Department of Labor Announces Final Rule for Unemployment Insurance Drug Testing

As of early October, the U.S. Department of Labor issued its final rule for drug testing potential employees. The new rule will supposedly provide greater flexibility and broader coverage than the previous rule.

On October 3, 2019, the Department of Labor published a final rule on unemployment drug testing. The rule will give greater flexibility to states as they identify the occupations for which they will conduct drug testing in the unemployment insurance (UI) program.

“The flexibility offered in the new rule respects state differences with regard to employment drug testing across our country,” said Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training John Pallasch. “This rule lays out a standard that states can individually meet under the facts of their specific economies and practices.”

The rule’s reported flexibility allows states to make decisions based on their specific situations. For example, the rule would permit (not require) states to test unemployment compensation (UC) applicants for whom suitable work is only available in an occupation where drug testing is regularly conducted.

The rule also allows states to identify additional occupations where employers conduct drug testing as a standard eligibility requirement for obtaining or maintaining employment in the identified occupation in that state. States are able to adjust and re-assess which occupations are included in this consideration, even though the final rule also maintains that any occupation listed in the rescinded 2016 final rule is among those that are drug tested.

Other laws and acts affect the consideration of drug testing for unemployed individuals, though. The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 amended the Social Security Act to allow states to conduct drug testing for a specific group of UC applicants: those for whom work is only available in an occupation that regularly conducts drug testing. This new rule fulfills the Department’s requirement to identify occupations that regularly conduct drug testing.

This new rule follows a 2017 resolution of disapproval, passed by Congress and signed by the President, which revoked a previous rule aimed at issuing a one-size-fits-all standard on states identifying occupations for regular drug testing.

For more information, read the Employment & Training Administration’s news release on the topic.

Download Center

  • EHS Buyer's Guide

    Download this buyer's guide to make more informed decisions as you're looking for an EHS management software system for your organization.

  • Online Safety Training Buyer's Guide

    Use this handy buyer's guide to learn the basics of selecting online safety training and how to use it at your workplace.

  • COVID Return-to-Work Checklist, Fall 2021

    Use this checklist as an aid to help your organization return to work during the COVID-19 pandemic in a safe and healthy manner.

  • SDS Buyer's Guide

    Learn to make informed decisions while searching for SDS Management Software.

  • Risk Matrix Guide

    Risk matrices come in many different shapes and sizes. Understanding the components of a risk matrix will allow you and your organization to manage risk effectively.

  • Industry Safe

Featured Whitepapers

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - September 2021

    September 2021

    Featuring:

    • COMBUSTIBLE DUST
      Managing Combustible Dust and Risk Mitigation
    • PPE: CONSTRUCTION
      The Rising Popularity of Safety Helmets on the Jobsite
    • PPE: ELECTRICAL SAFETY
      Five Tips for a Successful Wear Trial
    • SAFETY & HEALTH
      Medical Surveillance Versus Medical Screening
    View This Issue