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Certain industries, such as tourism, fishing and in certain construction trades are seasonal. This means that even successful businesses must lay of some or all of their employees during the slow season. Take for instance concrete mixing companies. In most parts of the United States concrete mixing plants and related business close down during Winter and lay off most of their workers. However, in Spring these same employees will be rehired. Do these workers need to look for work while they are receiving benefits even though they know they will have a job to return to in Spring? This essentially was the question a Pennsylvania business owner asked us this week:
Some of our employees get laid-off during the Wintertime due to the slowness of our business. This is purely seasonal; because come Spring, they will be back to work for us. Our question is:
If our employees are seasonal; when they are laid-off do they have to look for other jobs? Is there some form or letter that can be sent to say that they are seasonal employees? Please let us know.
This is an excellent question because searching for a job while you are receiving unemployment benefits is part of Pennsylvania’s Unemployment Insurance Active Search for Work requirements. These requirements were changed at the end of the 2011 and unemployed workers must meet new requirements starting from January 2012.
There are three main requirements: register for employment search services with the Pennsylvania Careerlink system within 30 days of filing your application for benefits, search for work every week you file for benefits and keep a record of your work search efforts. In general, if you do not meet one of these requirements you will not be eligible for benefits.
However, there are certain exceptions to these requirements that may be of interest to certain seasonal workers. One of these exceptions applies to workers who have been laid off by their employers due to lack of work but have been told they can return to work within 28 days of their last work day. This means that workers who know they will be without work for less than 29 days do not have to look for another job while they receive benefits. However, seasonal workers who are set to be unemployed for more than 28 days during the slow season must actively search for work or risk the possibility of losing their benefits.
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