Hawaii reinstates work-search requirement for unemployed, experts say best time to be an applicant is now

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HONOLULU (KHON2) — This will be the first week that those collecting unemployment benefits will once again need to prove they’re searching for work. The requirement was reinstated on Sunday. People need to search for at least three jobs a week, and the state will be following up.

One expert in the human resources and staffing industry says she’s received calls from employers daily who can’t find workers and says the work-search requirement is not a bad thing.

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“This is going to allow them that little push to kind of get back into the workforce, and I think it’s going to be great for tons of businesses in Hawaii that are looking for employees because I get calls, like I said, every day and there’s some great, great positions out there,” said Shani Bryant, Altres Staffing Industrial Manager.

The restaurant industry is hopeful as they’re looking to hire workers.

“Tourism is back, and people are back out again. We’re having a really difficult time finding people to work in our restaurants,” said Sheryl Matsuoka of the Hawaii Restaurant Association. “If anybody is looking to work in the food service industry at this time, this is a great time. If you have any questions, they can email me at info@hawaiirestaurant.org.”

Those who qualify will still receive the additional $300 a week from the federal government. Some believe there will be those who may find a way to get around the work-search requirement.

“I don’t think it’s going to really change until the federal government’s plus-up money goes away. Because we’ve seen on the mainland that, you know, in certain states that got rid of that, that’s when their unemployed really start applying for jobs,” said Tina Yamaki of Retail Merchants of Hawaii.

There will be some accountability involved. The state is asking employers to input people into the system.

“It’s actually people who have applied with us, that we have reached out to them,” said Bryant. “We’re trying to get an interview that maybe don’t show up for the interview, so the state is asking all employers to go into the system and put those people in there as denied work.”

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