Are you required to search for work if you’re furloughed without a return to work date?


Christopher Emmett is a massage therapist who was furloughed without a return to work date.

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Christopher Emmett is at a crossroads.

He worked as a massage therapist for XpresSpa at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport before being furloughed April 1.

He doesn’t have a return to work date, but what does coming back even look like, if at all?

“What is our role in society right now, are we supposed to be staying home?” Emmett said. “What employer will want to hire us?”

The Texas Workforce Commission plans to reinstate work search requirements for those on unemployment July 6.

Furloughed workers with a return to work date are exempt. But what about those without a date like Emmett?

He first reached out to KXAN after seeing our story on Tuesday shared in a Facebook group with other massage therapists.

“You will be need to participate in work search activities if you do not have a return to work date from your employer,” TWC spokesman Cisco Gamez said Thursday. “An example might be searching for work on, attending a virtual job fair through a local Workforce Solutions office or apply for a job online.”

Overall, more than 3.3 million Texans have filed for unemployment and more than $13.2 billion has been paid out in benefits.

During Thursday’s media briefing, Gamez also noted that those on unemployment should keep a work search log.

“We may request your work search log of any week or weeks at any time during your benefit year,” he said.

Moreover, those that are quarantined, high-risk or without child care can still search for work from home.

As for Emmett, he’s thankful for his unemployment benefits and is considering a career in personal training.

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