive a denial letter for not providing required documents have 15 days to appeal the decision

As previously announced - https://www.maine.gov/labor/news_events/article.shtml?id=5304036 , claimants who do not provide required documentation by their individual deadline are sent a decision denying their eligibility for the PUA program and warning of a possible requirement to repay benefits received. Detailed information and next steps were sent in the mail and in their ReEmployME online account correspondence.

Those who receive a denial decision and believe that they were eligible for the benefits they received can appeal - https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/appeals/ the decision and upload the requested documents within 15 days of the decision. To upload, they can log in to their ReEmployME account and click on 'Correspondences.' They can then select the correspondence titled "PUAP21" or PUAP90 and follow the instructions on how to upload documents for review. Uploading documents does not guarantee the denial decision will be re-determined, and an appeal must still be filed.

A denial decision and overpayment determination would require a claimant to repay any PUA benefits they received since the week ending January 2, 2021. They would also need to repay any Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (additional weekly $300) benefits that were paid for those weeks.

If someone did not collect PUA benefits in 2020 but filed for PUA after 01/31/2021 (including if they are filing a claim for the first time now) they will get a similar notice that requires them to provide the documentation within 21 days of the notice mailing date - claimants should regularly check the correspondence tab in their ReEmployME account and look closely at what their deadline date is if they receive a letter.

More information on how to upload documents, including a walk-through video, can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/puaemployment/ .

Fraud Update

The U.S. Department of Labor has a website - https://www.dol.gov/agencies/eta/UIIDtheft for people to understand unemployment insurance identity theft, and how and where to report stolen benefits if they are victims.

The website provides key steps to help victims address issues that might arise because of previous identity theft and outlines steps to report the theft of unemployment benefits. To assist victims, the department worked closely with other federal agencies and state workforce agencies to consolidate necessary steps and resources.

The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims, and to evolve its fraud prevention techniques.

During the week ending August 14, the Department cancelled 90 initial claims suspected to be fraudulent.

The Department strongly recommends that claimants use a password that is unique to their unemployment account and is not used for anything else.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/ .

MDOL Recommends Unemployment Claimants Call Thursdays and Fridays

If unemployment claimants have a question about their claim, the Department recommends that they call the unemployment phone line, 1-800-593-7660, between 8 am and 3 pm Monday-Friday. Call wait times continue to decrease on all days, however Thursdays and Fridays remain the days when call volume is at its lowest and usually have shorter wait times.

They can also leave a message 24/7 at https://www.maine.gov/labor/contact/index.html . They should only put in one message to avoid duplication.

Employment Situation in Maine - July 2021 Bookmark and Share

August 20, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 20, 2021

Employment Situation in Maine - July 2021

AUGUSTA The employment situation in Maine continued to gradually improve in July from the effects of the pandemic:

  • Payroll jobs increased by 1,200
  • Labor force participation increased
  • The unemployment rate was little changed at 4.9 percent

Seasonally Adjusted Estimates

Nonfarm Payroll Jobs Estimates The number of nonfarm payroll jobs increased by 1,200 to 617,500 in July and the estimate for June was upwardly revised by 1,400. Over the two-month period the state gained 5,600 jobs. Most of the July gain was in the public education and professional and business services sectors. Those and smaller gains in other sectors were partly offset by a decrease leisure and hospitality jobs, which partially reversed a large gain in June.

(The pandemic has disrupted normal seasonal buildup and layoff patterns in some sectors. Job gains in the leisure and hospitality sector were larger than usual in June and somewhat less than usual in July, causing a decrease in jobs in the sector in July after seasonal adjustment. In public education the number of jobs was lower than usual preceding the end of the school year, so the smaller than usual seasonal decrease in July was an increase after seasonal adjustment.)

The number of payroll jobs increased 40,800 from a year-ago. The largest over the year gains were in the leisure and hospitality, manufacturing, retail trade, professional and business services, and public and private education sectors.

In July there remained 22,500 fewer jobs than in February 2020, before the virus impacted the labor market. The 3.5 percent net decrease during that period is close to the 3.7 percent U.S. decrease. Jobs remained down the most in leisure and hospitality, public and private education (K-12 and higher ed), and healthcare and social assistance than in the month before the pandemic began to impact the state.

There were more jobs in the professional and business services and wholesale trade sectors in July than before the pandemic, and several other sectors were close to pre-pandemic levels.

Labor Force and Unemployment Estimates The number of unemployed increased 700 in July to 33,200 and the unemployment rate edged up to 4.9 percent. The small increase in unemployment occurred because labor force participation increased slightly more than employment did. The labor force participation rate increased 0.3 percentage points to 60.4 percent to the highest rate in 12 months; the employment to population ratio increased 0.2 points to 57.4 percent to the highest rate in 16 months.

Compared to February 2020, the unemployment rate in July was 1.8 percentage points higher, the labor force participation rate was 2.2 points lower, and the employment to population ratio was 3.3 points lower

The decrease in employment since February 2020 is partially reflected in the 11,500 increase in the number of unemployed. The remainder of the decrease in employment is reflected in lower labor force participation. If participation was as high in July as 17 months earlier, the unemployment rate would be 8.3 percent. (Unemployed are jobless people who were available and seeking work. Jobless people who were not available for work due to health, childcare, or other reasons, or who did not seek work are not considered to be in the labor force and are not counted as unemployed.)

U.S and New England Unemployment Rates The U.S. and New England unemployment rates were 5.4 percent and 5.2 percent in July. Rates for other states in the region were 2.9 percent in New Hampshire, 3.0 percent in Vermont, 4.9 percent in Massachusetts, 5.8 percent in Rhode Island, and 7.3 percent in Connecticut.

Substate Not Seasonally Adjusted Estimates

The not seasonally adjusted statewide unemployment rate of 5.0 percent for July was down from 8.4 percent one year ago. Unemployment rates were lowest in Knox, Lincoln, and Sagadahoc counties (4.3 percent) and highest in Somerset County (7.3 percent).

Unemployment rates were below the statewide average in the Portland-South Portland metro area (4.5 percent), at the average in the Bangor metro (5.0 percent), and above the average in the Lewiston-Auburn metro (5.7 percent).

August workforce estimates will be released Friday, September 17 at 10 a.m. (Data Release Schedule - https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/releaseDates.html ).

