Out-of-work individuals in Texas will have to comply with new requirements in order to receive unemployment insurance benefits. However, the question remains of when the new legislation will take effect.

Passed at the end of 2013, Senate Bill 21 mandated that drug testing must take place for certain applicants to receive their payments. Even though that piece of legislation was approved, the Texas Workforce Commission is still working out the details regarding which people will be required to partake.

Bill encounters brief problems
Despite the bill being passed into law in Texas, there is still some uncertainty surrounding the specifics, according to the Texas Tribune. Back in 2012, a new federal law granted states the power to implement drug testing for unemployment insurance applicants. In order to do so, however, the U.S. Department of Labor has to weigh in on the relevant occupations, something that is slowing down the current process in Texas.

As a result, implementation is still some months away in the state, the news source noted. And, this has caused headaches for some local employers. A delay prevents potential employees from establishing themselves as drug free, something that could go a long way toward getting them a new job at another company.

“The Workforce Commission would be in a position of certifying someone who is drug free,” Bill Hammond, president of the Texas Association of Business, told the Texas Tribune. “That would make them go to the top of the list for consideration for being hired.”

Job growth felt in Texas
Despite the current problems with SB 21, Texas has still experienced significant job growth and other positive gains to the local economy. This has also contributed to a rise in the number of available employment opportunities across the state.

According to the Texas Workforce Commission, more than 37,000 jobs were added in February. The local seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained at 5.7 percent. As an added bonus, a majority of the major industries in Texas noted employment gains in February. The private sector had 31,000 jobs added in the month, good for a 3 percent annual growth rate.

“Growing at 5.5 percent over the year, Mining and Logging continued to show the highest rate of expansion of any major industry in Texas,” said TWC commissioner representing labor Ronny Congleton. “Growth in this industry and many others in the short and long term is more positive news for job seekers in Texas.”

At Corporate Cost Control, we work closely with employers across the country to better manage the nuances of unemployment insurance. Legislation changes on the state level could impact you today, and we welcome any questions or concerns you may have on a wide range of topics.


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