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Mass. Reinstates Work Search Requirements For Workers On Unemployment

A booklet describing unemployment benefits is seen on a desk in North Andover, MA. (Elise Amendola/AP)
A booklet describing unemployment benefits is seen on a desk in North Andover, MA. (Elise Amendola/AP)

The Baker administration announced Thursday it is reinstating a requirement that people search for work while receiving unemployment benefits starting June 15.

The state had temporarily suspended the requirement in March of last year because of the pandemic.

The move comes as restaurants and other businesses complain that they have had trouble finding workers, despite relatively high unemployment levels. Massachusetts reported an unemployment rate of 6.8% in April, higher than most other states.

However, Massachusetts will continue to pay laid off workers an extra $300 per week in federal pandemic aid on top of the standard benefits. Some other states, including New Hampshire, have announced plans to stop paying the additional benefits to nudge workers to find new jobs. New Hampshire also will soon begin offering $1,000 bonuses to some unemployed workers who find full-time work.

In order to continue receiving the benefits in Massachusetts, workers are instructed to maintain a detailed written log of their job search. The state may ask selected workers to provide copies.

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