File No. 36223
This rule was published in the June 1, 2012, issue (Vol. 2012, No. 11) of the Utah State Bulletin.
Workforce Services, Unemployment Insurance
Claim for Benefits
Notice of Proposed Rule
DAR File No.: 36223
Filed: 05/15/2012 05:32:43 PM
Purpose of the rule or reason for the change:
The purpose of this amendment is to clarify some language and make four job contacts mandatory.
Summary of the rule or change:
The current rule allows claimants some time before they are required to make four new job contacts per week. This amendment will only allow one week, the waiting week, after which a claimant will be denied benefits if he or she does not contact four new employers per week. This proposed amendment also changes some language to make the rule more clear and moves some subsections to a different section for clarity. Additionally, the definition of suitable work has been taken out of this rule but left in Rule R994-405 to avoid duplicity. (DAR NOTE: The proposed amendment to Rule R994-405 is under DAR No. 36224 in this issue, June 1, 2012, of the Bulletin.)
State statutory or constitutional authorization for this rule:
- Section 35A-1-104
- Subsection 35A-4-502(1)(b)
- Subsection 35A-4-403(1)
- Subsection 35A-1-104(4)
Anticipated cost or savings to:
the state budget:
This is a federally-funded program so there are no costs or savings to the state budget.
This is a federally-funded program so there are no costs of savings to local government.
There are no costs or savings to small businesses as there are no fees associated with this program and it is federally funded.
persons other than small businesses, businesses, or local governmental entities:
There are no costs or savings to persons other than small businesses, businesses, or local governmental entities as there are no fees associated with this program and it is federally funded.
Compliance costs for affected persons:
There are no costs or savings to any affected persons as there are no fees associated with this program and it is federally funded. These changes will not impact any employer's contribution rate.
Comments by the department head on the fiscal impact the rule may have on businesses:
There are no compliance costs associated with this change. There are no fees associated with this change. There will be no cost to anyone to comply with these changes. There will be no fiscal impact on any business. These changes will have no impact on any employers contribution tax rate.
Kristen Cox, Executive Director
The full text of this rule may be inspected, during regular business hours, at the Division of Administrative Rules, or at:Workforce Services
140 E 300 S
SALT LAKE CITY, UT 84111-2333
Direct questions regarding this rule to:
- Suzan Pixton at the above address, by phone at 801-526-9645, by FAX at 801-526-9211, or by Internet E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Interested persons may present their views on this rule by submitting written comments to the address above no later than 5:00 p.m. on:
This rule may become effective on:
Kristen Cox, Executive Director
R994. Workforce Services, Unemployment Insurance.
R994-403. Claim for Benefits.
R994-403-101a. Filing a New Claim.
(1) A new claim for unemployment benefits is made by filing with the Department of Workforce Services Claims Center. A new claim can be filed by telephone, completing an application at the Department's web site, or as otherwise instructed by the Department.
(2) The effective date of a new claim for
benefits is the Sunday [
immediately preceding the date] the claim is filed, provided the
claimant did not work full-time during that week, or is not
entitled to earnings equal to or in excess of the WBA for that
week. A claim for benefits can only be made effective for a prior
week if the claimant can establish good cause for late filing in
accordance with R994-403-106a.
(3) When a claimant files a new claim during the last week of a quarter and has worked less than full-time for that week, the Department will make the claim effective that week if it is advantageous to the claimant, even if the claimant has earnings for that week that are equal to or in excess of the WBA.
(4) Wages used to establish eligibility for a claim cannot be used on a subsequent claim.
R994-403-103a. Reopening a Claim.
(1) A claim for benefits is considered "closed" when a claimant reports four consecutive weeks of earnings equal to or in excess of the WBA or does not file a weekly claim within 27 days from the last week filed. In those circumstances, the claimant must reopen the claim before benefits can be paid.
(2) A claimant may reopen the claim any
time during the 52-week period after first filing by contacting the
Claims Center. The effective date of the reopened claim will be the
immediately preceding the date] the claimant requests reopening unless
good cause is established for failure to request reopening during a
prior week in accordance with R994-403-106a.
R994-403-108b. Deferral of Work Registration and Work Search.
(1) The Department may elect to defer the work registration and work search requirements. A claimant placed in a deferred status is not required to actively seek work but must meet all other availability requirements of the act. Deferrals are generally limited to the following circumstances:
(a) Labor Disputes.
