Laid-off workers in Wisconsin may have to search for four jobs a week – rather than two, if they want to continue receiving unemployment compensation. The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee approved the higher standard on Monday. Now it’s part of the proposed state budget, and would give Wisconsin one of the highest standards in the country.
Only three states require laid-off workers to seek four or more jobs each week -the Carolinas and Florida. Republican Senator Luther Olson says it’s time for Wisconsin to join them, by doubling its requirement from two to four.
“The intent is to say, we want to make sure you know your number one responsibility while you’re getting this unemployment check, is that you are out there hustling, looking under every rock and in every corner to find a job,” Olson said.
Olson says certainly some positions aren’t what the person wants – but the goal should be to get back into the job market.
Democrat Representative Cory Mason voted against the change. He says state leaders should be focusing instead on making sure Wisconsin has more jobs.
“There’s no glut of job people are avoiding. I wish that (were) the case. What you have here, is raising the bar on unemployment insurance that doesn’t seem about getting people back to work, it seems like it’s about kicking people off unemployment insurance,” Mason said.
Mason raised concerns about another part of the plan. It would allow the state Dept. of Workforce Development to raise the standard beyond four weekly job searches – if the agency believes a person needs to be more active. Republican supporters of that provision say the Legislature would retain oversight.