Continued Eligibility

Work Search Requirements

You are required to make a minimum of two job contacts each week, unless this requirement is waived. The work search requirement may be waived if you are temporarily unemployed and expect to be recalled by your former employer within a reasonable period of time or if you are in school and approved for Department Approved Training (DAT). Your work search requirement is determined each time a claim is filed.

In order to meet the work search requirements, you must make two job contacts between Sunday and Saturday of the week you are claiming benefits. Contacts may be made in person, online, by mail, email or faxing résumés or applications. Telephone calls are not acceptable. The work search must be a reasonable and honest effort to find suitable work. Failure to perform an honest effort work search may result in the denial of benefits. Participation in reemployment services activities may qualify as a work search.

You must be willing to accept a reasonable wage for the job for which you are applying. You may not apply for the same position with the same employer more than once every six weeks.

You must keep a Work Search Log of all work search contacts for a period of one year after you stop claiming benefits and be ready to provide a copy if requested by IWD. Failure to comply may result in denial of benefits.

The work search record needs to include:

  • Date of the contact
  • Company name, address and phone number
  • Contact name
  • Method of contact i.e. in person, online, email, mail
  • Results of contact

Members of a union hiring hall are required to be in good standing and must contact the union in accordance to hall rules.

Reporting Earnings

Gross earnings or gross wages are your earnings before taxes or other payroll deductions are made. Earnings or wages must be reported on the weekly claim during the week the wages are earned, not when the wages are paid. Earnings must be reported even if you have not yet received the payment. To calculate the amount to report, multiply the number of hours you worked by your hourly wage.

Example: 10 hours X $12.00/hour = $120.00 in gross earnings

You should report the full gross amount of earnings and we will calculate any deductions. Deductions and/or earnings are calculated differently depending on the type of income.  See the general guidelines on deductibility below.

Excessive Earnings

When filing your weekly claim if you report excessive earnings for four consecutive weeks, your claim will need to be reactivated before payments can resume.  $15 or more over your WBA is considered excessive earnings.

Partially Deductible from the benefit payment based on a formula  

You may earn up to 25 percent of your WBA before the benefit payment is reduced, but there is still a requirement to report all earnings even if under 25 percent. Earnings higher than 25 percent will reduce your benefit payment.   If you earn $15 or more over your WBA, you will not receive a benefit payment for that week.

  • Wages
  • Holiday pay
  • Stand-by pay
  • Tips, gratuities, commission and incentive pay
  • Strike pay - only deductible when received for services rendered.  
  • Any compensation other than cash (i.e. room and board, cell phone)

Example: Your WBA is $400 and you earn $370.

25% of $400 is $100. $100 is not deducted from the WBA.

$370 - $100 = $270. The remaining $270 is deducted from the WBA.

$400 - $270 = $130.

$130 is the payment amount for the week.

Fully Deductible from the benefit payment

Each dollar you earn reduces your benefit payment by one dollar (dollar-for-dollar).

  1. Vacation pay and paid time off
  2. Severance pay
  3. Pension, retirement, annuity, or any other similar period payment
  4. Workers’ Compensation (temporary total disability)
  5. Paid excused leave (funeral or personal leave)

Example: Your WBA is $400 and you receive a $370 vacation payout for the week you are claiming.

                $400 - $370 = $30. $30 is the payment amount for the week.

Reporting Vacation Pay

Vacation pay is reportable for the first 5 work days following the last day worked.  You must report vacation pay on your weekly claim, depending on the number of days of vacation pay you received.  Vacation pay is applied to an 8 hour work day and a 5 day work week, Monday through Friday. If you received less than 5 days of vacation pay, you should report the amount that you received or will receive.

Vacation Pay 40 hours or less

If you received less than 5 days of vacation pay, you should report the amount that you received or will receive.