A claimant who is unemployed due to a labor dispute may be deferred while an eligibility determination under Subsection 35A-4-405(4) is pending. If benefits are allowed, the claimant must register for work immediately.
(b) Union Attachment.
A claimant who is a union member in good standing, is on the out-of-work list, or is otherwise eligible for a job referral by the union, and has earned at least half of his or her base period earnings through the union, may be eligible for a deferral. If a deferral is granted to a union member, it shall not be extended beyond the mid-point of the claim unless the claimant can demonstrate a reasonable expectation of obtaining employment through the union.
(c) Employer Attachment.
A claimant who has an attachment to a prior employer and a date of recall to full-time employment within ten weeks of filing or reopening a claim may have the work registration requirement deferred to the expected date of recall. The deferral should not extend longer than ten weeks.
(d) Three Week Deferral.
A claimant who accepts a definite offer of full-time work to begin within three weeks, shall be deferred for that period.
A claimant may be deferred when, due to seasonal factors, work is not available in the claimant's primary base period occupation and other suitable work is not available in the area.
(2) Deferrals cannot be granted if prohibited by state or federal law for certain benefit programs.
(1) General Requirement.
The claimant must be available for full-time work. Any restrictions on availability, such as lack of transportation, domestic problems, school attendance, military obligations, church or civic activities, whether self-imposed or beyond the control of the claimant, lessen the claimant's opportunities to obtain suitable full-time work.
(2) Activities Which Affect Availability.
It is not the intent of the act to subsidize activities which interfere with immediate reemployment. A claimant is not considered available for work if the claimant is involved in any activity which cannot be immediately abandoned or interrupted so that the claimant can seek and accept full-time work.
(a) Activities Which May Result in a Denial of Benefits.
For purposes of establishing weekly eligibility for benefits, a claimant who is engaged in an activity for more than half the normal workweek that would prevent the claimant from working, is presumed to be unavailable and therefore ineligible for benefits. The normal workweek means the normal workweek in the claimant's occupation. This presumption can be overcome by a showing that the activity did not preclude the immediate acceptance of full-time work, referrals to work, contacts from the Department, or an active search for work. When a claimant is away from his or her residence but has made arrangements to be contacted and can return quickly enough to respond to any opportunity for work, the presumption of unavailability may be overcome. The conclusion of unavailability can also be overcome in the following circumstances:
(i) Travel Which is Necessary to Seek Work.
(A) Benefits will not be denied if the claimant is required to travel to seek, apply for, or accept work within the United States or in a foreign country where the claimant has authorization to work and where there is a reciprocal agreement. The trip itself must be for the purpose of obtaining work. There is a rebuttable presumption that the claimant is not available for work when the trip is extended to accommodate the claimant's personal needs or interests, and the extension is for more than one-half of the workweek.
(B) Unemployment benefits cannot be paid to a claimant located in a foreign country unless the claimant has authorization to work there and there is a reciprocal agreement concerning the payment of unemployment benefits with that foreign country.
(C) Unemployment benefits are intended, in part, to stimulate the economy of Utah and the United States and thus are expected to be spent in this country. A claimant who travels to a foreign country must report to the Department that he or she is out of the country, even if it is for a temporary purpose and regardless of whether the claimant intends to return to the United States if work becomes available. Failure to inform the Department will result in a fraud overpayment for the weeks benefits were paid while the claimant was in a foreign country. The claimant may be eligible if the travel is to Canada but must notify the Department of that travel. Canada is the only country with which Utah has a reciprocal agreement. If the claimant travels to, but is not eligible to work in, Canada and fails to notify the Department of the travel, it will result in a fraud overpayment for the weeks benefits were paid while the claimant was in Canada.
(ii) Definite Offer of Work or Recall.
If the claimant has accepted a definite offer of full-time employment or has a date of recall to begin within three weeks, the claimant does not have to demonstrate further availability except as provided in subparagraphs (B) and (C) of this section and is not required to seek other work. Because the statute requires that a claimant be able to work, if a claimant is unable to work for more than one-half of any week due to illness or hospitalization, benefits will be denied.
(iii) Jury Duty or Court Attendance.