Monthly workforce estimates are cooperatively produced and released by the Maine Department of Labor, Center for Workforce Research and Information and the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

NOTES

  1. Preliminary seasonally-adjusted labor force estimates, including rates (labor force participation, employment, and unemployment rates), and levels (labor force, employed, and unemployed) tend to move in a direction for several months and then reverse course. Those directional trends are largely driven by a smoothing procedure and may not indicate a change in underlying workforce conditions. Annual revisions (published in March each year) tend to moderate or eliminate those directional patterns. A comparison of 2020 preliminary and revised estimates of labor force and unemployment rates, as well as nonfarm payroll jobs, is available at maine.gov/labor/cwri/blogs/2021workforcedata_revisions.pdf

  2. The 90 percent confidence interval for statewide unemployment rates for July is 0.9 percentage points above or below the published estimate.

  3. To assess job growth, we recommend looking at nonfarm jobs from the payroll survey rather than at resident employment from the household survey. The payroll survey is larger, has smaller margins of error, and is subject to smaller revisions. A 2016 blog on the differences in accuracy of the two measures provides more context at maine.gov/labor/cwri/blogs/imprecise_data.pdf

  4. Nonfarm payroll jobs estimates tend to be volatile from month to month because there is variability in the sample of reporting employers and their representativeness for the universe of all employers. Additionally, seasonal adjustment is imperfect because weather, the beginning and ending of school semesters, holidays, and other events do not always occur with the same timing relative to the pay period that includes the 12th day of the month, which is the survey reference period. This sometimes exacerbates monthly volatility. Users should look to the trend over multiple months rather than the change from one specific month to another. Estimates for the period from April 2020 to September 2021 will be replaced with actual payroll data in March 2022. Those benchmark revisions are likely to show less volatility than preliminary estimates do.

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending August 21 Bookmark and Share

August 26, 2021

For Immediate Release: August 26, 2021

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending August 21

AUGUSTA - For the week ending August 21, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 750 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 100 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). These numbers represent claim applications; claims are then reviewed for eligibility and legitimacy. In total, approximately 960 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.

Overall, weekly unemployment claims continue to decrease, with about 200 fewer claims filed last week than the week before that. About 7,500 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 7,880 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 14,300 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

For the same time period, roughly 3,200 unemployment claimants reported having partial earnings for the week. In many cases, people receiving unemployment benefits can work part-time and still retain the $300 weekly Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) offered by Congress through September 4, 2021. More information, including a walk-through video and "partial benefit calculator," can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/pub/

Reminder: Federal unemployment benefits end on September 4, 2021. The Department recommends that claimants take advantage of CareerCenter services. CareerCenters host a variety of hiring events - https://www.mainecareercenter.com/employment/hiringevents/ as well as one-on-one meetings with a consultant, to develop employment or training plans. The CareerCenter can be reached by email at MaineDOL.CareerCenter@maine.gov, by phone at 207-623-7981, or by live-chat at https://www.MaineCareerCenter.gov .

Between March 15, 2020 and August 21, 2021, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $2.4 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits. Approximately $1.8 billion of the $2.4 billion was paid through federal unemployment programs.

The Department has handled approximately 273,750 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 113,950 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Note: Claims do not equal the number of unique unemployment claimants. There have been over 4.45 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html

Work Search Requirement:

Individuals receiving unemployment are required to actively look for work and to accept positions for which they are reasonably qualified. A refusal to accept an offer of suitable work is grounds for disqualifying a person for benefits. More information on the requirement can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/faq/worksearch/

Whether or not currently unemployed, people looking for work should visit Maine JobLink - https://joblink.maine.gov/ , to find thousands of jobs posted, including remote work. Employers can post their jobs by registering with the Maine JobLink.

Employers who have tried to recall employees or have made job offers that have been declined, or who have scheduled an interview and the potential employee did not attend, can report those situations at this online form - https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ucbr/ . The Department will determine whether the individual is receiving unemployment benefits, and, if so, determine whether they should remain eligible.

Employers can also participate in the WorkShare program - https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/workshare/ , which is designed to help employers avoid layoffs by allowing groups of workers to receive partial unemployment benefit payments while their employer reduces their hours. The employees are then subject to being called back when work expands.

Other Updates:

Hiring Events

Employers can work with the Maine CareerCenters to hold independent virtual, in-person, or drive-through hiring events. Information on upcoming workshops and events: https://www.mainecareercenter.gov

Upcoming virtual hiring event: On September 2, 2021 from 2 -4 p.m., the Maine CareerCenters will host a statewide virtual hiring event, featuring a variety of employers and industries. More information, and registration, can be found here: https://www.mainecareercenter.com/locations/jobfair.shtml?id=5328886

Reminder: those who receive a denial letter for not providing required documents have 15 days to appeal the decision.

As previously announced - https://www.maine.gov/labor/news_events/article.shtml?id=5304036 , claimants who do not provide required documentation by their individual deadline are sent a decision denying their eligibility for the PUA program and warning of a possible requirement to repay benefits received. Detailed information and next steps were sent in the mail and in their ReEmployME online account correspondence.

Those who receive a denial decision and believe that they were eligible for the benefits they received can appeal - https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/appeals/ the decision and upload the requested documents within 15 days of the decision. To upload, they can log in to their ReEmployME account and click on 'Correspondences.' They can then select the correspondence titled "PUAP21" or PUAP90 and follow the instructions on how to upload documents for review. Uploading documents does not guarantee the denial decision will be re-determined, and an appeal must still be filed.

A denial decision and overpayment determination would require a claimant to repay any PUA benefits they received since the week ending January 2, 2021. They would also need to repay any Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (additional weekly $300) benefits that were paid for those weeks.

If someone did not collect PUA benefits in 2020 but filed for PUA after 01/31/2021 (including if they are filing a claim for the first time now) they will get a similar notice that requires them to provide the documentation within 21 days of the notice mailing date - claimants should regularly check the correspondence tab in their ReEmployME account and look closely at what their deadline date is if they receive a letter.

More information on how to upload documents, including a walk-through video, can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/puaemployment/ .

Fraud Update

The U.S. Department of Labor has a website - https://www.dol.gov/agencies/eta/UIIDtheft for people to understand unemployment insurance identity theft, and how and where to report stolen benefits if they are victims.

The website provides key steps to help victims address issues that might arise because of previous identity theft and outlines steps to report the theft of unemployment benefits. To assist victims, the department worked closely with other federal agencies and state workforce agencies to consolidate necessary steps and resources.

