In January the Department of Labor (DOL) issued final regulations addressing the “able and available” for work (A&A) requirements that apply to a state’s payment of unemployment compensation (UC). The UC program is designed to provide temporary wages insurance to those unemployed due to a lack of suitable work. The concept of A&A affects the rate employers, including school districts, pay into the UC system based on how many employees they lay off and on the suitable work they offer their employees. DOL indicates it has consistently interpreted federal UC law as requiring states to pay UC only to unemployed individuals who are able and available for work. Nevertheless, the concept of A&A has never been addressed comprehensively in federal regulations. The final rules explain that a person meets the A&A requirements if he or she is offering services for which a labor market exists. This means the types of services an individual is able and available to perform are generally available in the labor market, even if a job vacancy does not currently exist. The final rules also define “suitable work” and explain the implications for A&A purposes of illness, availability for part-time work only, “temporary” lay-off, jury duty, state-approved training, and alien status. The final rule was effective February 15, 2007.
72 Fed. Reg. 1,890 (Jan. 16, 2007)
[ED final regulation]
[NSBA Federal Regulations pages on regulation as proposed]