Work Search FAQ

Last updated on 6/16/2021 at 9:45 am

The work search requirement was reinstated 5/23/2021. Claimants are required to make four work search contacts each week they claim benefits.

Frequently asked questions about the work search actions claimants must perform each week unless the department provides a waiver.

Additional information can be found in the Handbook for Claimants (also En Español and Txhais lus Hmoob).

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The work search waiver expires on May 23, 2021. This means that claimants will be required to begin performing work search actions the week of May 23-29, 2021, and will need to report those work search actions when filing their weekly claims starting May 30, 2021.

No, if you are receiving PUA benefits you will not be prompted to provide information regarding your work search actions when filing your weekly claims.

If you report that you are still working for your employer and you report weekly wages, you are not required to perform work search actions.

Correct, if your portal says "work search waived" for any of the approved reasons, you do not need to perform weekly work search actions.

Examples of Valid Work Search Actions and Acceptable Proof
(list is not all-inclusive)
Examples of Valid Work Search Actions Acceptable Proof

Mandatory JCW registration/participating in mandatory re-employment services.

UI confirms with JCW. Keep copy of email confirmation.

Submitting résumé or application IN PERSON to employer that has openings/is taking applications.

Document the details (date, name and phone number of employer, name and title of contact).

Submitting résumé or application ONLINE to employer that has openings/is taking applications.

Copy of email confirming résumé or application received. Note: This is needed even if submitting application or résumé through JCW.

Applying for civil service position on wisc.jobs.

Copy of email confirming résumé or application received.

Non-mandatory re-employment services (training supplied by the Job Center of Wisconsin to help you get a job, but not a required activity).

Document activity, location (in person or online), and date of participation.

Registering with placement facility, temporary help agency, or head hunter.

First time registration with each facility/agency only. Electronic or paper copy of registration form or copy of email confirming registration.

Posting résumé on employment website (e.g. Indeed.com, CareerBuilder.com).

First time posting with each website only. Copy of email confirming receipt of résumé.

Meeting with a career counselor.

Document details (date, name and phone number of career counselor).

Participating in job interview.

Document details (date, name and phone number of the employer, name and title of contact).

Participating in professional work-related networking group/event.

Keep registration confirmation, ticket, or name badge showing name and date of event.

Creating a personal user profile on professional networking site (e.g. LinkedIn.com, MyOpportunity.com).

Screenshot of the profile which could be verified by the state agency.

Using online career tools such as job match advisors, other national job boards, or mySkills myFuture.

Screenshot of the results from tools used.

Examples of Invalid Work Search Actions
(list is not all-inclusive)
  • Viewing job leads (but not applying).
  • Contacting employer to learn that no openings exist/applications are not being taken.
  • Submitting application to same employer within 4-week period (unless a new job becomes available/posted).
  • Subsequent/duplicate posting of résumés on job search websites (unless part of application for specific job).
  • Submitting application for work that is not reasonable considering your training, experience, duration of unemployment, and availability of jobs in your labor market.

Claimants must document their work search actions for each week they claim benefits, having enough detail to allow for verification by the department. The department may request acceptable proof of your work search actions at any time. Keep acceptable proof of work search actions for 52 weeks.

To document work search actions throughout the week for the current week, claimants may use the online Weekly Work Search Entry Form:

  • Go to your "UI Home Page"
  • Choose the "Enter Your Work Search" card

Even if claimants use the Weekly Work Search Entry Form, they will need to file their weekly claim. The work search actions claimants enter for the week will be stored by the department and automatically transferred into the online weekly claim certification.

If claimants do not use the Weekly Work Search Entry Form, they will need to enter their weekly work search actions when they file their weekly claim online. When claimants file online the department keeps copies of the work search actions. To file online, go to https://my.unemployment.wisconsin.gov.

Claimants who are collecting UI benefits are required to register with the Wisconsin Job Service and conduct at least 4 weekly work search actions unless the department provides a waiver. The department communicates to claimants when they need to register with Wisconsin Job Service and/or search for work.

Claimants who are reasonably expected to be recalled and will be returning to employment within 8 weeks of an initial claim are eligible for a work search waiver. If granted, a waiver would allow claimants to be paid unemployment without conducting the required work searches. This waiver period may be extended to 12 weeks with verification from the employer but may not exceed a total of 12 weeks.

If the employer verified the claimant is returning to work within 12 weeks of the initial claim, a 12 week wavier may apply. Failure to meet the job search and work registration requirements could cause the loss of UI benefits.

For purposes of the work search waiver, an initial claim occurs when a claimant files again after they stopped filing for at least one week and they returned to work during that break in their claim. Note: Week #1 is the week the initial claim is filed. This is consistent with the policy in place prior to 2004.

When a claimant files an initial claim for benefits they will be asked if they are expected to be recalled to work within 8 weeks. If they are not expected to be recalled within 8 weeks, they will be required to perform a work search. If they will be recalled within 8 weeks, their work search will be waived for 8 weeks. Claimants will be advised the work search waiver is only valid for 8 weeks.

If the claimant has not been recalled within the 8 weeks, but the employer expects to recall them within an additional consecutive 4 weeks (a maximum of 12 weeks total), the employer must contact the department to request an additional 4 week waiver. The employer must verify that the claimant is expected to be recalled to work within the 4 week period after that initial 8 week wavier and provide the return to work date. Employers can do this by calling the Employer Assistance Line at (414) 438-7705.

If a claimant files an initial claim for benefits and will not be recalled within 8 weeks, but will be recalled within 12 weeks, the employer must contact the department to verify a return to work date within 12 weeks of the claimant's initial claim week.

Recalling four or less claimants:  Employers can supply the information by calling the Employer Assistance Line at (414) 438-7705.

Recalling more than four claimants:  Employer can fax a list of claimants who have filed for unemployment benefits to the department at (608) 260-3060. The list should include the following for each claimant:

  • Full name
  • Social security number
  • Week claimant filed initial claim
  • Date of recall
Include company's name and UI account number on each page.

The department will review the lists and apply the work search waiver rules in accordance with law and policy to determine eligibility for the waiver on a per-claimant basis.

If an employer does not have a set recall date within 12 weeks of the claimant's initial claim to provide to the department, the claimant must begin work search actions the first week of their claim.

If you do not stop filing claims for benefits while working, those weeks you claim count against the 8 or 12 week waiver period.

If you stop claiming benefits while you are working, when you file again you will be filing an initial claim, so your work search waiver time frame will start over.

Yes. Work searches are no longer automatically waived for the weeks of Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s.

Yes. If you are starting a new job with a new employer within four weeks, your work search requirement may be waived.

Your new employer must verify the new employment information with DWD by calling the Employer Assistance Line at (414) 438-7705.

Your new employer will need to provide their UI account number, your name and social security number, and the start date for the new employment.

Yes, if you were notified you need to register, you are required to register within 14 days of applying for unemployment (filing your initial claim).

Some individuals who apply for Unemployment Insurance (UI) may be required to register for work, which means registering with the Job Center of Wisconsin (JCW). You will be notified upon completion of your claim if you are required to complete the registration, and will be given instructions how to do so.