Florida Senate - 2011                                     SB 562
       By Senator Flores
       38-00842-11                                            2011562__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to unemployment compensation benefits;
    3         amending s. 443.091, F.S.; providing conditions for
    4         claimants to be deemed available for work; requiring
    5         the Agency for Workforce Innovation to notify each
    6         claimant regarding requirements that constitute an
    7         active search for work; providing reporting
    8         requirements for claimants; providing conditions for
    9         an exemption from claimant reporting requirements;
   10         providing an effective date.
   12  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   14         Section 1. Paragraph (d) of subsection (1) of section
   15  443.091, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
   16         443.091 Benefit eligibility conditions.—
   17         (1) An unemployed individual is eligible to receive
   18  benefits for any week only if the Agency for Workforce
   19  Innovation finds that:
   20         (d) She or he is able to work and is available for work. In
   21  order to assess eligibility for a claimed week of unemployment,
   22  the agency shall develop criteria to determine a claimant’s
   23  ability to work and availability for work. However:
   24         1. Notwithstanding any other provision of this paragraph or
   25  paragraphs (b) and (e), an otherwise eligible individual may not
   26  be denied benefits for any week because she or he is in training
   27  with the approval of the agency, or by reason of s. 443.101(2)
   28  relating to failure to apply for, or refusal to accept, suitable
   29  work. Training may be approved by the agency in accordance with
   30  criteria prescribed by rule. A claimant’s eligibility during
   31  approved training is contingent upon satisfying eligibility
   32  conditions prescribed by rule.
   33         2. Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, an
   34  otherwise eligible individual who is in training approved under
   35  s. 236(a)(1) of the Trade Act of 1974, as amended, may not be
   36  determined ineligible or disqualified for benefits due to her or
   37  his enrollment in such training or because of leaving work that
   38  is not suitable employment to enter such training. As used in
   39  this subparagraph, the term “suitable employment” means work of
   40  a substantially equal or higher skill level than the worker’s
   41  past adversely affected employment, as defined for purposes of
   42  the Trade Act of 1974, as amended, the wages for which are at
   43  least 80 percent of the worker’s average weekly wage as
   44  determined for purposes of the Trade Act of 1974, as amended.
   45         3. Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, an
   46  otherwise eligible individual may not be denied benefits for any
   47  week because she or he is before any state or federal court
   48  pursuant to a lawfully issued summons to appear for jury duty.
   49         4.a. An individual may not be deemed available for work
   50  unless the individual has been and is actively and earnestly
   51  seeking work. Upon the filing of an initial or renewed claim,
   52  and prior to the filing of each weekly claim thereafter, the
   53  agency shall notify each claimant of the number of work-search
   54  contacts required to constitute an active search for work.
   55         b. A claimant may not be determined to be ineligible for
   56  benefits under this subparagraph because of not actively and
   57  earnestly seeking work if the claimant has reported in person to
   58  an office of the agency as directed by the agency at least once
   59  every 4 weeks. However, a claimant is exempt from the reporting
   60  requirement of this sub-subparagraph if:
   61         (I) The claimant is claiming benefits in accordance with
   62  agency rules dealing with partial or temporary total
   63  unemployment;
   64         (II) The claimant is temporarily unemployed through no
   65  fault of her or his own and has a definite recall date within 8
   66  weeks after her or his first day of unemployment;
   67         (III) The claimant resides in a county having an
   68  unemployment rate, as published by the agency, of 10 percent or
   69  more and in which the county seat is more than 40 miles from the
   70  nearest agency office;
   71         (IV) The claimant belongs to a group or class of workers
   72  whose opportunities for reemployment will not be enhanced by
   73  reporting in person; or
   74         (V) The claimant is prevented from reporting due to
   75  emergency conditions that limit access by the general public to
   76  an agency office that serves the area in which the claimant
   77  resides, but only during the time such conditions exist.
   78         Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2011.