Mandatory Claimant Work Search

COVID-10 UPDATE: The UI Claimant Work Search requirement has been temporarily suspended due to COVID-19. This was done to protect claimants while also ensuring that employers had the workforce needed when they are able to reopen at full capacity. The work search requirement is both a federal and state mandate and is likely to reactivated in the coming weeks. Claimant who are able to work, should begin the process of looking for employment immediately. Complete information about the claimant work search process can be found in the UI Claimant Handbook.

Some claimants may continue to see the question ‘Have you looked for work during the last week’. Please note that the answer to this question WILL NOT impact your eligibility for benefits. Claimants are encouraged to answer this question truthfully.

The Work Search Requirement

As an Unemployment Insurance claimant you are REQUIRED to make and report at least three (3) job contacts for each week you file a weekly claim certification.

What is a valid job contact?

A valid job contact depends on the type of work you are qualified to perform. Make sure that you apply for jobs you are qualified to do and are willing to accept.

  • Submission of a job application for a vacant position is a valid contact.
  • Applying in person would be a valid contact for “non-professional” trades, such as work in the construction trade.
  • Submission of a resume would only be acceptable IF you work in a “professional” trade or occupation.
  • unless you have actually applied for a job with a specific employer.

In these instances, you should print and keep any confirmation you receive indicating your application has been submitted. If the employer instructs you to apply online or an in-store kiosk, the contact is only valid if you have applied in that manner.

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.
  • Telephone calls are NOT an acceptable method of contact.
  • Browsing online job boards, such as Vermont JobLink, or posting your resume at an employment website, is not a valid job contact.
What are the requirements asked of me?
  • You will be required to register with Vermont Job Link if you have not already registered.
  • You are also REQUIRED to keep accurate records of your job contacts.
    • Work search forms are provided in the back of the handbook to assist you in keeping track of your contacts.
    • If you do not use these forms, you are required to keep records containing all of the information outlined on our work search form (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). Please be sure to keep copies of confirmation pages and or e-mail records for online and e-mail work search efforts.
What if I do not meet these requirements?

If you have not met the requirements listed above, you may be found in overpayment for any week(s) you did not comply with the directives and may be required to repay benefits.

The Department will also be conducting random checks of job contacts. If you do not make contacts as required, you will be liable to repay benefits improperly paid. If you are asked to submit information to the Department, and are in need of assistance, contact Unemployment Insurance. 

Additional Information
  • You may be selected to participate in Re-employment Services provided by a Career Resource Center. Failure to participate may result in a denial and/or overpayment of benefits, which you could be liable to repay.
  • Additionally, in order to receive certain unemployment benefits, you may be required by the Department to attend an orientation session at a Career Resource Center, as well as enter your work search contacts weekly through an online Web application (to be added at a later date).
Am I Exempt from the Work Search Requirement?
  • COVID-19 Update: The UI Claimant Work Search requirement has been temporarily suspended due to COVID-19. Click here for more information.
  • If your employer has provided you with a definitive return-to-work-date occurring within 10 weeks, click here for more information. 
  • If the Vermont Division of Vocational Rehabilitation is helping you conduct a work search, your counselor may submit a letter to the Department to request waiver of the unemployment work search requirements under the regular unemployment insurance program. This does not, however, waive the requirement to be able and available for work.

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 [TK4] rate for the type of job in your local labor market.

Am I Required to Accept Suitable Work?

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 Determines if Work is ‘Suitable’?

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.

  • You must be willing to accept 10% less than you were making when you filed your initial claim.
  • After five (5) weeks of filing, you must be willing to accept 20% less
  • After ten (10) weeks of filing, you must be willing to accept the prevailing wage for the type of work you are seeking.
What is Prevailing Wage?

The prevailing wage is the average wage for the job among all employers in your labor market. A Career Resource Center can provide you with prevailing wage information in your labor market or it can be obtained at Reminder: You must report all refusals of work, even if you believe that they are not suitable.

ELMI Occupation Profiles:

Return-to-Work Dates

Even if you have a return-to-work date, you must be available for work. If you refuse an offer of work, and the Department determines the offer was for “suitable work”, you will be disqualified from receiving benefits and may have to repay benefits that have been paid to you.

For Dates within 10 Weeks:

If an employer provides you with a definite return to work date for full-time employment that is within 10 weeks from the date you opened your claim, you may be excused from making an active work search once the employer submits written confirmation of the return-to-work date to the Department. A form (B-37) with the information needed from the employer is provided in the back of this handbook. [TK6] 

Fore Dates of more than 10 Weeks:

If your return-to-work date is greater than 10 weeks from the date you open your claim, you will be required to perform a work search and report your work searches on your weekly continued claim online at beginning with your first week of filing and until you return to work.

What if my return date changes?

If a return-to-work date changes, the employer must contact the Department to provide a new date.

What if my return date passes?

If your return-to-work date has passed and you are unable to file your weekly claim, you will need to contact Claimant Assistance at 1-877-214-3332 in order to have your record updated and weekly claim taken by staff.

Additional Links:
  • Work Search Reporting Form (PDF)

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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