Jury duty or court attendance is a public duty required by law and a claimant will not be denied benefits if he or she is unavailable because of a lawfully issued summons to appear as a witness or to serve on a jury unless the claimant:
(A) is a party to the action;
(B) had employment which he or she was unable to continue or accept because of the court service; or
(C) refused or delayed an offer of suitable employment because of the court service.
The time spent in court service is not a personal service performed under a contract of hire and therefore is not considered employment.
(b) Activities Which Will Result in a Denial of Benefits.
(i) Refusal of Work.
When a claimant refuses any suitable work, the claimant is considered unavailable. Even though the claimant had valid reasons for not accepting the work, benefits will not be allowed for the week or weeks in which the work was available. Benefits are also denied when a claimant fails to be available for job referrals or a call to return to work under reasonable conditions consistent with a previously established work relationship. This includes referral attempts from a temporary employment service, a school district for substitute teaching, or any other employer for which work is "on-call."
(ii) Failure to Perform All Work During the Week of Separation.
(A) Benefits will be denied for the week in which separation from employment occurs if the claimant's unemployment was caused because the claimant was not able or available to do his or her work. In this circumstance, there is a presumption of continued inability or unavailability and an indefinite disqualification will be assessed until there is proof of a change in the conditions or circumstances.
(B) If the claimant was absent from work during the last week of employment and the claimant was not paid for the day or days of absence, benefits will be denied for that week. The claimant will be denied benefits under this section regardless of the length of the absence.
(3) Hours of Availability.
Except as provided in R994-403-111c(5), in order to meet the availability requirement, a claimant must be ready and willing to immediately accept full-time work. Full-time work generally means 40 hours a week but may vary due to customary practices in an occupation. If the claimant was last employed less than full-time, there is a rebuttable presumption that the claimant continues to be available for only part-time work.
(b) Other Than Normal Work Hours.
If the claimant worked other than normal work hours and the work schedule was adjusted to accommodate the claimant, the claimant cannot continue to limit his or her hours of availability even if the claimant was working 40 hours or more. The claimant must be available for full-time work during normal work hours as is customary for the industry.
Wage Restrictions. (a) No claimant will be expected, as a condition of
eligibility, to accept a wage that is less than the state or
federal minimum wage, whichever is applicable, or a wage that is
substantially less favorable to the claimant than prevailing
wages for similar work in the locality. Benefits cannot be
allowed if the claimant is restricting himself or herself to a
wage that is not available.
(b) A claimant must be given a reasonable time to seek
work that will preserve his or her earning potential. At the time
of filing an initial claim, or at the time of reopening a claim
following a period of employment, the claimant may restrict his
or her wage requirement to the highest wage earned during or
subsequent to the base period and prior to filing the claim or
the highest wage available in the locality for the claimant's
occupation, whichever is lower, but only if there is a reasonable
expectation that work can be obtained at that wage.
(i) After a claimant has received1/3 of the maximum
benefit amount (MBA) for his or her regular claim, the claimant
must accept any wage that is equal to or greater than the lowest
wage earned during the base period, as long as that wage is
consistent with the prevailing wage standard.
(ii) After a claimant has received 2/3 of the MBA for his
or her regular claim, the claimant must be willing to accept the
prevailing wage in the locality for work in any base period
(c) Exception for Deferred Claimants.
The provisions of this section do not apply to those
claimants who qualify for deferrals under Subsection
35A-4-403(1)(b) and R994-403-202 during the period of
(5) Type of Work.
(a) One of the purposes of the unemployment insurance
program is to help a claimant preserve his or her highest skill
by providing unemployment benefits so the claimant can find work
similar to what the claimant had prior to becoming unemployed. A
skill is defined as a marketable ability developed over an
extended period of time by training or experience which could be
lost if not used. It is not the intent of the program to
subsidize individuals who are limiting their availability because
of a desire to improve their employment status.
(i) At the time of filing an initial claim or reopening a
claim following a period of employment, a claimant may restrict
availability to the highest skilled employment performed during
or subsequent to the base period provided the claimant has a
reasonable expectation of obtaining that type of work. A claimant
who is not willing to accept employment consistent with work
performed during or subsequent to the base period must show a
compelling reason for that restriction in order to be considered
available for work.
(ii) After the claimant has received 1/3 of the MBA for
his or her regular claim, the claimant must be willing to accept
work in any of the occupations in which the claimant worked
during the base period.