The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims, and to evolve its fraud prevention techniques.

During the week ending August 21, the Department cancelled 86 initial claims suspected to be fraudulent.

The Department strongly recommends that claimants use a password that is unique to their unemployment account and is not used for anything else.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/

The Center for Workforce Research and Information has launched a new website: Maine Employers and Employment by Size and Industry https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/qcew4.html

Explore this dataset of private employers who are classified in the data by total number of jobs (size class). These data can be used to better understand how employers of different sizes comprise Maine's labor market, by industry and by region. The interactive data visualization contains three ways to view the data. On the first tab, data users can view the total number of employer establishments by size and industry. On the second tab, data users can see how many employer establishments there are of various sizes in each county throughout the state. The third tab displays data on employment by size class, which can be used to better understand how jobs are distributed across employer establishments of different sizes.

MDOL Recommends Unemployment Claimants Call Thursdays and Fridays

If unemployment claimants have a question about their claim, the Department recommends that they call the unemployment phone line, 1-800-593-7660, between 8 am and 3 pm Monday-Friday. Call wait times continue to decrease on all days, however Thursdays and Fridays remain the days when call volume is at its lowest and usually have shorter wait times. They can also leave a message 24/7 at https://www.maine.gov/labor/contact/index.html. They should only put in one message to avoid duplication.

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending August 28 Bookmark and Share

September 2, 2021

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending August 28

Weekly claims are the lowest since March 2020

AUGUSTA - For the week ending August 28, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 700 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 100 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). These numbers represent claim applications; claims are then reviewed for eligibility and legitimacy. In total, approximately 900 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.

Overall, weekly unemployment claims continue to decrease, with almost 300 fewer claims filed last week than the week before that. The number of weekly claims filed were the lowest since March 2020. About 7,000 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 8,000 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 14,400 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

For the same time period, roughly 2,800 unemployment claimants reported having partial earnings for the week. In many cases, people receiving unemployment benefits can work part-time and still retain the $300 weekly Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) offered by Congress through September 4, 2021. More information, including a walk-through video and "partial benefit calculator," can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/pub/

Reminder: Federal unemployment benefits end on September 4, 2021. The Department recommends that claimants take advantage of CareerCenter services. CareerCenters host a variety of hiring events - https://www.mainecareercenter.com/employment/hiringevents/ as well as one-on-one meetings with a consultant, to develop employment or training plans. The CareerCenter can be reached by email at MaineDOL.CareerCenter@maine.gov, by phone at 207-623-7981, or by live-chat at https://www.MaineCareerCenter.gov .

Between March 15, 2020 and August 28, 2021, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $2.4 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits. Approximately $1.8 billion of the $2.4 billion was paid through federal unemployment programs.

The Department has handled approximately 274,500 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 114,000 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Note: Claims do not equal the number of unique unemployment claimants. There have been over 4.4 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html

Work Search Requirement:

Individuals receiving unemployment are required to actively look for work and to accept positions for which they are reasonably qualified. A refusal to accept an offer of suitable work is grounds for disqualifying a person for benefits. More information on the requirement can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/faq/worksearch/

Whether or not currently unemployed, people looking for work should visit Maine JobLink, to find thousands of jobs posted, including remote work. Employers can post their jobs by registering with the Maine JobLink - https://joblink.maine.gov/ .

Employers who have tried to recall employees or have made job offers that have been declined, or who have scheduled an interview and the potential employee did not attend, can report those situations by using this online form - https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ucbr/ . The Department will determine whether the individual is receiving unemployment benefits, and, if so, determine whether they should remain eligible.

Employers can also participate in the WorkShare program - https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/workshare/ , which is designed to help employers avoid layoffs by allowing groups of workers to receive partial unemployment benefit payments while their employer reduces their hours. The employees are then subject to being called back when work expands.

Other Updates:

Hiring Events

Employers can work with the Maine CareerCenters to hold independent virtual, in-person, or drive-through hiring events. Information on upcoming workshops and events: https://www.mainecareercenter.gov

Upcoming virtual hiring event: On September 8, 2021 from 10 a.m. - noon, the Lewiston CareerCenter will host an outdoor hiring event, featuring a variety of local employers and industries. More information can be found here: https://www.mainecareercenter.com/locations/jobfair.shtml?id=5332483

Fraud Update

The U.S. Department of Labor has a website - https://www.dol.gov/agencies/eta/UIIDtheft for people to understand unemployment insurance identity theft, and how and where to report stolen benefits if they are victims.

The website provides key steps to help victims address issues that might arise because of previous identity theft and outlines steps to report the theft of unemployment benefits. To assist victims, the department worked closely with other federal agencies and state workforce agencies to consolidate necessary steps and resources.

The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims, and to evolve its fraud prevention techniques.

During the week ending August 28, the Department cancelled 96 initial claims suspected to be fraudulent.

The Department strongly recommends that claimants use a password that is unique to their unemployment account and is not used for anything else. The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/

MDOL Recommends Unemployment Claimants Call Thursdays and Fridays

If unemployment claimants have a question about their claim, the Department recommends that they call the unemployment phone line, 1-800-593-7660, between 8 am and 3 pm Monday-Friday. Call wait times continue to decrease on all days, however Thursdays and Fridays remain the days when call volume is at its lowest and usually have shorter wait times. They can also leave a message 24/7 at https://www.maine.gov/labor/contact/index.html. They should only put in one message to avoid duplication.

Maine Department of Labor Encourages Employers to Evaluate Hiring Strategies to Remove Barriers Bookmark and Share

September 7, 2021

For Immediate Release: September 7, 2021

Maine Department of Labor Encourages Employers to Evaluate Hiring Strategies to Remove Barriers

MDOL's Division of Vocational Rehabilitation partners with employers to match them with Maines underemployed

AUGUSTA- Designed to meet Maines immediate and ongoing workforce needs, the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) is helping Mainers with disabilities seize job opportunities and employers find the talent they need in this tight labor market. September is Workforce Development Month, and it comes at a time when the country is experiencing a challenging labor market.

"As the economy continues to improve, the Maine Department of Labor is focused on connecting employers with the jobseekers they need to thrive, including those who have often been left on the sidelines," said MDOL Commissioner Laura Fortman. "I encourage businesses to have equal and inclusive hiring policies, to re-evaluate hiring barriers that have often prevented applicants from consideration, and to consider working with our Department. There are many people who are eager to gain employment and contribute to their communities, yet hiring barriers prevent them from doing so."

