UI Claimant Work Search

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Overview and Frequently Asked Questions

What is the work search and what do I need to do?

In order to be eligible to receive unemployment insurance benefits, you are required to actively search for work, and be able and available to accept work that is offered to you. Each week, claimants must complete qualified job contacts and report those on your weekly certification. The work search requires claimants to submit proof of conducting three (3) job contacts (or activities) each week while collecting benefits. Claimants report job contacts when submitting weekly claims online. In order to be eligible for benefits, you must complete this requirement. If you do not, you will not be eligible for benefits for that week. 

Claimants must complete their weekly claim and job contacts using the online weekly certification. Claimants who can demonstrate a qualified hardship will be allowed to file your claim and work search through an alternate method.

Claimants MUST also:

  • Keep accurate records of your job contacts, including the following information:
    • Date of contact
    • Employer name
    • Employer address
    • Person contacted
    • Phone number
    • E-mail if applicable
    • Position applied for
    • Method of contact; and
    • Results of the contact
    • Be sure to also keep copies of confirmation pages and or e-mail records for online and e-mail work search efforts

Who needs to complete the work search?

All claimants filing under the regular UI series (which includes Regular UI, Extended Benefits, or Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation), as well as specific individuals filing in the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, are required to complete a weekly work search in order to receive benefits unless you meet one of the following exemptions:

  • Have a verified return-to-work date within 10 weeks of filing your initial claim.
  • Currently self-employed, an independent contractor or a sole proprietor filing in PUA.**
  • Enrolled in a qualified training or education program. 
  • Attest that you have a COVID qualifying reason for the week you are filing for benefits
    • ​You have been instructed by a healthcare provider to quarantine due to COVID-19.*
    • You have been instructed by a healthcare provider to not return to work because you have a serious health condition and returning to work at this time poses a significant health risk due to COVID-19.*
    • You are the primary caregiver for a child whose childcare is unavailable as a direct result of COVID -19.*
    • You are the primary caregiver for a child who is attending virtual or remote school as a direct result of COVID-19.*
    • You are caring for a family member who has been instructed by a health care provider to quarantine due to COVID-19.*

*Claimants will be asked these verification questions when filing for weekly benefits, and may be required to provide documentation to verify meeting exemptions.

**If you are self-employed, an independent contractor or a sole proprietor, you may be required to provide information to show you are actively engaging in activities to fully reopen your business at a later date. You are strongly encouraged to engage in business activities as soon as you are able.

What is an acceptable job contact?

You can satisfy the work search requirement by providing information in the “work search” section of the online weekly claim that includes any of the following:

  • Submitting an application for a job or jobs, you are reasonably qualified for. 
    • Online: Submitting application through Vermont JobLink, direct on company websites or other job board sites (Indeed, etc.)
    • In-Person: Mailing a job application or resume to an employer directly.
  • Contacting your former employer to inquire if they can bring you back to work. 
  • Contacting an employer via phone, in person, or email with a formal request for hire.
  • Working Part-time? Your part-time job can count as one of your three weekly job contacts. 
What is not a valid job contact?
  • Applying for the same job more than once within a five-week period does not count as a valid contact.
  • Browsing online job boards, such as Vermont JobLink, or posting your resume at an employment website, is not a valid job contact. You must submit an official job application or request for work in order for it to be considered valid.
How many job contacts do I need to complete?

You are required to complete and report three (3) job contacts each week. Please be sure to document your work search efforts to report on your weekly claim. You are also encouraged to keep a record of your work search activities, and any supporting documentation, in case you need to refer back to them at a later date.

Can I keep contacting the same employers each week to see if they have any job openings?

You may not report the same work search contact within a 5-week period. 

What if I am working part-time?

If you are working part-time, you will still be required to complete the work search requirement, but your part-time work may count as one of your job contacts.

  • Each part-time job may count as one weekly contact (if you have two part-time jobs, each can count as a weekly contact). 
  • Unlike other job contacts (applying for a job online, etc.) part-time jobs may be entered each week as a valid work search contact. If eligible, those holding a part-time job would continue
What if my employer plans to bring me back to work, but hasn’t given me a date yet?

If you do not have a definite return-to-work date within 10 weeks of your initial claim, you must complete the work search each week. Please remember, an acceptable work search is contacting your former employer to see if they are able to bring you back to work but you can only use that employer as one contact within a 5-week period.  

How do I prove that I have completed the work search?

When completing your weekly claim, you will need to provide the name of each business, the name of the individual you communicated with and their direct contact information. Additionally, you should keep a record of each job application you submit or email contact you make.

What if I forget to complete my work search?

If you do not complete the required work search on any given week, you will not be eligible for benefits for that week. You can resume filing the following week but will need to click the link after you log in to the Online Claimant Portal to reopen your claim. To avoid any delays in claim filings, you are encouraged to complete the work search each week. 

How do I complete my work search if I usually file over the phone?

If you typically use the automated claims filing line to complete your weekly claims, you will need to begin filing using the online filing system. If you have a qualified hardship that prevents you from filing online, you will need to contact the Claimant Assistance Center to have someone review and validate your specific circumstance.

Am I required to accept a job offer?

You are required, as a condition of receiving unemployment benefits, to apply for and accept an offer of suitable work. If you fail, without good cause, to either apply for or accept an offer of suitable work, you will be disqualified for benefits and may be required to repay benefits you received. Although you may be looking for full time work, a refusal of suitable part-time work could also result in a disqualification.

What is "Suitable Work?"

Suitable work is generally defined as work that you are qualified to do based on your skills, work experience, and employment history and that pays at least the prevailing wage rate for the type of job in your local labor market.

Prior training and/or experience, prior earnings, length of employment, prospects of securing work in your local labor market in your customary occupation, the distance to work from your home, physical fitness requirements of the job, the degree of risk involved to your health, safety, or morals are factors involved in deter-mining if a job is suitable.

The longer you are unemployed, the more intensive and expansive your work searches should become. A job paying less than the last one you held will gradually become more suitable the longer you are unemployed.

What if I can’t go back to work due to childcare or virtual learning?

If you are unable to return to work due to childcare or because your child’s school is currently providing virtual instruction, you are exempt from completing the work search, and should indicate this on the work search portion of the online weekly claim.

Important note: The Department of Labor may follow up with you directly to request proof that your child’s school or childcare is/was closed. Failure to provide documentation when requested may result in a loss of benefits and a requirement to repay benefits.

What if my doctor has advised me not to return to work due to being high-risk?

If your healthcare provider has advised you not to return to work due to COVID-19 because you have a high-risk health condition, you are exempt from the work search requirement and should indicate this on the work search portion of the online weekly claim.

Important note: The Department of Labor may follow up with you directly to request documentation from your healthcare provider. Failure to provide documentation when requested may result in a loss of benefits and a requirement to repay benefits.

What if I am quarantining?

If you are quarantining due to having contracted COVID-19 or because you have been identified as a "close contact" of someone who was diagnosed with COVID-19, you do not need to complete a work search and should indicate this situation in the work search section of your online weekly claim certification.

 

Contact Information

COVID-19 Update: Department of Labor offices are currently closed due to COVID-19. Please contact the Department by phone.

Vermont Department of Labor
5 Green Mountain Drive
P.O. Box 488
Montpelier, 05601-0488
(802) 828-4000

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