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Senate moves to add job-search requirement to unemployment benefits

By MARY SELL, Alabama Daily News

The Alabama Senate on Thursday approved a bill requiring people receiving state unemployment benefits to apply for at least three jobs per week.

Those receiving unemployment are currently supposed to actively search for work, but the Alabama Department of Labor currently doesn’t verify those searches each week when people file their weekly claims.

Sen. Arthur Orr’s Senate Bill 224 says the “department shall require the claimant to provide proof of work search efforts when filing his or her weekly certification.”

Orr said online applications through job-search sites would qualify. Orr’s original proposal would have required five applications per week. It was amended to three at the request of Sen. Rodger Smitherman, D-Birmingham.

Orr told Alabama Daily News that last week ADOL paid unemployment benefits to more than 3,000 people.

“There are multiple job openings across the state at all skill levels,” Orr said. “We need to get as many people back to work as we can and I hope this bill will facilitate that.” 

The bill also requires ADOL to “conduct random reviews of at least 10 percent of the work search proof provided by claimants each week.”

People in job-training programs are exempt from the search requirement.

The bill also says the governor can suspend the work search requirement during a state of emergency.

Maximum weekly unemployment benefits are $240.

The bill now moves to the House for consideration.

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