Maines Department of Labor announced in July that 16,300 jobs had been added since the beginning of 2021, yet many employers are struggling to fill vacancies. The programs goal is to connect employers to historically underemployed Mainers to gain new traction and ease the labor challenges Maine businesses are facing.

DVR matches employers with employees through informational interviews, job shadows, paid work experiences, and on-the-job training. With todays immediate need for workers, the states goal is to facilitate relationships with employers as they navigate a tight labor market, and to create opportunities for Mainers with disabilities to establish viable career pathways.

In 2020, DVR served over 9,000 individuals through job placement and training, continuing education, and on-site job support.

"This program is a win-win," said Dan Roy, District Manager for Sodexo, a global food service provider, and a large Maine employer. "Sodexo is committed to long-term team building-- DVR's program helps with our retention efforts and also positions new employees for continued professional growth."

"Sodexo made the hiring process simple for me. They've been great to work with," said Eric Vorous, who was recently hired as a barista at the University of Maine at Farmington cafe through the DVR program.

Businesses interested in partnering with the Department of Labor to participate in this program and create new employment opportunities can call 1-855-ALL-HIRE.

More information on the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/rehab/dvr/vr.shtml

Photo: Eric Vorous in his Sodexo uniform.

Eric Vorous in his Sodexo uniform.

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending September 4 Bookmark and Share

September 9, 2021

For Immediate Release: September 9, 2021

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending September 4

Week ending September 4 is the last week of federal unemployment benefits.

AUGUSTA - For the week ending September 4, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 700 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 100 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). These numbers represent claim applications; claims are then reviewed for eligibility and legitimacy. In total, approximately 900 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.

Overall, weekly unemployment claims continue to decrease. About 6,800 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 8,200 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 14,500 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

For the same time period, roughly 2,800 unemployment claimants reported having partial earnings for the week. More information, including a walk-through video and "partial benefit calculator," can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/pub/

Federal unemployment benefits ended on September 4, 2021. The Department recommends that claimants take advantage of CareerCenter services. CareerCenters host a variety of hiring events - https://www.mainecareercenter.com/employment/hiringevents/ as well as one-on-one meetings with a consultant, to develop employment or training plans. The CareerCenter can be reached by email at MaineDOL.CareerCenter@maine.gov, by phone at 207-623-7981, or by live-chat at https://www.MaineCareerCenter.gov .

Between March 15, 2020 and September 4, 2021, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $2.4 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits. Approximately $1.8 billion of the $2.4 billion was paid through federal unemployment programs.

The Department has handled approximately 275,100 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 114,200 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Note: Claims do not equal the number of unique unemployment claimants. There have been over 4.5 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html

Work Search Requirement:

Individuals receiving unemployment are required to actively look for work and to accept positions for which they are reasonably qualified. A refusal to accept an offer of suitable work is grounds for disqualifying a person for benefits. More information on the requirement can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/faq/worksearch/

Whether or not currently unemployed, people looking for work should visit Maine JobLink - https://joblink.maine.gov/, to find thousands of jobs posted, including remote work. Employers can post their jobs by registering with the Maine JobLink.

Employers who have tried to recall employees or have made job offers that have been declined, or who have scheduled an interview and the potential employee did not attend, can report those situations by using this online form - https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ucbr/ . The Department will determine whether the individual is receiving unemployment benefits, and, if so, determine whether they should remain eligible.

Employers can also participate in the WorkShare program - https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/workshare/, which is designed to help employers avoid layoffs by allowing groups of workers to receive partial unemployment benefit payments while their employer reduces their hours. The employees are then subject to being called back when work expands.

Other Updates:

Hiring Events

Employers can work with the Maine CareerCenters to hold independent virtual, in-person, or drive-through hiring events. Information on upcoming workshops and events: https://www.mainecareercenter.gov

Upcoming hiring event: On September 16, 2021 from 10 a.m. - noon, the Southern Midcoast CareerCenter in Brunswick will host an outdoor hiring event, featuring a variety of local employers and industries. More information and a list of participating employers can be found here: https://www.mainecareercenter.com/locations/jobfair.shtml?id=5332485

Fraud Update

The U.S. Department of Labor has a website - https://www.dol.gov/agencies/eta/UIIDtheft, for people to understand unemployment insurance identity theft, and how and where to report stolen benefits if they are victims.

The website provides key steps to help victims address issues that might arise because of previous identity theft and outlines steps to report the theft of unemployment benefits. To assist victims, the department worked closely with other federal agencies and state workforce agencies to consolidate necessary steps and resources.

The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims, and to evolve its fraud prevention techniques.

During the week ending September 4, the Department cancelled 117 initial claims suspected to be fraudulent.

The Department strongly recommends that claimants use a password that is unique to their unemployment account and is not used for anything else.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/

MDOL Recommends Unemployment Claimants Call Thursdays and Fridays

If unemployment claimants have a question about their claim, the Department recommends that they call the unemployment phone line, 1-800-593-7660, between 8 am and 3 pm Monday-Friday. Call wait times continue to decrease on all days, however Thursdays and Fridays remain the days when call volume is at its lowest and usually have shorter wait times. They can also leave a message 24/7 at https://www.maine.gov/labor/contact/index.html. They should only put in one message to avoid duplication.

Maine's Annual Tea Celebrating Deaf Culture Happening September 16 Bookmark and Share

September 14, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 13, 2021

Maine's Annual Tea Celebrating Deaf Culture Happening September 16

AUGUSTA - In celebration of Deaf culture and the heritage of American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf literature, art and folklore, Governor Janet T. Mills has issued a proclamation designating the week of Sept. 19 through 25, 2021, as Deaf Culture Week. The Commission for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Late Deafened will hold its 30th Annual Deaf Culture Award Ceremony and Tea virtually on September 16 from 2 to 4 p.m.

"The Deaf community has its own language, culture, history and traditions which have shaped our state for generations. The many contributions of Deaf people to the State of Maine should be celebrated," said Governor Mills. I am honored to declare September 19 through September 25 as Deaf Culture Week and thank the Department of Labor for recognizing the achievements of all Maine people.

The 30th Annual Award Ceremony and Tea will take place on Sept. 16, 2021, from 2 to 4 p.m., virtually on Zoom: https://mainestate.zoom.us/j/81735561737.

