The state of Texas announced that workers in the Houston area who were unemployed due to the coronavirus pandemic would need to begin applying for jobs to continue to receive benefits

Unemployed workers will now have to show an active effort to find jobs despite the pandemic

The Texas Workforce commission told all unemployed workers that the work search requirement would begin again as of July 2020. When someone submits a weekly claim for a payment, they will also need to show proof of at least three work search related activities. Before the pandemic, these measures were put into place to ensure that a worker who was receiving funding from the state was actively trying to find a new job if they wanted to continue to be paid during their job search. For much of the spring of 2020, this was not possible because so many businesses in Houston and elsewhere in the state were forced to close and could not hire any workers.

Governor Abbott has moved to gradually reopen the state over the course of the last two months, despite criticism that there may be an increase in coronavirus cases. Much of the United States was shut down in March and April as the virus first began to spread, which resulted in the deadliest part of the pandemic. The Texas Workforce Commission has supported Abbott’s decisions, and they believe that reinstating the work search requirement will help get the state’s economy moving again and return some sense of normalcy. 

Part of the reason that the work search requirement exists at all is because it is required in each state by the federal government. This is mainly due to the fact that unemployment benefits are meant to be a temporary solution for those who are actively looking for new jobs, rather than a support system. Workers who do meet these requirements will be eligible for up to 39 weeks of benefits under the new federal Cares Act. If a worker was only temporarily furloughed, they will be exempt from this search requirement provided that they can give a return to work date. 

About 2.3 million people throughout the state of Texas filed for unemployment due to the pandemic. That represents the total amount of claims that the state would normally handle in about four years under normal conditions. 

Talk to an employment attorney in Houston

Employers must provide neutral reasons for ending any worker’s position, and they must pay all wages that are owed to the worker, regardless of the reason for termination. 

There are lawyers who serve local clients in Texas with advice related to labor and employment regulations. To get information from a licensed legal professional near you, contact:

Moore & Associates 

440 Louisiana Street, Suite 675, Houston, TX 77002 


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