Labor announces requirement to conduct work searches for PUA applicants

In accordance with federal regulations from the US Department of Labor (USDOL), the CNMI Department of Labor (CNMI DOL) will begin requiring all Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claimants to conduct three (3) work searches and maintain a log of all work search contacts consistent with Hawaii law starting August 1, 2021 through the end of the program on September 4, 2021.

On June 30, 2021, CNMI DOL received guidance from the USDOL Employment & Training Administration regarding Hawaii’s reinstatement of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program’s work search requirement.  

According to federal regulations, Hawaii law extends to the US Pacific Territories, making the work search requirement applicable to the CNMI PUA program.

Hawaii Administrative Rule 12-5-35 – “Availability” states that “[a]n individual may be considered available for work for any week in which the individual has met the work search requirements of this section: (1) The individual shall make a minimum of three [3] work search contacts each week, unless otherwise provided in this subsection [and] (2) the individual shall maintain a record of all work search contacts and may be required to submit such record upon request by the department.”

Based on further review of Hawaii employment statutes, only full-time employees who have been deemed “partially unemployed” as a result of a reduction in work hours due to the pandemic are exempted from the work search requirement. All other PUA recipients are required to satisfy the work search requirement; failure to do so will be cause for a denial of continued benefits.

Pertinent information regarding the new requirement will be promulgated using several mediums such as but not limited to, press releases, the CNMI DOL website, radio, or the internal messaging system to notify applicable PUA recipients.

Work Search Requirement Resources

The CNMI DOL has prepared a frequently asked questions (FAQ) listing and a work search log template that are available for download at under “Forms & Publications”.  Please contact the PUA program online at or by phone at (670) 322-8870/71/72/73/74 for further information on the work search requirement.

Individuals who opt to use CNMI DOL’s services to satisfy the work search requirements (i.e., registering for work on are encouraged to do so. 

Please contact the Division of Employment Services at (670) 664-3190 for further information.


CNMI Office of the Governor
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