Montana businesses encouraged to report unemployment fraud
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana employers are encouraged to notify the Montana Department of Labor and Industry if an unemployment insurance claimant fails to appear for a scheduled interview under a new policy announced by Gov. Greg Gianforte Tuesday.
Gianforte said employers across the state are complaining about candidates failing to show up for scheduled interviews as many businesses struggle to fill open positions.
Montana law requires unemployment insurance claimants to make an active effort to find employment every week benefits are claimed. Failing to appear for an interview that is used to meet a weekly work search requirement could violate unemployment insurance rules and impact a claimant’s eligibility for unemployment benefits moving forward, according to a statement from the governor’s office.
“Some restaurants have said they scheduled half a dozen interviews or more on a given day, and had only a single applicant actually show up – if any at all,” labor department commissioner Laurie Esau said in a statement.
Employers who submit information about declined or missed job interviews may be contacted by fraud investigators for more information.
One Billings business reported last week that three quarters of job applicants in a two week period either declined interviews or failed to show up.
“I was able to contact these potential candidates via phone and we set up phone interviews, but none of them would show up,” branch manager for Automated Maintenance Services Jodi Fischer told KULR.
The new policy comes as Montana faces a labor shortage that has left some businesses unable to find workers, and has led Gianforte to end the state’s participation last month in expanded federal unemployment benefits. Gianforte instead launched a program to give bonuses to unemployed workers who return to work.
Montana’s unemployment rate was 3.6%, well below the national rate of 5.8% in May, the last month for which figures are available.