Unemployment Claimants Required to Accept Work Offers or Face Disqualification
DEFINITION OF SUITABLE WORK CHANGES WITH DURATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT
NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development today announced claimants who refuse to accept a suitable offer of employment will be disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits. Recent changes to Employment Security Law redefine what is considered suitable and revise the standard based on the length of time unemployment benefits are received. If the Agency finds a claimant has refused otherwise suitable work based solely upon the rate of pay, then his claim is stopped for refusing such work.
Previously, to be considered suitable employment, the proposed job had to be approximately the same rate of pay, conditions and hours as those prevailing for similar work in the area. Under the new law, these same conditions must be met and in addition, claimants must decrease salary and wage demands the longer they receive unemployment insurance benefits.
A job offer is considered suitable according to the following criteria:
- During the first 13 weeks of unemployment, an offer of 100% of the wages of the most recent work
- During the 14th through the 25th week of unemployment, an offer of 75% of the wages of the most recent work
- During the 26th through the 38th week of unemployment, an offer of 70% of the wages of the most recent work
- After the 38th week of unemployment, 65% of the wages of the most recent work
Other considerations of suitable work include previous wage and skill levels. Suitable work also entails having hours and days that are standard to the industry, and commuting distance must be reasonably the same as previous work experience.
A claimant will not be required to accept employment below the federal minimum wage or employment in which the wages, hours, or other conditions of the work offered are substantially less favorable to the individual than those prevailing for similar work in the area. An offer of employment is not bona fide if only a possibility of employment exists.
Employers are encouraged to notify the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development if they feel a claimant refuses a suitable offer of employment.
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