December 17, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 17, 2014
Media Contact: Julie Rabinowitz, 207-621-5009
Unemployment filings peak annually after the holidays; system upgrade will require an extra step
AUGUSTA—Maine Department of Labor Commissioner Jeanne Paquette urges people who anticipate that they will be filing unemployment claims now through early in the new year to file online and to make sure that they are fully registered on the Maine Job Bank.
The first week of January is usually the busiest week of the year for unemployment claims as post-holiday seasonal layoffs occur at businesses around the state. This year, the Department will be upgrading part of the claims process in January, and with that will come an additional step to ensure claimants are registered on the Job Bank before they will be allowed to file an initial or continuing claim.
Governor Paul R. LePage advised, “Our goal is to help people who have lost a job return to the workforce as soon as possible, especially during the winter. If you are laid off, the best way to apply for unemployment is to file online at the Department of Labor’s unemployment website at http://www.file4ui.com . You must also register with the Maine Job Bank.”
Paquette stated, “Although laid-off workers can phone in their unemployment claims, high call volumes mean longer wait times. Our website offers the most convenient way to file a claim 24 hours a day and also connects job seekers to resources that will help them get a new job.”
She added, “As part of the process for filing an unemployment claim on the website or by phone, all individuals will be checked for an active and complete Job Bank registration. Those who do not have an active or completed Job Bank account will be required to register with the Maine Job Bank before filing their next claim."
"People who have already taken that step will be able to file their claim more quickly and may avoid having to call the department and experience a long wait time on the phone. We urge you to activate your Job Bank account as soon as possible and use it to accept referrals for job opportunities,” Commissioner Paquette emphasized.
Federal law requires all individuals collecting unemployment benefits to be registered with the employment service of their home state. For Maine residents, that service is the Maine Job Bank, part of the department’s Bureau of Employment Services and the CareerCenter network. People who do not have access to a computer or Internet are encouraged to use a computer at their local CareerCenter or public library. CareerCenter staff can help claimants sign up for a free email address, register for the Job Bank, learn how to create a resume and apply for jobs online.
Workers should use the correct website to file their claims. The department warns that there are many websites that offer to help laid-off workers file an unemployment claim. Some charge fees for the service, while others attempt to gather personal data on the people who use the sites. The safest way to file a claim online is by visiting http://www.file4ui.com .
Seasonal layoffs most often occur in the tourism, construction and retail sectors. Although claims typically increase right after Christmas, they drop off significantly in late winter as people begin to return to work.
In order to qualify to collect unemployment benefits, workers must have lost their jobs through no fault of their own, be actively seeking work and be able to accept new work. Workers who do not participate in a suitable, verifiable work search, who have not completed their Job Bank registration and are not actively accepting referrals or who do not document their work search risk losing unemployment benefits and could be required to pay back benefits they have received.
For more information about unemployment benefits, please visit http://www.file4ui.com . Information and support for job seekers or those interested in changing careers, including the link to the Maine Job Bank, are available at http://www.mainecareercenter.com .
Maine CareerCenters are an equal opportunity provider. Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities.