New York State Workforce Development System New York State
Technical Advisory
 
September 8, 2006
Workforce Development System Technical Advisory #06-15
 
TO: DoES Regional Administrators
One-Stop Operators
WIA Grant Recipients
DoES Managers
SUBJECT:State Policy Guidelines on Serving Unemployment Insurance Customers
PURPOSE:To communicate New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) policy framework for the state-funded Reemployment Services Program
REFERENCES:NYS Workforce Development System Technical Advisory (WDS-TA) #06-3.2, “State Policy Guidelines and Required Action for Local Workforce Investment Boards (LWIBs) Regarding Functional Alignment for the Delivery of WIA Title 1B and Wagner-Peyser Workforce Services,” April 19, 2006.

NYS WDS-TA #06-04, “State Policy Guidelines on the Implementation of US Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration’s (USDOL/ETA’s) Common Measures Policy,” April 17, 2006.

NYS WDS-TA #06-10, “Program Eligibility and Data Element Validation (DEV) Requirements – State Policy Guidelines and Required Action for Local Workforce Investment Boards (LWIBs) for WIA Title 1B (WIA), Wagner-Peyser (W-P), Veterans’ Employment and Training Services (VETS) and Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) Programs,” June 9, 2006.

Wagner-Peyser Act, Section 7 (a) (F); 20 CFR Part 652, sections 206, 209 and 210; 20 CFR Part 663 sections 145 and 150.

New York State Labor Law, Article 18, Sections 552-a and 581-b.

BACKGROUND:The Wagner-Peyser and Workforce Investment Acts require the public workforce system to provide employment/reemployment services to Unemployment Insurance (UI) customers. Within the context of New York’s current functional alignment effort and in anticipation of a “shared customer” base under common measures, the need for having a strategy in place to coordinate mandated services for UI claimants has never been more important. UI claimants are a primary customer of the One-Stop System, comprising over 60 percent of its current job seeker customer base (W-P, WIA, VETS and TAA). Outcomes for this population will not only be captured in common measures, but will also affect the State’s performance on a new UI program federal performance measure, Facilitate Reemployment, that will track the percent of UI claimants who are reemployed within the quarter following their first UI payment.
POLICY:Given the statewide nature of the program and its potential impact on UI benefit payments, it is crucial that UI claimants across the State are afforded common service expectations and are held to common program requirements. As a State-funded program, NYSDOL is requiring the development of regional Reemployment Services Program plans to ensure consistency in service delivery strategies statewide.

Outlined below are statewide program requirements for employment/reemployment services to UI claimants. These requirements are designed to provide a statewide framework to guide service delivery planning with the intent of establishing an effective reemployment service strategy which will:

  • emphasize early intervention and tailor services to individual customer needs;
  • increase the number of UI claimants who enter employment;
  • reduce UI benefit duration and UI exhaustion rates; and
  • speed the referral of those claimants who need additional help to other support services available within the public workforce system including, but not limited to, training/retraining.

Required Program Elements:

Regions have flexibility in how they implement their service delivery strategies within these guidelines with the exception of item VI (below), which is related to UI benefit eligibility and must be implemented statewide in accordance with State UI policy and procedure.

  1. All UI claimants are to be enrolled and counted as participants in Wagner-Peyser and WIA adult and/or Dislocated Worker (DW) programs and must receive a minimum of two staff assisted services.

    1. All UI claimants should be scheduled for an initial staff-assisted enrolling service as early as possible in the claims cycle; at a maximum, within two weeks from the date the detailed claim information is made available for scheduling in the Reemployment Operating System (REOS).

    2. Assuming that the UI claimant continues to certify for benefits and remains in active UI status, each claimant must receive at least one additional staff-assisted service within 90 days of the initial enrolling service.

    3. The scheduling, delivery method and/or format may be determined based on factors such as: resource availability, size and make-up of the customer pool, and the local functional alignment plan. However, local public workforce systems are strongly encouraged to conduct one-on-one interviews to provide the highest level of customer service. Service may be delivered by telephone, mail, online, in person or a combination of any/all methods.

    4. Given the required receipt of staff-assisted service, upon exit all UI claimants will be included in both Wagner-Peyser and WIA performance measures.

  2. Special requirements for UI claimants on Temporary Lay Off (TLO) and/or union workers with exclusive union hiring arrangements.

    1. UI claimants identified through the UI claims taking process as either TLO or union affiliated (employed exclusively through union hiring halls) must be individually assessed to verify their status before any work search exemption can be allowed.

    2. Any claimant exempted from work search based on a temporary or seasonal loss of employment should have an anticipated return-to-work date documented in REOS.

