The global labor shortage is hitting hospitality businesses from all sides. A lack of workers across sectors, like transportation, increases the cost of doing business while a shortage of local workers prevents businesses from keeping up with demand. Despite the current situation, positive changes are coming.
The most recent data shows the unemployment rate in Washington state is falling and changes to the state unemployment system should help bring more people into the workforce. On July 4, rules that require claimants to actively search for jobs returned to the state’s unemployment system.
The association heard from members all across the state about the challenges of filling positions while the job search requirements were suspended. Your government affairs team worked closely with the governor’s office and the Employment Security Department (ESD) to restore the job search requirement once the state fully reopened.
Meanwhile, operators can help speed up the recovery by being diligent and reporting suspected unemployment insurance fraud. While some might use the phrase unemployment fraud to describe a situation where an ineligible person knowingly applies for benefits, another form of fraud — when a person willingly turns down work to stay on unemployment — might seem more prevalent to business owners in need of employees right now. Failing to attend a scheduled interview wastes employer’s time and could be a violation of the current state requirement that a claimant performs three work search activities a week. The ESD website does allow claimants to choose from 40+ work search activities and reporting the practice is a good way to discourage potential candidates from engaging in a range of activities from failing to attend an interview to failing to search at all.
Employers have an important role to play to ensure the unemployment system works as intended. Employers should submit a form found on the state’s eServices portal to report an individual who has refused a job offer or interview. To access the form you will need to log in to the Employer Account Management System (EAMS) and click the “request access to locked services” button. You learn more about adding EAMS to your SAW account here. According to the ESD, individuals receiving unemployment benefits must be able and available for suitable work. This includes an offer to return to work after being laid off because of the coronavirus. You can learn more about reporting refusals to work here.
There are a number of resources available for job seekers and employers alike. The ESD recently expanded their list of eligible job search activities and you can view our list of online job boards on our coronavirus knowledgebase.