US Department of Labor seeks public comment on proposed changes to help states’ improve unemployment insurance processing, other services
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor today announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking public comment on proposed revisions to Wagner-Peyser Act regulations to include Employment Service staff in public employment offices in state merit systems, and improve service delivery for migrant and seasonal farmworkers.
The proposal, by the department’s Employment and Training Administration, would ensure that states and territories are equipped universally to use cross-trained Employment Service staff to assist in processing unemployment insurance claims, assist claimants and promote reemployment when demand for these services rises substantially. Currently, only state merit staff can adjudicate unemployment insurance claims.
“The proposed changes would return the Employment Service to a staffing model that existed without interruption for decades. They would ensure that Employment Service staff are cross-trained to process unemployment insurance claims when demand increases and allow these staff members to assist in adjudicating claims,” explained Acting Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training Angela Hanks.
“By closely aligning Employment Service and Unemployment Insurance staff, we can help states and territories respond to the needs of those seeking unemployment benefits and other Employment Service customers effectively and equitably when demands for service spike unexpectedly as they did at the height of the pandemic,” Hanks added.
In addition, the proposal includes the following changes to the Wagner-Peyser Act to improve service delivery for migrant and seasonal farmworkers by:
- Revising several defined terms related to providing employment services.
- Strengthening the status of state monitor advocates and clarifying their role.
- Enhancing state workforce agencies’ recruitment requirements for hiring candidates qualified to provide employment services to these workers.
- Increasing the type of data that state workforce agencies must collect on migrant and seasonal farmworkers to help the agencies, state monitor advocates, and the department to monitor equity in how employment services are provided.
- Strengthening protections for migrant and seasonal farmworkers.
The proposed rule is available for public inspection in the Federal Register.