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EMPLOYMENT PLAN (EP)

ISSUE DATE: 12/2014

MFIP:
An Employment Plan (EP) is a social contract between the county/ES provider and each participant. The purpose of these plans is to identify for each participant the most direct path to unsubsidized employment and any subsequent steps that support long-term economic stability.

All MFIP participants:

Are mandatory ES participants.

AND

Must develop an EP, unless they:

-

Have a child under 12 months.

AND

-

Have any remaining months of the child under 12 months ES exemption.

AND

-

Choose to use any remaining months of the child under 12 months ES exemption.

AND

Must comply with the EP if an EP is developed.


Employment Plans are based on information gathered during the assessment process and throughout participation in the program. Development of a basic EP should begin during the 1st meeting with a job counselor, or shortly thereafter. The EP is a living document that should be reviewed at least every 3 months and revised whenever necessary.

Failure on the part of a participant to develop or comply with hourly requirements in a plan may result in a sanction. See Employment Services Manual Appendix H (FSS Sanction Guidance).

Failure to sign an Employment Plan is considered failure to develop an EP and should result in a sanction. If the participant qualifies under Family Stabilization Services pre-sanction provisions apply.

All EPs must be reviewed at least every 3 months to determine whether activities and hourly requirements should be revised. Reviews may be scheduled more often if circumstances change.

Sanction participants if they fail to develop or follow the terms of the Employment Plan. See 0028.30 (Sanctions for Failure to Comply - Cash).

There are special provisions for victims of family violence and self-employed participants. See below.


VICTIMS OF FAMILY VIOLENCE

Victims of family violence who want to claim a Family Violence Waiver and be exempt from the 60-month time limit must develop and comply with an EP. The EP is developed with the assistance and collaboration of the participant, a person trained in domestic violence and a job counselor. MFIP child care is available for all activities included in an approved EP. See 0005.12.12.09 (Family Violence Provisions/Referrals). See PERSON TRAINED IN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE in 0002.49 (Glossary: Permanent...).

Victims of family violence who have or are in the process of developing an EP cannot be required to attend an overview done in a group setting. The job counselor must discuss the information normally presented in the ES Overview at the time the EP is developed, unless the client previously attended an Overview. See 0028.09 (ES Overview/SNAP E&T Orientation). If you combine the Financial Orientation and ES Overview, do not sanction the participant for failing to attend the regular ES Overview components of the meeting.

The job counselor has final approval of an EP or any revisions to the plan. If the job counselor does not approve activities in the plan, the county must provide written reason why the activities are not approved and document how the denial of these activities does not interfere with the safety of the client or children.

If the client fails to cooperate with the EP the 60-month time limit exemption ends and the client must be invited in to develop a new Employment Plan. See 0028.30 (Sanctions for Failure to Comply - Cash).



SELF-EMPLOYMENT


Self-employment activities may be included in an Employment Plan (EP) contingent on the development of a business plan.

All participants should be encouraged to look for employment that will lead to their self sufficiency. Participants with an approved EP that includes self-employment must meet the participation requirements. Only the hours the participant earns the federal minimum wage count toward the participation requirements. The number of self-employment hours is determined by dividing the net self-employment income by the federal minimum wage. When the number of self-employment hours is less than the number of hours required for the participant to be included in the numerator, the participant’s EP should be revised to include additional countable activities, such as job search, paid employment, or unpaid work experience.


DWP:

Follow MFIP. Before issuing DWP benefits to a family unit, the caregiver or caregivers must, in conjunction with a job counselor, develop and sign an EP. Also, activities in EPs must not cover a period of more than 4 months. The purpose of the EP is to identify the most direct path to unsubsidized employment for each participant within the 4-month DWP period. The EP must clearly outline the commitments on the part of both the county/Employment Services provider and the participant.

The activities in the EP must focus on obtaining the necessary evaluation, medical assessment and/or documentation if a DWP participant believes he/she may meet 1 of the DWP unlikely to benefit categories. The job counselor or county must assist the DWP participant in gathering this information.


DEVELOPING AN EP AS PART OF THE DWP APPLICATION PROCESS


A DWP applicant must meet with an employment counselor to develop and sign an initial EP before issuing any DWP benefits to or on behalf of the family. The employment counselor and applicant have 10 working days from the date he/she is referred to Employment Services to develop and sign the initial EP. The ES provider has 1 working day to notify the county that the job seeker’s initial EP was signed. Once notified, the county has 1 working day to issue the DWP benefits. DWP benefits cannot be issued until the initial EP is signed.

When the EP is not signed within 30 days of the application date, the ES provider must notify the county. The applicant must submit a new application for DWP benefits and the time lines will start over. If the initial EP was not developed and signed within 30 days of the original application due to county or Employment Services agency error, issue DWP benefits based on the original application date. The requirement that the participant signs the EP before benefits are issued still applies to these situations. In most cases, the EP should include 35 hours of work or work-related activities per week. If fewer hours are included in the EP, the reasons for reducing the hours should be noted.

A more limited initial EP can be developed to meet the 10-day requirement provided that a date at which the EP will be revised is included. Because DWP is limited to 4 months, the initial EP should be revised as soon as possible.


SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR 2-PARENT FAMILIES


In 2-parent families where only 1 caregiver meets a DWP exclusion category and the other caregiver does NOT meet a DWP exclusion category, BOTH parents must participate in DWP. However, the EP for the caregiver who would otherwise be excluded will be developed taking into account the participant’s special circumstances. This includes a caregiver in a 2-parent family who is:

A minor who has not graduated from HS/GED, see 0012.06 (Requirements for Caregivers Under 20).

OR

An 18- or 19-year old who has not graduated from HS/GED, and has chosen the education option, see 0012.06 (Requirements for Caregivers Under 20).



CHILD UNDER 12 MONTHS, REGARDLESS IF CHILD’S NEEDS ARE INCLUDED IN THE GRANT

A 1-parent family (with no other DWP exclusion reason) that includes a child under 12 months is not eligible for DWP, unless the parent previously used all of the 12-month lifetime ES exemption limit. Take a Combined Application - Addendum (DHS-5223C) (PDF) for the newborn and move the case to MFIP. If the determination is made more than 30 days after the DWP application date, have the participant complete an MFIP Transition Application Form (DHS-5223E) (PDF) as part of the process. Terminate DWP allowing for proper notice.

Once the MFIP case is opened, the caregiver is required to choose within 10 days whether to use the child under 12 months exemption or use it at a later date.

A 2-parent household that includes a child under 12 months with no other DWP exclusions MUST participate in DWP. In a 2-parent family only 1 parent in any 1 month is eligible for the ES exemption if the unit has not already used the 12 month lifetime limit.



SNAP:

For SNAP E&T participant Employment Plan requirements, see SNAP E&T Manual 5.12 (Employment Plan (EP)).


MSA, GA, GRH:

No provisions.

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