*Note: Room will be opened for attendees at 1:45PM.

This year, the commission will present seven awards in six categories to individuals who have contributed to Deaf culture in Maine. Award recipients are:

  • Citizenship Youth Award Marlaco Bethune
  • Special Recognition Award Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D., Director, Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Ginny Hewes Advocate for the Needs of the Deaf Community Award Melinda Stamp
  • Outstanding Citizenship Award Craig Hamilton Taylor
  • Special Commendation Award Maine Hands & Voices
  • Special Recognition Award Dr. Toni H. Rees
  • Clifton F. Rodgers Lifetime Achievement Award Melinda Smith Meyers

Emma Foster will give the keynote address.

The Division for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Late Deafened, part of the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS) in the Maine Department of Labor, works to bring about full access to employment, independence and community integration for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

I encourage employers to diversify their workforce by harnessing the many skills and experiences of people with disabilities, Mills said. The Bureau of Rehabilitation Services can assist both workers and employers through vocational rehabilitation, training assistance and advice.

For more information about hiring people with disabilities or identifying job training resources for people with disabilities, visit your local CareerCenter, call 1-855-ALL-HIRE (TTY users call Maine Relay 711).

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending September 11 Bookmark and Share

September 16, 2021

For Immediate Release: September 16, 2021

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending September 11

AUGUSTA - During the week ending September 11, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 600 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 100 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). The PUA initial claims were those that were originally filed under the regular state program in a prior week, subsequently found ineligible for state unemployment, and then moved to the PUA program. These PUA claims have an effective date prior to the close of the program. The initial claims numbers represent claim applications; claims are then reviewed for eligibility and legitimacy. In total, approximately 700 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.

Overall, weekly unemployment claims continue to decrease, down almost 2,600 from the previous week. About 5,800 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 7,700 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 13,300 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. Weekly claims are filed after the end of the actual week. Therefore, the claims filed this week were for weeks ending September 4 or earlier. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

For the same time period, roughly 1,800 unemployment claimants reported having partial earnings for the week. More information, including a walk-through video and "partial benefit calculator," can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/pub/

Federal unemployment benefits ended on September 4, 2021. This covers the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC), and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) benefits. Claims for weeks that end on or before September 4, 2021 will still be paid after that date, assuming all eligibility criteria are met.

The Department recommends that claimants take advantage of CareerCenter services. CareerCenters host a variety of hiring events - https://www.mainecareercenter.com/employment/hiringevents/, as well as one-on-one meetings with a consultant, to develop employment or training plans. The CareerCenter can be reached by email at MaineDOL.CareerCenter@maine.gov, by phone at 207-623-7981, or by live-chat at https://www.MaineCareerCenter.gov .

Between March 15, 2020 and September 11, 2021, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $2.4 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits. Approximately $1.8 billion of the $2.4 billion was paid through federal unemployment programs.

The Department has handled approximately 275,700 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 114,300 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Note: Claims do not equal the number of unique unemployment claimants. There have been over 4.5 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html

Work Search Requirement:

Individuals receiving unemployment are required to actively look for work and to accept positions for which they are reasonably qualified. A refusal to accept an offer of suitable work is grounds for disqualifying a person for benefits. More information on the requirement can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/faq/worksearch/

Whether or not currently unemployed, people looking for work should visit Maine JobLink - https://joblink.maine.gov/ , to find thousands of jobs posted, including remote work. Employers can post their jobs by registering with the Maine JobLink.

Employers who have tried to recall employees or have made job offers that have been declined, or who have scheduled an interview and the potential employee did not attend, can report those situations by using this online form - https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ucbr/ . The Department will determine whether the individual is receiving unemployment benefits, and, if so, determine whether they should remain eligible.

Employers can also participate in the WorkShare program - https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/workshare/, which is designed to help employers avoid layoffs by allowing groups of workers to receive partial unemployment benefit payments while their employer reduces their hours. The employees are then subject to being called back when work expands.

Other Updates:

Hiring Events

Employers can work with the Maine CareerCenters to hold independent virtual, in-person, or drive-through hiring events. Information on upcoming workshops and events: https://www.mainecareercenter.gov .

Upcoming hiring event: On September 22, 2021 from 10 a.m. - noon, the Lewiston CareerCenter will host an outdoor hiring event, featuring a variety of local employers and industries. More information and a list of participating employers can be found here: https://www.mainecareercenter.com/locations/jobfair.shtml?id=5332484

Fraud Update

The U.S. Department of Labor has a website - https://www.dol.gov/agencies/eta/UIIDtheft, for people to understand unemployment insurance identity theft, and how and where to report stolen benefits if they are victims.

The website provides key steps to help victims address issues that might arise because of previous identity theft and outlines steps to report the theft of unemployment benefits. To assist victims, the department worked closely with other federal agencies and state workforce agencies to consolidate necessary steps and resources.

The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims, and to evolve its fraud prevention techniques.

During the week ending September 11, the Department cancelled 61 initial claims suspected to be fraudulent.

The Department strongly recommends that claimants use a password that is unique to their unemployment account and is not used for anything else.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/

MDOL Recommends Unemployment Claimants Call Thursdays and Fridays

If unemployment claimants have a question about their claim, the Department recommends that they call the unemployment phone line, 1-800-593-7660, between 8 am and 3 pm Monday-Friday. Call wait times continue to decrease on all days, however Thursdays and Fridays remain the days when call volume is at its lowest and usually have shorter wait times.

They can also leave a message 24/7 at https://www.maine.gov/labor/contact/index.html . They should only put in one message to avoid duplication.

Maine Dept. of Labor Publishes Findings on Job Seekers' Barriers to Returning to Work Bookmark and Share

September 16, 2021

For Immediate Release: September 16, 2021

Maine Dept. of Labor Publishes Findings on Job Seekers' Barriers to Returning to Work

Survey responses from over 2,600 individuals reflect virus concerns, lack of childcare and transportation, mismatch in skill sets and available jobs among top barriers

AUGUSTA - The Maine Department of Labor today released the results of a July 2021 survey of unemployment insurance claimants and active jobseekers about barriers preventing them from returning to work. In total, more than 2,600 individuals responded to the anonymous survey, describing a variety of barriers impacting their ability to rejoin the workforce, including concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic, a lack of access to child care and transportation, and a mismatch between their own skills and available jobs, among others.

