Work Search Requirement
Unemployment insurance is an income support program that provides workers with temporary benefits until they can find new employment. These benefits are temporary, so DLT is here to help you find your next job opportunity.
Beginning May 23, 2021 DLT is bringing back the requirement that unemployment recipients look for work, which was temporarily waived at the beginning of the pandemic. Your work search activities must be documented, and you need to save your documentation for at least one year. While claimants are not asked to submit records to DLT on a weekly basis, your claim may be randomly audited at any time, and at that point you would be required to send DLT records of your work search that will then be verified by DLT. If you don’t provide these records, you may be required to pay back UI benefits received during any of the weeks you didn’t look for work.
DLT provides work search activity log that you can use to keep track of your work search.
Work Search FAQ
- What counts as a work search?
You need to complete three (3) work search activities each week. The following are acceptable work search activities:
- Applying for a full-time job for which you are reasonably qualified.
- Interviewing for a full-time job for which you are reasonably qualified.
- Attending a career fair (virtual or in-person) for a full-time job for which you are reasonably qualified.
- How do I keep a record of my work search?
Each work search record must include:
- Name and address of the company
- Date you applied for work or interviewed
- Specific position and shift you applied for
- Way you applied for work: in person, sent resume, via the internet, etc.
- A copy of your confirmation number or response from an employer if applying online and that information is available
You need to save documentation of your work search and records of all applications and interviews for one year.
You can simplify the process by using our work search log, available in PDF and Excel format. We strongly recommend you save all confirmation emails or documentation to prove your work search.
- Who is exempt from work search?
You are not required to look for work if you:
- Have a definite and verifiable return-to-work date within twelve (12) weeks from the last day of work.
- Are in a department-approved vocational training or adult education program.
- Are a member (in good standing) of a labor union that uses a “hiring hall” or business agent to find work.
- Are on WorkShare.
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) ONLY: Have one of the specific COVID-related reasons listed on this page (see below).
- What if I am a Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claimant?
If you are a Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claimant, you are only exempt from looking for work if you meet at least one of the following conditions:
- You have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and are seeking a medical diagnosis.
- You are unable to work because a member of your household has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
- You are providing care for a family member or a member of your household who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
- A child or other person in your household, for whom you have primary caregiving responsibility, cannot attend school, childcare, or another facility that is closed due to COVID-19.
- You are unable to reach your place of employment because of a quarantine imposed as a direct result of COVID-19.
- You are unable to reach your place of employment because you have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.
If you are a PUA claimant out of work for any other reason besides the above, you are still required to look for work.
- What if I’m on PUA as a small business owner, self-employed, or a gig worker?
Unless you are on PUA for one of the COVID-related reasons listed under the previous question, you are required to search for work. Besides applying for full-time work, the following are also acceptable work search activities for small business owners/self-employed individuals/gig workers:
- Documented efforts to obtain new or additional clients for your business.
- Documented efforts to expand your business beyond the services typically performed.
- Documented efforts to market your business to new and reasonably available customers.
- Establishing an account with another online platform for the purpose of seeking work with that platform.
- Applying for work with another online platform for which you may reasonably be qualified.
- What if I'm working part-time while receiving UI?
If you're working part-time while receiving a partial UI benefit, you are still required to apply for three full-time jobs per week. While we encourage people to take on part-time work when available, the goal of unemployment insurance is to help support you until you're able to return to full-time work, so you still need to look for full-time jobs even if you're currently working part-time.
- What if I am temporarily furloughed, and plan to return to the same employer?
You are not required to look for work if you have a definite and verifiable return-to-work date within twelve (12) weeks from the last day of work.
If it has been more than 12 weeks since your last day of work, then you are required to be actively seeking work.
- Am I required to submit proof of my work search to DLT when I certify weekly?
No, you do not currently need to submit your work search log to DLT when you certify weekly. Just make sure to answer “yes” when asked if you are actively seeking suitable work.
However, your claim may be randomly audited at any time, and at that point you would be required to send DLT records of your work search that will then be verified by DLT. If you fail to do so, your claim may be set up for an administrative review which could potentially lead to your benefits being stopped and a recoverable overpayment. That means you would be required to pay back UI benefits for any week that you did not look for work.
- When will I be asked to provide my work search?
There are a few instances where you may be required to provide your work search records to DLT.
- Random claim audits are conducted by the Benefit Accuracy Measurement team. If your claim is randomly selected for audit, it doesn’t mean you’ve done anything wrong, but attendance is mandatory. Failure to participate or provide work search will stop your benefits and may create an overpayment.
- Adjudication is scheduled to review your eligibility for benefits as needed. If adjudication is necessary for your claim, be prepared for your appointment and provide all information requested. As part of this process, you may be asked to provide your work search records.
- Some claimants will be selected to participate in the Reemployment Services and Eligibility Assessment (RESEA) program. If you are selected, you will be provided with additional employment services and be required to submit your work search records. Failure to participate or provide work search will stop your benefits and may create an overpayment.
- What if I turn down an offer of work?
You cannot refuse a genuine offer of suitable work and still receive unemployment benefits. The employer that you refuse work from can report you to DLT, and your claim would then be adjudicated (reviewed for continued eligibility) to determine whether the offer of work was suitable, or whether you had a legitimate reason to turn down the work.
“Suitable work” is any work that someone in your occupation would typically perform, that is located within a reasonable distance of your home or last place of work, and is not detrimental to your health or safety.
- What is adjudication?
Adjudication means that DLT has questions about your eligibility for unemployment insurance. Because unemployment recipients need to be available for and actively seeking work, if you turn down a job offer or are not looking for work the Department may need to review your claim to see whether or not you’re still eligible for benefits.
If your claim is being adjudicated, you will receive written notification of the date and time of the scheduled telephone interview. You and your employer (if needed) will be contacted by an investigator to hear all the facts related to the issue, and you will have an opportunity to present your side of the case. You may bring witnesses or someone to represent you, and you should bring any documents or other evidence that will support your claim. The adjudicator will then make a decision on whether or not you can receive benefits. You will continue to receive payments while your claim is in adjudication until a decision is issued by the department. You have the right to appeal if you do not agree with the decision. More information is available here.
- Where can I go to look for work?
Backtoworkri.com is Rhode Island’s Virtual Career Center and has numerous resources available to jobseekers. You can schedule a one-on-one virtual meeting with a job coach, use the CareerCompass to get recommendations of careers that would be a good fit, enroll in vocational trainings, and attend virtual job fairs with employers.
EmployRI.com lists thousands of job opportunities pulled from across the state.