The Maine Department of Labor will reinstate traditional work search requirements for people receiving unemployment, as of Sunday, May 23. Maine had temporarily expanded the types of activities that would meet the requirement in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Work search requirements had been relaxed to include job-related education or skills development and networking. Now people receiving unemployment will be required to actively look for work and to accept positions for which they are reasonably qualified. A refusal to accept an offer of suitable work is grounds for disqualifying a person for benefits.

In many cases, people receiving unemployment benefits can go back to work part-time and still retain the $300 weekly stipend offered by Congress through the summer. A new online tool will calculate how many hours a week a person can work and still collect partial benefits, including the $300 stipend, based on weekly earnings: click on “Looking for work?” at maine.gov/unemployment.

Those who were self-employed must attest to engaging in activities designed to fully reopen their business. Those with no plans to return to self-employment are required to conduct a work search and accept a position for which they are reasonably qualified.

CareerCenters host a variety of job fairs as well as one-on-one meetings with a consultant to develop employment or training plans. The CareerCenter can be reached by email at mainedol.careercenter@maine.gov, by phone at 623-7981, or by live-chat at mainecareercenter.gov.