(iii) After the claimant has received 2/3 of the MBA for
his or her regular claim, the claimant must be willing to accept
any work that he or she can reasonably perform consistent with the
claimant's past experience, training, and skills.]
(b) Contract Obligation.
If a claimant is restricted due to a contractual obligation from competing with a former employer or accepting employment in the claimant's regular occupation, the claimant is not eligible for benefits unless the claimant can show that he or she:
(i) is actively seeking work outside the restrictions of the noncompete contract;
(ii) has the skills and/or training necessary to obtain that work; and
(iii) can reasonably expect to obtain that employment.
6]) Employer/Occupational Requirements.
If the claimant does not have the license or special equipment required for the type of work the claimant wants to obtain, the claimant cannot be considered available for work unless the claimant is actively seeking other types of work and has a reasonable expectation of obtaining that work.
7]) Temporary Availability.
When an individual is limited to temporary work because of anticipated military service, school attendance, travel, church service, relocation, a reasonable expectation of recall to a former employer for which the claimant is not in deferral status, or any other anticipated restriction on the claimant's future availability, availability is only established if the claimant is willing to accept and is actively seeking temporary work. The claimant must also show there is a realistic expectation that there is temporary work in the claimant's occupation, otherwise the claimant may be required to accept temporary work in another occupation. Evidence of a genuine desire to obtain temporary work may be shown by registration with and willingness to accept work with temporary employment services.
8]) Distance to Work.
(a) Customary Commuting Patterns.
A claimant must show reasonable access to public or private transportation, and a willingness to commute within customary commuting patterns for the occupation and community.
(b) Removal to a Locality of Limited Work Opportunities.
A claimant who moves from an area where there are substantial work opportunities to an area of limited work opportunities must demonstrate that the new locale has work for which the claimant is qualified and which the claimant is willing to perform. If the work is so limited in the new locale that there is little expectation the claimant will become reemployed, the continued unemployment is the result of the move and not the failure of the labor market to provide employment opportunities. In that case, the claimant is considered to have removed himself or herself from the labor market and is no longer eligible for benefits.
(a) A claimant attending school who has not been granted Department approval for a deferral must still meet all requirements of being able and available for work and be actively seeking work. Areas that need to be examined when making an eligibility determination with respect to a student include reviewing a claimant's work history while attending school, coupled with his or her efforts to secure full-time work. If the hours of school attendance conflict with the claimant's established work schedule or with the customary work schedule for the occupation in which the claimant is seeking work, a rebuttable presumption is established that the claimant is not available for full-time work and benefits will generally be denied. An announced willingness on the part of a claimant to discontinue school attendance or change his or her school schedule, if necessary, to accept work must be weighed against the time already spent in school as well as the financial loss the claimant may incur if he or she were to withdraw.
(b) A presumption of unavailability may also be raised if a claimant moves, for the purpose of attending school, from an area with substantial labor market to a labor market with more limited opportunities. In order to overcome this presumption, the claimant must demonstrate there is full-time work available in the new area which the claimant could reasonably expect to obtain.
10]) Employment of Youth.
Title 34, Chapter 23 of the Utah Code imposes limitations on the number of hours youth under the age of 16 may work. The following limitations do not apply if the individual has received a high school diploma or is married. Claimants under the age of 16 who do not provide proof of meeting one of these exceptions are under the following limitations whether or not in student status because they have a legal obligation to attend school. Youth under the age of 16 may not work:
(a) during school hours except as authorized by the proper school authorities;
(b) before or after school in excess of 4 hours a day;
(c) before 5:00 a.m. or after 9:30 p.m. on days preceding school days;
(d) in excess of 8 hours in any 24-hour period; or
(e) more than 40 hours in any week.
11]) Domestic Obligations.
When a claimant has an obligation to care for children or other dependents, the claimant must show that arrangements for the care of those individuals have been made for all hours that are normally worked in the claimant's occupation and must show a good faith, active work search effort.
R994-403-113c. Work Search.
(1) General Requirements.
A] claimant must make an active, good faith effort to secure
employment each and every week for which benefits are claimed.
Efforts to find work must be judged by the standards of the
occupation and the community.
