HARRISBURG, Pa. - A bill sponsored by a state representative from Berks County is making its way through the state legislature. It would reinstate work search requirements for those collecting unemployment benefits.

The bill comes as some employers are having a hard time finding workers.

Lawmakers are continuing discussions about the bill Representative Jim Cox introduced Tuesday regarding tightening up requirements for collecting unemployment benefits.

"This is a bill that says that those work search requirements need to be reinstated and we believe that will be a big step forward in getting Pennsylvania back to work and getting our economy moving," said PA Representative Jim Cox, (R) 129th District. 

"This is the hottest job market I have seen in 25 years and what's happening in Berks County is happening elsewhere in the commonwealth," said Dan Fogarty, director of the Berks County Workforce Development Board.

When the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted later this month, even more positions could open up.

"We've got $15, $18, $21 an hour with full benefits which you're not collecting right now," said Katie Hetherington Cunfer of the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance. 

Fogarty says his office gets calls daily from employers looking for help filling positions. East Penn Manufacturing, one of several companies hiring, has been holding job fairs weekly.

"My advice to job seekers is get your shot and look because the employers are looking for you," said Fogarty. 

Currently, people collecting unemployment benefits don't have to be seeking employment. The rule was paused during the pandemic. If the bill passes, that would all change next month and the job search requirement would be back in place.

"The doors are open today," said Hetherington Cunfer.

"Get in on a super high paying job and maybe even a different career opportunity."

Gov. Wolf hasn't said whether he'll support or veto the bill when it comes to him, only that he will review it.

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