Texas Reinstates Full Work Search Requirement to Obtain Unemployment Benefits as Businesses Struggle to Rehire Employees

Unemployment recipients will no longer be able to cite COVID-19 as a reason not to search for work as required by federal and state laws to receive benefits. In a release, the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) announced the dissolution of its coronavirus job refusal guidance.

Normally, refusal to search for work can result in a loss of those benefits. But that was put on hold by the government because of the pandemic.

TWC stated, “The decline in COVID cases in Texas, widespread availability of vaccines, and greater availability of services such as child care renders such guidance out of date as Texas ends certain federal unemployment programs with the benefit week ending June 26, 2021 and Texas’ economy continues to recover.”

Since the pandemic reached America last year, unemployed individuals could cite fear of contracting COVID-19 to get out of the work search requirement stipulation to obtain unemployment benefits. Last month, Governor Greg Abbott announced the end of the extra $300 per week benefit financed by the federal government through its coronavirus aid packages.

“At this stage of opening the state 100 percent,” Abbott said at the time, “the focus must be on helping unemployed Texans connect with the more than a million job openings, rather than paying unemployment benefits to remain off the employment rolls.”

Businesses across the country — from construction sites to restaurants — are having trouble rehiring workers since the government-mandated shutdowns subsided. Texas’ unemployment rate is still over double what it was before the pandemic and lags behind the national average.

TWC says over 800,000 job openings are available on its database and the real total is likely higher due to the number of jobs not typically listed on the state’s website.

Businesses rearing to restore operations but facing a workforce dearth will prevent an economic recovery from being as substantial as it might otherwise be.

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