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House Bill 686 — Unemployment, qualifications (+1)

House Bill 686 — Unemployment, qualifications (+1)

Parrish Miller
March 5, 2024

Bill Description: House Bill 686 would clarify what qualifies as looking for work and require those receiving unemployment benefits to perform more such actions.

Rating: +1

NOTE: House Bill 686 is related to House Bill 481, introduced earlier this session.

Does it increase government redistribution of wealth? Examples include the use of tax policy or other incentives to reward specific interest groups, businesses, politicians, or government employees with special favors or perks; transfer payments; and hiring additional government employees. Conversely, does it decrease government redistribution of wealth?

House Bill 686 would amend Section 72-1366, Idaho Code, to require those receiving unemployment benefits to conduct at least five "work search actions per week." The bill defines ten specific work search actions and says that "an action shall be considered an acceptable work search action" if it consists of one or more of the items on the list. 

The list is quite broad and includes, among other things, job searches, job search counseling, completing a resume, uploading a resume to a job board, taking a civil service exam, submitting a resume to an employer, and attending a job fair.

The bill adds a provision that says, "Failure to appear for a previously scheduled job interview without notifying the employer of the need to cancel or reschedule shall constitute a failure to apply for suitable work for that week."

The bill also clarifies that "a good cause reason for not applying for available and suitable work or responding to an offer of suitable employment shall be found only if the claimant is ill, injured, or delayed by reason of an accident or medical emergency involving the claimant or a member of the claimant's immediate family."

Finally, the bill instructs the Idaho Department of Labor to "establish an email address and web portal that allows employers to report suspected violations" of this law. The department will be tasked with sending annual reminders about this email address and web portal to employers. 

The Idaho Department of Labor reports that 30% of unemployment claimants exhaust benefits before returning to work. Implementing stricter requirements for those receiving unemployment benefits could help them return to work more quickly and consequently help reduce unemployment taxes for employers and the redistributive system of subsidies they fund.


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