"This survey reinforces the fact that there is no one size fits all solution to getting Maine people back to work and that our approach has to address underlying issues impacting our workforce," said Commissioner Laura Fortman. "The Department of Labor will continue to listen to the voices of Maine workers as we strive to enhance our programs to ensure they are effective, both at meeting the needs of employers and employees and in contributing to our economic recovery as a state."

Survey responses show that there is no single barrier keeping people out of the workforce. The most commonly cited barriers included:

  • "Lack of opportunities that match my skillset"
  • "COVID health risks or concerns"
  • "Job quality concerns" regarding insufficient wages, lack of benefits, unpredictable schedule or lack of long-term positions
  • Inaccessibility of relevant opportunities including lack of relevant jobs in the local area
  • Lack of necessary social supports including lack of reliable childcare and transportation

Other barriers cited were age-related discrimination, challenges getting interviews in the competitive market, and self-employment challenges related to economic recession.

"On behalf of our 218,000 members in the state, AARP Maine applauds the release of this important study by the Maine Department of Labor," said Nol Bonam, AARP Maine State Director. "According to a 2018 AARP survey - https://www.aarp.org/work/working-at-50-plus/info-2019/age-discrimination-in-america.html, 76 percent of older workers see age discrimination as a hurdle to finding a new job. Age-bias and the other obstacles raised in the Departments study will serve as a gateway to improve opportunities for Mainers of all ages as they seek employment."

"Employers across the state are looking to hire in this challenging labor market," said Matthew Lewis, President and CEO of HospitalityMaine. "We recognize that there are significant barriers that many job seekers are facing as they look to rejoin the workforce. These are challenges that we will need to work together to solve. There are currently many opportunities in the hospitality industry, and we are committed to working with state agencies and other employers on creative solutions."

"Maine workers face challenges balancing work and family amidst a surging global pandemic. We applaud the Maine Department of Labor for hearing directly from workers on the systemic issues they face in finding good jobs," said Matt Schlobohm, Executive Director of the Maine AFL-CIO. "The most tried and true method to recruit and retain workers is to offer good pay and benefits. We've heard firsthand from lots of Maine workers that age discrimination, COVID related workplace health and safety, reliable and affordable childcare and access to living wage jobs with benefits remain significant challenges. We must continue working together to address these systemic issues."

The Maine Department of Labor provides workshops, local and virtual hiring events and postings on Maine JobLink to help connect workers to job opportunities, but the survey will help the Departments approach to getting Maine people back to work. To that end, the Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan proposed by the Governor and enacted by the Legislature earlier this summer includes significant federal investment to address many of the barriers cited by Maine workers in the Departments survey, including investment in training and skills-building opportunities and infrastructure such as housing, childcare and transportation.

The full findings of the survey, which was also translated into French, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, and Vietnamese, can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/docs/2021/BarrierstoemploymentFindings%20and%20Analysis091321.pdf

More information from AARP: https://www.aarp.org/work/working-at-50-plus/age-discrimination/

U.S. Department of Labor Confirms Forthcoming Vaccination or Test Requirement Will Apply to Public Sector Employers in Maine Bookmark and Share

September 17, 2021

For Immediate Release: September 17, 2021

U.S. Department of Labor Confirms Forthcoming Vaccination or Test Requirement Will Apply to Public Sector Employers in Maine

AUGUSTA - The U.S. Department of Labor has informed the Maine Department of Labor that its forthcoming COVID-19 vaccination requirement will apply to public sector employers in Maine, including state, county, and local governments and public school systems.

Last week, President Biden announced that he has directed OSHA to develop a rule requiring all employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated for COVID-19 or require any workers who remain unvaccinated to produce a negative COVID-19 test result on at least a weekly basis before coming to work. OSHA will issue an Emergency Temporary Standard to implement this requirement.

While this Emergency Temporary Standard applies to private employers nationwide, the Maine Department of Labor sought clarification from OSHA about the rule's applicability to public employers because, under longstanding State law and a 2015 agreement with the Federal government - https://www.osha.gov/stateplans/me, known as a "state plan," Maine is required to adopt and enforce for public employers all of OSHAs occupational safety and health standards.

Under an approved OSHA plan, the Maine Department of Labor is designated as the state agency responsible for the development and enforcement of occupational safety and health standards applicable to state and local government employment throughout the state. Meanwhile, Federal OSHA enforces standards in Maines private sector employment.

Maine is one of 26 states and two territories to have a state plan agreement with the Federal government.

OSHA confirmed with the Maine Department of Labor that the forthcoming Emergency Temporary Standard will apply to public sector employers with 100 or more employees in Maine and the 25 other states and two territories with a state OSHA plan.

In Maine, these public entities include: State and local governments, public school systems, the University of Maine System, the Maine Community College System, Maine Maritime Academy, the Maine Turnpike Authority, and sewer and water districts.

The Maine Board of Occupational Safety and Health is required to adopt and enforce OSHAs forthcoming rule for public employers within 30 days of the rules release. OSHAs standards are considered minimum requirements, so states may implement more rigorous standards but cannot implement less rigorous standards than those set out by OSHA.

OSHA has yet to release its Emergency Temporary Standard so the timeframe and details of its implementation are unknown at this time. The Maine Department of Labor will continue to communicate with impacted stakeholders and the public as more information becomes available from the Federal government.

Employment Situation in Maine - August 2021 Bookmark and Share

September 17, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 17, 2021

Contact: Glenn Mills 207-621-5192

Employment Situation in Maine - August 2021

AUGUSTA There was little change in the employment situation through the summer. In August:

  • Payroll jobs decreased by 1,200
  • The unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.9 percent

Seasonally Adjusted Estimates

Nonfarm Payroll Jobs Estimates The number of nonfarm payroll jobs decreased by 1,200 to 617,200 in August and the estimate for July was upwardly revised by 900. Government jobs decreased 1,100, mostly in local governments, and private sector jobs decreased 100. An increase of 800 jobs in healthcare and social assistance was offset by small decreases in several other sectors during the month.

The recovery has followed a stairstep pattern of rising numbers of jobs followed by periods of relative flatness. Job gains from April to September 2020 were followed by little change through the rest of the year. Gains in early 2021, especially in March, gave way to flatness the following two months. A sharp gain in June was followed by a relatively flat summer. These periods of flatness have paralleled increasing coronavirus case counts and periods of job gains have paralleled decreasing case counts. This has also been the pattern nationally.

