Enforcing new unemployment benefit restrictions in Virginia could be a challenge

This week, Virginia is starting to require unemployment benefit recipients to prove they’ve applied to at least two jobs a week and are searching for work but enforcement of the renewed policy could be a challenge.

READ MORE: Virginia changing criteria for unemployment benefits recipients

Virginia’s Employment Commission tasked with enforcing the policy is scrambling to hire more staff.

Like so many employers, the state’s employment commission is also hiring much needed staff to enforce the reinstated policy.

Until they're back to full staff, we’re told the plan is conduct random audits and rely on employers to report candidates who are turning down job offers.

READ MORE: Maryland to start cracking down on unemployment for those who've been offered their jobs back

The state’s renewed policy for reporting work search activity went into effect this week.

Next week will be the first full week unemployment benefit recipients will be required to submit their work search activity.

Those who don’t could lose there benefits.

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We’re told those who don’t accept job offers could also lose benefits but right now it’s up to the employers to report them to the Virginia Employment Commission and as you just heard many employers are already overwhelmed trying to stay afloat amid a workforce shortage.

While business owners believe the new policy will help, they say stopping the weekly COVID-19 stimulus payment would help more.

The state says right now there are more than 500,000 job openings statewide.
Even so, we’re told, at a recent job fair to help fill those positions only three people showed up.

The Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce told FOX 5’s Tisha Lewis that putting the responsibility of reporting on employers backs is not the answer, and that policy makers need to consider a different.

The state’s employment commission says many staff members left during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic and did not return.