Work Search Requirement


Under Maine law, anyone filing for unemployment benefits must show that they are actively seeking work in order to receive benefits each week. This was temporarily waived in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In light of relatively low rates of COVID-19 transmission in Maine and nearly all businesses open across the state, the Department of Labor is reinstating the work search requirement on August 9, 2020 for some individuals receiving unemployment benefits. Starting with certifications for the week ending August 15, 2020, everyone must either list their work search activity or attest that they are either self-employed or scheduled to return to work for their prior employer.

It depends on your circumstances. If you are permanently separated from an employer, you will need to provide information on your work search activity starting with your certification for the week ending August 15, 2020. If you are self-employed and will remain so or are scheduled to return to your prior employer, you will need to indicate this when you file certifications for the week ending August 15, 2020 or later.

All unemployment claimants who are required to actively search for work must create an account on the Maine JobLink: https://joblink.maine.gov/. The Maine JobLink is an easy-to-use tool where you can post a resume, search for a job or training opportunity, research labor market information to help target your job search, and much more. You can also use any other methods of searching for jobs in addition to JobLink. Please note, simply browsing the JobLink does not satisfy requirements for work search.  

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 http://www.mainecareercenter.com/employment/workshops.shtml

In response to the pandemic, the Department has expanded possible work search activities. In addition to the usual activities of applying and interviewing for jobs, work search will temporarily include activities that could enhance an individual’s marketability during these challenging economic times. The world of work is changing, and people may need to learn new skills or enhance skills they have. Skill development will be considered an allowable work search activity.

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 on how to register for a workshop can be found at http://www.mainecareercenter.com/employment/workshops.shtml
Note: Browsing the Internet is a good way to find potential job openings or leads, but does not count as work search activity.

You must create a work search log when you file your weekly certification. While there is no minimum number of work search activities required, you are expected to document your work search contacts and activities in order to show you are actively seeking new employment. This is a requirement for receiving unemployment benefits and it will help you find new employment before your available benefits have been exhausted.

You must self-attest that you participated in work search activities. For contacts with a potential employer, you will need to provide the names of individuals you spoke with and the contact information for the businesses where you applied for jobs. Work search activities are subject to random audit, so please maintain documentation of your activities. If you are unable to document your activity, benefits may be subsequently denied for that week.  

The Maine Department of Labor conducts work search audits to validate the job search activities provided in your weekly claim. You should maintain documentation of your activities. If you are unable to document your activity, benefits may be subsequently denied for that week. 

The following images show the questions that will be asked. The first screen contains the questions that everyone filing a weekly certification will need to answer. These questions ask if you are self-employed and plan to continue self-employment, as well as if you are in contact with your previous employer about returning to work.

If either of these situations apply to you, clicking “Next” will take you to the standard weekly certification questions. If these situations do not apply to you, the questions in the second image will also be asked. Once those questions are completed, clicking “Next” will take you to the standard weekly certification questions.

This is a a graphic showing a screenshot of the work search questionaire

 

This is a a graphic showing a screenshot of the work search questionaire

 

Other Related FAQs

Filing for Unemployment
COVID-19
Fraud
Appeals