Q & A: Hours of Participation
TANF Program Policy Questions and Answers
Hours of Participation
Q1. Final DRA 2005 Rules: The work verification plan guidance only allows for 10 holidays. Since most agencies or businesses where participants are placed in Community Service work have 12 or more holidays, how can States manage the negative impact that this has on the participation rate?
A1. Under the original TANF rule, States were required to report actual hours of participation; there was no allowance for holidays or excused absences. Thus, the interim rule, and now final rule, should have a positive effect on State work participation rates. The fact that some work site sponsors provide more than the 10 days allowed in the final rule means that States may have to find ways to compensate for days TANF recipients miss due to a holiday that is not recognized in the State Work Verification Plan.
To help ensure that work-eligible individuals meet their hourly work requirements, some TANF agencies require individuals to participate more than the average of 20 or 30 hours per week to count in the Federal work participation rate, providing some leeway should a client miss hours due to some unforeseen circumstance or a holiday that is not recognized in the State work verification plan. In addition, some TANF agencies focus on participation hours monthly rather than weekly, allowing individuals the flexibility to miss hours in some weeks and make them up in others. For example, an individual could work 20 hours one week, 40 hours the next week, and 30 hours per week the remaining two weeks. It is important to remember that for most employed individuals, the standard is 40 hours per week. The fact that most TANF recipients have an average weekly requirement of 20 or 30 hours means that there is considerable flexibility in developing work schedules to meet the work requirements