Over the last year the number of payroll jobs increased 31,500. The largest gains were in the leisure and hospitality, manufacturing, retail trade, and professional and business services sectors.

In August there remained 22,800 fewer jobs than in February 2020, before the virus impacted the labor market. The 3.6 percent net decrease during that period is close to the 3.5 percent U.S. decrease. In that period jobs remained down the most in leisure and hospitality, state and local government education (K-12 and higher ed), and healthcare and social assistance. There were more jobs in the professional and business services and wholesale trade sectors in August than before the pandemic.

Labor Force and Unemployment Estimates The number of unemployed was unchanged in August at 33,200 and the unemployment rate remained at 4.9 percent. The 60.3 percent labor force participation rate was little changed, down 0.1 points, and the 57.4 percent employment-to-population rate was unchanged.

Compared to February 2020, the unemployment rate in August was 1.8 percentage points higher, the labor force participation rate was 2.3 points lower, and the employment to population ratio was 3.3 points lower.

The decrease in employment since February 2020 is partially reflected in the 11,600 increase in the number of unemployed. The remainder of the decrease in employment is reflected in lower labor force participation. If participation was as high in August as 17 months earlier, the unemployment rate would be 8.4 percent. (Unemployed are jobless people who were available and seeking work. Jobless people who were not available for work or who did not seek work are not counted as unemployed they are not in the labor force.)

U.S and New England Unemployment Rates The U.S. and New England unemployment rates were 5.2 percent and 5.3 percent in August. Rates for other states in the region were 3.0 percent in New Hampshire, 3.0 percent in Vermont, 5.0 percent in Massachusetts, 5.8 percent in Rhode Island, and 7.2 percent in Connecticut.

Substate Not Seasonally Adjusted Estimates

The not seasonally adjusted statewide unemployment rate of 4.4 percent for August was little changed from 4.3 percent one year ago. Unemployment rates were lowest in Sagadahoc County (3.8 percent) and highest in Somerset and Washington counties (6.2 percent).

Unemployment rates were below the statewide average in the Portland-South Portland metro area (3.9 percent), close to the average in the Bangor metro (4.5 percent), and above the average in the Lewiston-Auburn metro (5.1 percent).

September workforce estimates will be released Friday, October 22 at 10 a.m. (Data Release Schedule - https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/releaseDates.html).

Monthly workforce estimates are cooperatively produced and released by the Maine Department of Labor, Center for Workforce Research and Information and the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

NOTES

  1. Preliminary seasonally-adjusted labor force estimates, including rates (labor force participation, employment, and unemployment rates), and levels (labor force, employed, and unemployed) tend to move in a direction for several months and then reverse course. Those directional trends are largely driven by a smoothing procedure and may not indicate a change in underlying workforce conditions. Annual revisions (published in March each year) tend to moderate or eliminate those directional patterns. A comparison of 2020 preliminary and revised estimates of labor force and unemployment rates, as well as nonfarm payroll jobs, is available at https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/blogs/2021workforcedata_revisions.pdf

  2. The 90 percent confidence interval for statewide unemployment rates for August is 0.8 percentage points above or below the published estimate.

  3. To assess job growth, we recommend looking at nonfarm jobs from the payroll survey rather than at resident employment from the household survey. The payroll survey is larger, has smaller margins of error, and is subject to smaller revisions. A 2016 blog on the differences in accuracy of the two measures provides more context at https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/blogs/imprecise_data.pdf

  4. Nonfarm payroll jobs estimates tend to be volatile from month to month because there is variability in the sample of reporting employers and their representativeness for the universe of all employers. Additionally, seasonal adjustment is imperfect because weather, the beginning and ending of school semesters, holidays, and other events do not always occur with the same timing relative to the pay period that includes the 12th day of the month, which is the survey reference period. This sometimes exacerbates monthly volatility. Users should look to the trend over multiple months rather than the change from one specific month to another. Estimates for the period from April 2020 to September 2021 will be replaced with actual payroll data in March 2022. Those benchmark revisions are likely to show less volatility than preliminary estimates do.

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending September 18 Bookmark and Share

September 23, 2021

For Immediate Release: September 23, 2021

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending September 18

AUGUSTA - During the week ending September 18, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 600 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 100 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). The PUA initial claims were those that were originally filed under the regular state program in a prior week, subsequently found ineligible for state unemployment, and then moved to the PUA program. These PUA claims have an effective date prior to the close of the program. The initial claims numbers represent claim applications; claims are then reviewed for eligibility and legitimacy. In total, approximately 700 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.

About 8,100 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 400 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 600 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. Weekly claims are filed after the end of the actual week. Therefore, the claims filed this week for the federal PUA and PEUC programs were for weeks ending September 4 or earlier. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

For the same time period, roughly 1,200 unemployment claimants reported having partial earnings for the week. More information, including a walk-through video and "partial benefit calculator," can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/pub/

Federal unemployment benefits ended on September 4, 2021. This covers the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC), and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) benefits. Claims for weeks that end on or before September 4, 2021 will still be paid after that date, assuming all eligibility criteria are met.

The Department recommends that claimants take advantage of CareerCenter services. CareerCenters host a variety of hiring events - https://www.mainecareercenter.com/employment/hiringevents/ , as well as one-on-one meetings with a consultant, to develop employment or training plans. The CareerCenter can be reached by email at MaineDOL.CareerCenter@maine.gov , by phone at 207-623-7981, or by live-chat at https://www.MaineCareerCenter.gov .

Between March 15, 2020 and September 18, 2021, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $2.49 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits. Approximately $1.88 billion of the $2.49 billion was paid through federal unemployment programs.

The Department has handled approximately 276,300 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 114,400 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Note: Claims do not equal the number of unique unemployment claimants. There have been over 4.5 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html

Work Search Requirement:

Individuals receiving unemployment are required to actively look for work and to accept positions for which they are reasonably qualified. A refusal to accept an offer of suitable work is grounds for disqualifying a person for benefits. More information on the requirement can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/faq/worksearch/

Whether or not currently unemployed, people looking for work should visit Maine JobLink - https://joblink.maine.gov/ , to find thousands of jobs posted, including remote work. Employers can post their jobs by registering with the Maine JobLink.

Employers who have tried to recall employees or have made job offers that have been declined, or who have scheduled an interview and the potential employee did not attend, can report those situations by using this online form - https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ucbr/ . The Department will determine whether the individual is receiving unemployment benefits, and, if so, determine whether they should remain eligible.

