Legislature approves unemployment compensation work search requirement

Legislature approves unemployment compensation work search requirement

By HEATHER GANN, Alabama Daily News

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The Legislature on Wednesday gave final passage to a bill requiring people receiving state unemployment benefits to apply for at least three jobs per week.

Senate Bill 224, sponsored by Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, was approved 76-24 by the House and now goes to Gov. Kay Ivey.

“I want those on unemployment to get off as soon as they can, because the most they’re gonna make a week is $275,” Rep. Danny Garrett, R-Trussville, who sponsored the bill in the House . “The faster they’re back in the workforce the better.”

Several Democrat legislators spoke against the bill, all citing concerns for a lack of equality in both resources and opportunity to seek jobs in Alabama.

“This bill is making everybody fit into the same widget but there is not one-size-fits-all,” said Rep. Barbara Drummond, D-Mobile. “We agree there are jobs and there are folks who don’t want to work but several want to and can’t because of impediments like (a lack of) child care and broadband connection.”

Garrett said people who want jobs can find them due to Alabama’s labor shortage and that the requirement of three job searches per week was to help ensure greater success in this venture.

State law already requires people on unemployment to make an effort to secure work. The legislation would specify that the person must contact three potential employers about finding a job. The contacts could be made in person or by telephone or email.

Garrett said state rules now requirement one contact a week.

“Your odds are finding work are going to be better, I believe, if you are looking three times versus one time,” Garrett said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.