Example: Your last day worked is Wednesday.  You will receive 32 hours vacation pay in the amount of $800.  The money should be reported on weekly claim as follows:

$800/4 = $200 per day

 

Sunday

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday  

Saturday

Week 1

 

 

 

Last day

$200

(8 hrs.)

$200

(8 hrs.)

 

Week 2

File for last week 1

Report $400 vacation pay

$200

(8 hrs.)

$200

(8 hrs.)

 

 

 

 

Week 3

File for last week 2

Report $400 vacation pay

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vacation Pay in excess of 40 hours

If you received or will receive vacation pay in excess of 40 hours, you must take the total amount and divide by 5.

Example: Your last day is Wednesday. You will receive 80 hours of vacation totaling $1000.  The money should be reported on the weekly claim as follows:

$1000/5 - $200 per day

 

Sunday

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday  

Saturday

Week 1

 

 

 

Last day

$200

(8 hrs.)

$200

(8 hrs.)

 

Week 2

File for last week 1

Report $400 vacation pay

$200

(8 hrs.)

$200

(8 hrs.)

$200

(8 hrs.)

 

 

 

Week 3

File for last week 2

Report $600 vacation pay

 

 

 

 

 

 

Self-Employment

If you are self-employed or will receive a 1099 at the end of the year for working, you are not required to report the wages on your weekly unemployment insurance claim. 

Income from self-employment is not considered wages and is not deducted from unemployment insurance benefits. However, eligibility requirements must still be met. 

To receive unemployment insurance benefits, you must be able, available, and be actively looking for work and willing to accept suitable work. If it is determined that self-employment prevents you from accepting suitable work, you may be disqualified due to being unavailable for work. 

Work Registration Requirement

If you are required to search for work, you must register for work with us online at IowaJobs or at the nearest IowaWORKS Center. You must complete registration for work within ten days of filing your initial claim for unemployment insurance. Failure to register for work could result in denial of benefits.

Ability to Work and Availability for Work

You must be able and available for work while claiming benefits. It is important to notify us of any condition or situation which would prevent you from working, accepting work, or looking for work the majority of the week. These situations may include, but are not limited to:

  • Illness, injury, or hospitalization
  • Being in jail
  • Attending school
  • Being on vacation or out of town
  • No childcare
  • No transportation

You should contact us at 1-866-239-0843 to report any changes that could affect your benefits.

Suitable Work/Work Refusals

You are required to search for and accept suitable work, unless this requirement is waived. Factors used to determine if the job offer is acceptable include wage, length of unemployment, working conditions and job duties.

The wage requirements for determining if work is suitable are calculated using the wages earned in the high quarter of the base period. The highest quarter of the base period is divided by 13 (the number of weeks in a quarter) to calculate the average weekly wage (AWW).

Example: Your earnings in the high quarter are $5,200. To calculate the AWW, divide $5,200 by 13. The AWW is $400 which equals $10 per hour in a 40 hour work week.

A job offer may be considered suitable if the offered wages are at or above the following percentages of the AWW:

  • 100 percent if work is offered in the first five weeks of a claim
  • 75 percent if work is offered during the 6th through 12th week of a claim
  • 70 percent if work is offered during the 13th through 18th week of a claim
  • 65 percent if work is offered after the 18th week of a claim

EXAMPLE: If you are offered work that pays $290 per week ($7.25 per hour in a 40 hour work week) during the ninth week of the claim, the job offer is not considered suitable because it is below 75 percent of the AWW. You are not required to accept any job offers that are below the federal or state minimum wage.

When you file a weekly claim, you must report if you refused any job offers or referrals during that week.

Pensions and Retirement Payouts

When you file a weekly claim, you must report any pension payment, 401K payout or other similar periodic or lump sum payments. You will then be contacted for the following information:

  • Name of contributing employer(s)
  • Percent employer contributed
  • Date you received or began receiving the payout
  • Gross amount of payout

Once the above information is received, we will determine if the payment is deductible from unemployment insurance benefits.

Individual