Governor ends suspension of job search requirement among PUA claimants

ASSISTANCE: In this July 29, 2020, file photo, pandemic-displaced workers line up to enter the Guam Department of Labor Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Center at Guam Community College in Mangilao. Post file photo

Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero's latest executive order reinforced the Guam Department of Labor's earlier announcement that Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claimants would need to show proof they are looking for a job starting on Aug. 1, or they risk disqualification from getting benefits.

"PUA claimants must now meet work search requirements as required in United States Department of Labor guidance following Hawaii regulations," the governor said in her July 21 order.

The governor rescinded the suspension of the PUA work search requirement contained in her July 2020 executive order.

This is in line with GDOL's earlier announcement that PUA claimants would need to show proof of three job searches each week starting Aug. 1, or they may get disqualified from PUA and the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation that week.

The lifting of the job search requirement suspension would help PUA claimants prepare for the Sept. 4 ending of the federally funded PUA and FPUC, the local labor agency said.

But as more businesses reopen and employees are called back in or found new jobs, the number of PUA claimants has declined to about 12,000, from a peak of about 28,000 last year.

The number of claims batched for biweekly payment, as a result, has also dropped. It went from about $25 million and above last year, to about $17 million in recent months, and to $14.8 million this week. The latest payments should reach workers by early next week.

"PUA is ending Sept. 4 and this work search requirement only helps our economy and our people as we rebuild our workforce," Guam Labor Director David Dell’Isola said in a statement.

Job search requirements 

GDOL released a "how-to" video to guide PUA claimants all the way through the job search requirement process.

The video can be found on the agency's website at dol.guam.gov, the agency's YouTube page under Guam DOL, as well as Instagram under @hireguam.com.

"We hope the video tutorial will help our claimants smoothly navigate through the new steps added to the weekly certification process for PUA. We understand that changes to the system can be confusing so we’re trying to make the process as clear and easy as possible," Dell’Isola said.

Those exempt from the work search requirement include:

  • Employees working reduced hours.
  • Individuals in an approved job training program.
  • Self-employed persons working to reestablish their business to its pre-pandemic state.

Haidee Eugenio Gilbert

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