Legislation Aimed at Parents Dealing with Unemployment Becomes Law

Governor signs Solages bill to include childcare availability as a factor for unemployment work search requirements

Albany, NY Legislative bill A.996 – sponsored by Assembly Member Michaelle C Solages – has been signed into law. This new legislation, which passed unanimously in the Assembly Chamber, requires Department of Labor to consider childcare availability as a factor for unemployment work search requirements

“Parents can only perform effectively when they have a plan for educating and safeguarding their children. While some families can hire outside resources to help during the day, a vast majority of families cannot afford to hire additional childcare assistance,” stated Assemblywoman Michaelle C. Solages. “This legislation will expand the current work search requirements detailed by the Department of Labor to support parents as they seek to re-enter the workforce in an increasingly difficult environment. I am proud to partner with Senator Benjamin to ensure that New York State is addressing the immediate needs of families dealing with unemployment.”

Under the current law, for a claimant to maintain their eligibility for unemployment benefits, they must be actively looking for work and keeping an online or written work search records for each week in which they are claiming benefits. Claimants are required to complete at least three work search activities per week, and these three activities must be done on different days of the week. Although they are essential to helping individuals find reliable jobs, these specific task requirements can be extremely difficult for claimants with children, particularly when it comes to childcare responsibilities.

For these reasons, this bill guarantees that the implementation of these work search requirements considers the fact that claimants seeking work are often simultaneously providing care for their children. However, in order to ensure that such requirements do not run afoul of federal unemployment regulations, this legislation makes technical corrections to make clear that such individuals will not be exempted from these work search requirements.