    3. Even if excused from work search requirements, all such claimants must be provided with information regarding the full range of available services in the public workforce system.

    4. UI claimants identified as work search exempt, based on a documented temporary and/or seasonal loss of employment, should be scheduled for an additional staff-assisted service, if still certifying for benefits beyond the anticipated return-to-work date provided at the time they became work search exempt. If the claimant’s situation no longer warrants exemption, they should be informed of, and subject to, work search requirements effective for the balance of their claim period.

    5. Exceptions to the requirement for two staff assisted services (per item I. B.) may be allowable on a limited basis, if it is demonstrated that no value-added additional service can be effectively delivered within 90 days of the enrolling service. The plan must include the criteria used to identify customers that will not be scheduled for additional service and an explanation of why the exception is warranted.

  3. The service design for all UI claimants who are subject to work search must include the following:
    1. A description of the full range of services available through the One-Stop System and how they can be accessed.

    2. An initial assessment which minimally includes a basic review of the individual’s work history, skills, training, education, career objective, and any self-identified service needs. The individual assessment should be used to inform decisions on next steps (i.e., scheduling additional services and/or targeting for follow-up services).

    3. Information notifying claimants of their work search-related responsibilities, including advisement that failure to report to scheduled reemployment services appointments may impact their continued eligibility for benefits. (See Attachment A for a summary of Unemployment Insurance Work Search Requirements).

    4. A complete, up-to-date One-Stop Operating System (OSOS) record that will support Employment Services (ES)/WIA program enrollments as well as effective job matching.

  4. UI claimants profiled as likely to exhaust and/or with identified barriers to employment, and/or that are otherwise eligible as WIA DW should receive a comprehensive assessment and must have either an approved work search plan or an Individual Employability Plan (IEP).

    1. UI claimants profiled as likely to exhaust and other eligible dislocated workers should receive an additional, more comprehensive assessment (as compared to the initial assessment required for all UI work search claimants). These individuals, by definition, are in greater need of services and may have significant barriers to employment that need to be addressed. The comprehensive assessment may include diagnostic testing and/or in-depth interviewing to determine service needs and employment goals.

    2. UI customers profiled as likely to exhaust and/or otherwise eligible as dislocated workers must develop and agree to a written UI work search plan and/or an IEP.

      1. A UI work search plan concentrates solely on immediate job search activities. UI claimants are expected to make a good faith effort to find suitable employment. It is a signed agreement with the claimant that outlines specific appropriate strategies for job search that are tailored to the claimant’s occupation and abilities and a level of action necessary to meet a diligent and suitable standard for work search.

      2. An IEP is a more intensive, comprehensive plan that identifies employment goals, appropriate achievement objectives (which may include education or training), and an appropriate combination of services for the claimant to achieve his/her longer-term employment goal.

  5. A UI customer “caseload” management strategy that is integrated into the overall functional approach to caseload management must be in place. This strategy must ensure that the UI Reemployment caseload is targeted to receive ongoing UI Reemployment Services following the initial service.

    1. The UI Reemployment caseload management strategy should be directly related to achieving performance outcomes.

    2. The caseload management strategy must ensure that each claimant receives at least two staff-assisted services (at least one additional staff-assisted service within 90 days of the initial enrolling service) as per item I. B. above.

    3. The regional Reemployment Services program design should identify how the UI claimant population will be contacted for additional services, how individuals and/or groups will be selected, as well as the frequency, format, and content of the services.

      1. The caseload management strategy may be regionally customized based on the size/make-up of the UI population, resources available and One-Stop System service delivery designs.

      2. The strategy must be consistent with approved functional alignment plans and amendments should be made to these plans, if necessary.

      3. Caseload management may be conducted in a variety of ways: individual case management, random call-ins, pre-scheduled follow-up appointments, and/or a variety of approaches, etc.

      4. Approaches and/or frequency of contacts may be customized for different target groups, with the definition of target groups locally determined. For example, plans could target claimants based on similar occupations, industries, common characteristics, assessments of level of demand skills and/or job readiness, reaching a certain point in the claims cycle, or amount of time lapse against the 90-day exit rule, etc.

  6. Potential UI issues should be tracked and reported to the Unemployment Insurance Division (UID) in a timely manner.

    1. A Failure to Report to a mandated appointment for Reemployment Services may impact the claimant’s continued eligibility for benefits. Division of Employment Services (DoES) staff have the ability to directly place a “hold” on a claimant’s benefits through REOS for failure to report (also referred to as putting the claimant “on control”), if the following criteria are met:

      1. The claimant must have received a notice in writing with a specific date/time for the mandated Reemployment Services appointment and a copy of the written notice must be maintained.

