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How Is The Tri-State Area Handling Unemployment Job Search Requirements?

Last Updated on November 22, 2022 / Benefits & Compensation

HR Question:

I’ve heard that some states are opting out of federal unemployment programs and/or reinstating unemployment job search requirements. How are Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana defining unemployment requirements in the Tri-State area?

HR Answer:

At the onset of the pandemic, states were given additional funding through the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to aid in providing workers financial relief in conjunction with their regular unemployment rate. As access to COVID-19 vaccines continues to grow, many states (including Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky) have made the decision to end the relaxed requirements of unemployment relief. Although many federal programs extend until September 6 of this year, many states are implementing these changes in the hopes of increasing labor supply in the market.

So, what does this mean for job seekers?  Depending on state requirements, job seekers may be required to provide proof of work-search activities. Such activities could include attending a job fair, taking a resume-writing course, or applying to several jobs.

However, as with any requirement, there are exceptions to the rule!  When looking at our tri-state area, each state has taken a different approach.


Ohio will begin to require job search activities for those seeking unemployment benefits as of May 23, 2021. Some workers are exempt from unemployment job search requirements including:

  • Those who are on a temporary layoff of 45 days
  • Workers in approved training
  • Members in good standing with a union hiring hall that refers its members to jobs
  • If unemployed individuals are in an approved school or training, their work-search requirement may be considered met if they are attending all classes and making satisfactory progress


As of May 9, 2021, Kentucky is requiring unemployed Kentuckians to include details of job search activities when filing for their benefits. The state’s exceptions to the unemployment job search requirements include:

  • The individual is a member of a trade union that finds work for you
  • The individual is a student in an approved training program
  • The individual has a definite recall date within 12 weeks of initial claim filing date
  • The individual is on a temporary leave of absence while still considered an employee
  • The individual’s employer filed a mass electronic claim (E-Claim) on their behalf


Unemployed individuals will be required to engage in at least one work search activity each week beginning the week of June 6, 2021. The job search requirement may be waived if:

  • The individual is enrolled in training approved by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD)
  • The individual is a job-attached worker with a specific recall date that is not more than 60 days from the date of separation
  • The individual is a member in good standing of a DWD-authorized union hiring hall.

Many companies have gone full remote or chose a hybrid work model to accommodate for those who are skeptical about returning to the office full-time or for those whose home lives changed to only support a fully remote role. If you are still concerned or have any questions, reach out to your state unemployment office to discuss your status further.  

Strategic HR has the answers to all of your tough Benefits and Compensation-related questions. Please visit our Benefits & Compensation page for more information or contact us to troubleshoot today.