Employers can also participate in the WorkShare program - https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/workshare/ , which is designed to help employers avoid layoffs by allowing groups of workers to receive partial unemployment benefit payments while their employer reduces their hours. The employees are then subject to being called back when work expands.

Other Updates

Hiring Events

Employers can work with the Maine CareerCenters to hold independent virtual, in-person, or drive-through hiring events. Information on upcoming workshops and events: https://www.mainecareercenter.gov

Upcoming hiring event: On September 30, 2021 from 10 a.m. - noon, the Southern Midcoast CareerCenter in Brunswick will host an outdoor hiring event, featuring a variety of local employers and industries. More information and a list of participating employers can be found here: https://www.mainecareercenter.com/locations/jobfair.shtml?id=5332486

Fraud Update

The U.S. Department of Labor has a website - https://www.dol.gov/agencies/eta/UIIDtheft , for people to understand unemployment insurance identity theft, and how and where to report stolen benefits if they are victims.

The website provides key steps to help victims address issues that might arise because of previous identity theft and outlines steps to report the theft of unemployment benefits. To assist victims, the department worked closely with other federal agencies and state workforce agencies to consolidate necessary steps and resources.

The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims, and to evolve its fraud prevention techniques.

During the week ending September 18, the Department cancelled 52 initial claims suspected to be fraudulent.

The Department strongly recommends that claimants use a password that is unique to their unemployment account and is not used for anything else.

The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/

MDOL Recommends Unemployment Claimants Call Thursdays and Fridays

If unemployment claimants have a question about their claim, the Department recommends that they call the unemployment phone line, 1-800-593-7660, between 8 am and 3 pm Monday-Friday. Call wait times continue to decrease on all days, however Thursdays and Fridays remain the days when call volume is at its lowest and usually have shorter wait times.

They can also leave a message 24/7 at https://www.maine.gov/labor/contact/index.html . They should only put in one message to avoid duplication.

Per State Law, Maine's Minimum Wage to Increase to $12.75 Per Hour in 2022 Bookmark and Share

September 23, 2021

For Immediate Release: September 23, 2021

Per State Law, Maine's Minimum Wage to Increase to $12.75 Per Hour in 2022

AUGUSTA - Pursuant to Maine law (Maine statute 26 MRS 664), effective January 1, 2022, the state minimum wage will increase from $12.15 to $12.75 per hour, based on data recently made available by the U.S. Department of Labors Bureau of Labor Statistics. Maine law requires annual adjustments to the minimum wage based on the cost of living index (CPI-W) for the Northeast Region.

In addition to the minimum wage, the new "tip wage," or service employee minimum wage, in 2022 will be $6.38 per hour. This means that service employees must receive at least a direct cash wage of $6.38 per hour from the employer. The employer must be able to show that the employee receives at least the minimum wage of $12.75 per hour when the direct wage and tips are combined at the end of the week. More information on the service employee minimum wage can be found here: http://legislature.maine.gov/statutes/26/title26sec664.html

The minimum salary threshold for exempting a worker from overtime pay is also based on the minimum wage. Starting January 1, 2022, the new minimum salary threshold is $735.59 per week, or $38,251 per year. This is only one of the factors used in determining whether a worker is exempt from overtime pay under federal or state law. An individual can earn more than the minimum salary threshold and still be eligible for overtime. The duties of each worker must be considered as part of this analysis. The law can be found here: http://legislature.maine.gov/legis/statutes/26/title26sec664.html More information can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/labor_laws/wagehour.html

The Departments Bureau of Labor Standards is responsible for enforcing the states minimum wage and overtime statutes and ensuring that both workers and employers understand and comply with the law.

If youre a worker who feels that your rights have been violated, or an employer who has questions or would like to know more about the Departments free trainings, please call 207-623-7900, email mdol@maine.gov, or visit https://www.maine.gov/labor/bls/index.shtml.

NASWA Announces 2021-2022 Board of Directors Bookmark and Share

September 29, 2021

The National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA) announced the election of its 2021-2022 association year board of directors. NASWA membership, which represents state and U.S. territory workforce agencies nationwide, selected 15 new board members and 10 alternate members to represent its regions, including a five-member executive committee. The board's duties are to direct the business of the association.

Read the news release.

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending September 25 Bookmark and Share

September 30, 2021

For Immediate Release: September 30, 2021

Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending September 25

AUGUSTA - During the week ending September 25, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 500 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 100 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). The PUA initial claims were those that were originally filed under the regular state program in a prior week, subsequently found ineligible for state unemployment, and then moved to the PUA program. These PUA claims have an effective date prior to the close of the program. The initial claims numbers represent claim applications; claims are then reviewed for eligibility and legitimacy. In total, approximately 700 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.

About 6,800 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 100 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 100 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. Weekly claims are filed after the end of the actual week. Therefore, the claims filed this week for the federal PUA and PEUC programs were for weeks ending September 4 or earlier. Eligibility for benefits is determined on a weekly basis, and so not all weekly claims filed result in a benefit payment. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

For the same time period, roughly 1,100 unemployment claimants reported having partial earnings for the week. Claimants who are working part-time and working back to their full hours may be eligible for partial benefits. More information, including a walk-through video and "partial benefit calculator," can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/pub/

Federal unemployment benefits ended on September 4, 2021. This covers the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC), and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) benefits. Claims for weeks that end on or before September 4, 2021 will still be paid after that date, assuming all eligibility criteria are met.

The Department recommends that claimants take advantage of CareerCenter services. CareerCenters host a variety of hiring events - https://www.mainecareercenter.com/employment/hiringevents/ , as well as one-on-one meetings with a consultant, to develop employment or training plans. The CareerCenter can be reached by email at MaineDOL.CareerCenter@maine.gov, by phone at 207-623-7981, or by live-chat at https://www.MaineCareerCenter.gov .

Between March 15, 2020 and September 25, 2021, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $2.49 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits. Approximately $1.88 billion of the $2.49 billion was paid through federal unemployment programs.

The Department has handled approximately 276,800 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 114,500 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Note: Claims do not equal the number of unique unemployment claimants. There have been over 4.5 million weekly certifications filed.

Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html

Work Search Requirement:

Individuals receiving unemployment are required to actively look for work and to accept positions for which they are reasonably qualified. A refusal to accept an o