      2. The claimant must have been made aware of the potential loss of benefits that could result from the failure to report. The first time a claimant fails to report, he/she must be given a second notice and re-scheduled for another date/time specific appointment. A claimant should only be put “on control” for failure to report if it represents the second or subsequent failure to report.

      3. The following specific language must be included in any written notification to the claimant scheduling him/her for a mandated Reemployment Services appointment:

        Failure to keep this appointment may result in suspension of your Unemployment Insurance benefits. If you are unable to keep this appointment, report in person as soon as possible thereafter to minimize the loss of your benefits.

    2. If a claimant is put “on control” for failure to report for a scheduled appointment, he/she will be notified by UID to report in-person to the Reemployment Services reporting office as soon as possible. DoES staff is responsible for removing the “control” from the claimant record as of the date the claimant subsequently reports in person.

    3. Potential UI issues (job refusal, insufficient work search, availability and/or capacity to work) that may impact the claimant’s continued eligibility must be reported on a timely basis following UI guidelines.

    4. General UI training will be made available by NYSDOL staff for all local public workforce system personnel.

Measuring Success

A successful UI Reemployment strategy will alleviate stress on the UI Trust Fund, assist in saving UI taxes paid by businesses (keep experience ratings in check), and reduce the economic stress of long-term unemployment on workers and their families. To measure success of the program in meeting these goals, New York State will use the three federal Adult Common Measures and the federal UI Performs measure, Facilitate the Reemployment of UI Claimants.

The federal UI Performs Measure, Facilitate the Reemployment of UI Claimants, is defined as follows:

The number of UI beneficiaries, who are not exempt from work search requirements, who receive a first payment during a calendar quarter, and who also have earnings in the next calendar quarter.

Further detail on this measure can be found at the USDOL Employment and Training Administration’s website in UI Program Letters No. 1-06, dated October 6, 2005. This measure highlights the importance of early intervention and timely reemployment for UI customers and emphasizes the goal of assisting the claimant in getting back to work as early in the claim cycle as possible. This crucial timing issue should drive the service delivery strategy for UI customers.

In serving the UI customer, the combination of the UI Reemployment measure with the entered employment, retention, and earnings common measures reflects the crucial need to balance career goals, retention, and earnings potential against the need to minimize the period of unemployment and the cost of unemployment to employers.

In contrast to the federal common measures which are triggered from the date of program exit, the UI Reemployment measurement is triggered by the date of the first UI payment. The fact that the UI Reemployment measure is not “exit” driven may provide opportunities for alternative service strategies that should be considered in how this program is integrated within your functional alignment plan. For example, the claimant could be quickly reemployed in a suitable job which would meet the UI Reemployment measure, while still continuing to receive One-Stop services toward the goal of finding better employment. W-P/WIA program exit would not have to occur until the longer-term career objectives are achieved and all services completed.

No standard will be established for the UI Reemployment measure during Program Year (PY) 2006. PY 2006 will be used as a base year, with the goal of establishing a standard in PY 2007.

In addition to the above performance measures, NYSDOL will also be developing management reports to provide statistical counts related to the numbers of UI claimants and the percentage of the UI work search eligible pool of customers receiving Reemployment Services for use in monitoring program activity against the plans.

Reemployment Operating System (REOS)

REOS is a system currently used by DoES staff that is designed to support case management of the UI Reemployment workload. REOS is updated weekly to identify new UI claimants and provides the ability to schedule appointments, generate letters, track attendance, initiate holds on UI benefits based on failures to report to mandated appointments, and to track/report potential UI issues to NYSDOL’s Unemployment Insurance Division through automated e-forms.

ACTION:DoES Regional Administrators must develop a Reemployment Services Plan for serving the UI population that works within the context of functional alignment (Attachment B). Regionally based Reemployment Services Plans must identify how each of the required elements will be consistently implemented locally. Regional Administrators will have programmatic and management responsibility for implementation. The Regional Administrator must consult with each of the WIB Directors and One-Stop Operators within their region to ensure that the plan aligns with the Local Area’s Three-Year Strategic Plans and Functional Alignment Addendums and must ensure necessary modifications are made. The plan and attestation by the Regional Administrator (Attachment D) must be submitted by September 29, 2006.

The Reemployment Services Plan must be submitted to:

Karen B. Papandrea, Director
New York State Department of Labor
Division of Employment Services
Building 12, Room 576
State Office Building Campus
Albany, New York 12240
ATTACHMENTS: Attachment A – Unemployment Insurance Work Search Requirements
Attachment B – Reemployment Services Plan Template
Attachment C – Division of Employment Services (DoES) Regions
Attachment D – Signature Page: NYSDOL Regional Administrator