An active effort to look for work [
is generally interpreted to mean that each week a claimant
should contact a minimum of four employers not previously
contacted] unless the claimant is otherwise directed by
[ the Department]. Those contacts should be made
with employers that hire people in the claimant's occupation or
occupations for which the claimant has work experience or would
otherwise be qualified and willing to accept employment. [ Failure of a claimant to make at least the minimum number
of contacts creates a rebuttable presumption that the claimant is
not making an active work search. The claimant may overcome this
presumption by showing that he or she has pursued a job development
plan likely to result in employment. A claimant's job
development activities for a specific week should be considered in
relation to the claimant's overall work search efforts and the
length of the claimant's unemployment. Creating a job
development plan and/or writing resumes may be reasonable and
acceptable activities during the first few weeks of a claim, but
may be insufficient after the claimant has been unemployed for
(3) Good Faith.
Good faith efforts are defined as those
methods which a reasonable person, anxious to return to work, would
make if desirous of obtaining employment. A good faith effort [
is not necessarily established] simply[
by] making a specific number of contacts to
satisfy the Department requirement.
(4) Union Attachment. (a) Union attachment is sufficient to meet the
requirements of an active work search if the claimant is eligible
for a deferral as established under Subsection
(b) If the claimant is not in deferred status because the
claimant did not earn at least 50 percent of his or her base
period wage credits in employment as a union member, or the
deferral has ended, the claimant must meet the requirements of an
active, good faith work search by contacting employers in
addition to contacts with the union. This work search is required
even though unions may have regulations and rules which penalize
members for making independent contacts to try to find work or
for accepting nonunion employment.
R994-403-114c. Claimant's Obligation to Prove Weekly Eligibility.
(1) has the burden of proving that he or she is able, available, and actively seeking full-time work:
(2) must report any information that might affect eligibility;
(3) must provide any information requested by the Department which is required to establish eligibility;
5]) must immediately notify the Department if the claimant is
4]) must keep a detailed record of [ the employers contacted, as well as other activities that
are likely to result in employment for each week benefits are
R994-403-204. Availability Requirements When Approval is Granted.
If Department approval is granted, the claimant will be
placed in deferred status once the training begins and will not be
required to register for work or to seek and accept work. The
deferral also applies to break periods between successive terms as
long as the break period is four weeks or less. A claimant must
make a work search prior to the onset of training, even if the
claimant has been advised that the training has been
[ B]enefits will not be denied when work is refused as
satisfactory attendance and progress in school serves as a
substitute for the availability requirements of the act.
(2) Absences from school will not necessarily result in a denial of benefits during those weeks the claimant can demonstrate he or she is making up any missed school work and is still making satisfactory progress in school. Satisfactory progress is defined as passing all classes with a grade level sufficient to qualify for graduation, licensing, or certification, as appropriate.
(3) A disqualification will be effective with the week the claimant knew or should have known he or she was not going to receive a passing grade in any of his or her classes or was otherwise not making satisfactory progress in school. It is the claimant's responsibility to immediately report any information that may indicate a failure to maintain satisfactory progress.
(4) The claimant must attend school full-time as defined by the educational institution. If a claimant discontinues school attendance, drops or changes any classes before the end of the term, Department approval may be terminated immediately. However, discontinuing a class that does not reduce the school credits below full-time status will not result in the termination of Department approval. Department approval may be reinstated during any week a claimant demonstrates, through appropriate verification, the claimant is again attending class regularly and making satisfactory progress.
(5) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this section, if the claimant was absent from school for more than one-half of the workweek due to illness or hospitalization, the claimant is considered to be unable to work and unemployment benefits will be denied for that week. A claimant has the responsibility to report any sickness, injury, or other circumstances that prevented him or her from attending school.
(6) A claimant is ineligible for Department approval if the claimant is retaking a class that was originally taken while receiving benefits under Department approval. However, if Department approval was denied during the time the course was originally in progress, approval may be reinstated to cover that portion of the course not previously subsidized if the claimant can demonstrate satisfactory progress.
KEY: filing deadlines, registration, student eligibility, unemployment compensation
Date of Enactment or Last Substantive Amendment: [
January 17, ]2012
Notice of Continuation: June 26, 2007
Authorizing, and Implemented or Interpreted Law: 35A-4-403(1)
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For questions regarding the content or application of this rule, please contact Suzan Pixton at the above address, by phone at 801-526-9645, by FAX at 801-526-9211, or by Internet E-mail at email@example.com.