NASHVILLE -- The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development on Thursday announced that 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 a "suitable" offer, and revise the standard based on the length of time that unemployment benefits are received by an individual.
If the Department of Labor and Workforce Development finds that a claimant has refused otherwise-suitable work based solely upon the rate of pay for the job, then the person's claim for unemployment compensation is stopped for refusing such work.
Previously, to be considered "suitable employment," the proposed job had to bring approximately the same rate of pay and hours as the claimant's most recent work.
WHAT IS 'SUITABLE WORK'?
Under the new law, claimants for unemployment compensation must decrease their salary or 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, a job offer of 100 percent of the wages of the person's most recent work is considered suitable.
* During the 14th through the 25th week of unemployment compensation, an offer of 75 percent of the wages of the person's most recent work is considered suitable.
* During the 26th through the 38th week of unemployment compensation, an offer of 70 percent of the wages of the person's most recent work is considered suitable.
* After the 38th week of unemployment compensation, an offer of at least 65 percent of the wages of the person's most recent work is considered suitable.
Other considerations about whether an offer of work is "suitable" include the person's previous wage and skill levels.
"Suitable work" also involves the job's having hours and days that are standard to the industry, and the commuting distance for the job must be reasonably the same as with the person's previous work.
A claimant will not be required to accept employment below the federal minimum wage.
An offer of employment is not considered bonafide if only a possibility of employment exists.
Employers are encouraged to notify the agency if they feel a claimant has refused a suitable offer of employment.
The employers should contact the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development Benefit Payment Control Unit at (615) 741-2606.