2022 Code of Alabama
Title 25 - Industrial Relations and Labor.
Chapter 4 - Unemployment Compensation.
Article 4 - Benefits.
Section 25-4-77 - Benefits Eligibility Conditions; "Suitable Employment" and Jury Duty Defined; Applicability of Subdivision (A)(5).

Universal Citation: AL Code § 25-4-77 (2022)

Section 25-4-77

Benefits eligibility conditions; "suitable employment" and jury duty defined; applicability of subdivision (a)(5).

THIS SECTION WAS AMENDED BY ACT 2022-301 IN THE 2022 REGULAR SESSION, EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1, 2023. THIS IS NOT IN THE CURRENT CODE SUPPLEMENT.

(a) An unemployed individual shall be eligible to receive benefits with respect to any week in a benefit year which begins on or after January 1, 2023, only if the secretary finds that he or she has met all of the following criteria:

(1) Made a claim for benefits with respect to the week in accordance with rules adopted by the secretary.

(2) Registered for work at, and subsequently continued to report at, a state employment office in accordance with rules adopted by the secretary, as he or she may prescribe; except, that the secretary may by rule waive or alter either or both of the requirements of this subdivision as to individuals attached to regular jobs and as to such other types of cases or situations with respect to which he or she finds that compliance with such requirements would be oppressive or would be inconsistent with purposes of this chapter.

(3) Is physically and mentally able to perform work of a character which he or she is qualified to perform by past experience or training, and is available for the work either at a locality at which he or she earned wages for insured work during his or her base period or at a locality where it may reasonably be expected that the work may be available.

(4) Been totally or partially unemployed in the week.

(5) Made a reasonable and active effort to secure work which he or she is qualified to perform by past experience and training, unless the failure is because the individual is before any court of the United States or any state pursuant to a lawfully issued summons to appear for jury duty. "Reasonable and active effort" means engaging in systematic and sustained efforts to find work, including contacting at least three prospective employers for each week of unemployment claimed. The department shall require the claimant to provide proof of work search efforts when filing his or her weekly certification. A claimant's subsequent proof of work search efforts may not include the same prospective employer, unless the employer has indicated since the time of the initial contact that the employer is hiring. The department shall conduct random reviews of at least five percent of the work search proof provided by claimants each week. The Governor by executive order may suspend the work search requirement during a state of emergency to the extent permissible by federal law. For the purposes of this subdivision, the entitlement to regular or extended benefits of any individual who is determined not to be actively engaged in seeking work during any week because of jury duty, shall be determined pursuant to the provisions of subdivision (3) without regard to the disqualification provisions otherwise applicable under Section 25-4-75(i)(1)b. and Section 25-4-75(i)(2). The term "jury duty" as used in this subdivision means the performance of service as a juror, during all periods of time an individual is engaged in service as a juror, in any court of a state or the United States pursuant to the law of the state or the United States and the rules of the court in which the individual is engaged in the performance of service as a juror.

(6) During his or her base period, been paid wages for insured work equal to or exceeding one and one-half times the total of the wages for insured work paid to him or her in that quarter of the base period in which the total wages were the highest and in addition, qualifies for benefits under the provisions of Section 25-4-72; provided, however, that no otherwise eligible individual has received benefits in a preceding benefit year shall be eligible to receive benefits in a succeeding benefit year unless and until the otherwise eligible individual, subsequent to the beginning date of the preceding benefit year, has worked in insured employment for which work he or she earned wages equal to at least eight times the weekly benefit amount established for the individual in the preceding benefit year.

(7) Pursuant to Section 4 of Public Law 103-152, has been selected and referred to reemployment services and participates in reemployment services, such as job search assistance services, if the individual has been determined to be likely to exhaust regular benefits and needs reemployment services pursuant to a profiling system established by the secretary, unless the secretary determines that the claimant has completed reemployment services or there is justifiable cause for his or her failure to participate in reemployment services.

(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a)(3), no otherwise eligible individual shall be denied benefits for any week because he or she has met any of the following criteria:

(1) Enrolled in a course of training with the approval of the secretary. The approval of the secretary shall be conditioned upon the following:

a. The individual's skills are obsolete or provide minimal opportunities for employment.

b. Training is for an occupation for which there is a substantial and recurring demand.

c. Training is not a course of education for credit toward a degree.

d. The individual possesses aptitudes or skills that can be supplemented by retraining within a reasonable time.

e. The individual produces satisfactory evidence of continued attendance and satisfactory progress.

(2) Engaged in training approved by the secretary under Section 236 (a)(1) of the Trade Act of 1974.

(3) Left work to enter training pursuant to subdivision (2), provided that the work left is not suitable employment. For purposes of this subdivision, the term "suitable employment" means with respect to an individual, work of a substantially equal or higher skill level than the individual's past adversely affected employment, as defined by the Trade Act of 1974, and wages for such work at not less than 80 percent of the individual's average weekly wage as defined by the Trade Act of 1974.

(4) Become unavailable to work, failed to actively seek work, or refused to accept work because he or she was in training pursuant to subdivision (2).

(c) With respect to any week that begins prior to January 1, 1989, an unemployed individual shall be eligible to receive benefits as provided in this section prior to that date.

(d) The provisions of subdivision (a)(5) shall be applied only to any week that begins on or after January 1, 2023.

(e) The Department of Labor shall provide applicants for unemployment with simple instructions on how to apply and provide all required recurring certifications to continue to receive benefits.

(Acts 1939, No. 497, p. 721; Code 1940, T. 26, §213; Acts 1943, No. 310, p. 281, §7; Acts 1945, No. 283, p. 449, §9; Acts 1949, No. 524, p. 804; Acts 1951, No. 598, p. 1029; Acts 1955, No. 353, p. 852; Acts 1961, Ex. Sess., No. 274, p. 2298, §8; Acts 1965, No. 390, p. 548, §4; Acts 1971, No. 88, p. 349, §5; Acts 1975, No. 801, p. 1604, §8; Acts 1982, No. 82-372, p. 533, §2; Acts 1983, 2nd Ex. Sess., No. 83-155, p. 264, §11; Acts 1984, No. 84-73, p. 94, §7; Acts 1988, 1st Ex. Sess., No. 88-784, p. 213, §4; Acts 1989, No. 89-405, p. 822, §6; Acts 1994, No. 94-718, p. 1390, §2; Act 2022-301, §§1, 2.)

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