The following are responses to common questions about expanded support for unemployed workers included in the CARES Act. States are ultimately responsible for making eligibility decisions based on individual circumstances. Employers and employees should check their state workforce website for specific information. There are three sections: Valid Reasons for Staying on Unemployment Insurance, Returning to Work, and Guidance for Employers.
VALID REASONS FOR STAYING ON UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE
I was recently offered my job back after having been laid off due to the pandemic, but I make more money now on unemployment. Can I turn the job down and stay on unemployment?
No. States permit a number of valid reasons for turning down a job. But making more money on UI is not one of them. If you don’t take the job and don’t have a valid reason, you are not eligible for UI and could be at risk of committing fraud. States are required to collect overpayments made to individuals that improperly receive benefits.
I was offered my job back but my children’s day care center is still closed down due to the pandemic. Am I still eligible for UI if I turn down the job due to lack of child care?
Yes. You are eligible. The CARES Act provides protections for workers impacted by COVID-19 and in most states, lack of child care due to the pandemic is a valid reason to turn down a job if you are the primary caregiver.
My employer will let me work from home with pay. However, because my children are out of school and my spouse is working, I need to care for them and it is too difficult to work from home. I need my kids to be at school in order for me to be able to work. Am I eligible for UI until my kids get back to school?
Yes. You are eligible. As stated earlier, the CARES Act provides protections for workers impacted by COVID-19 and in most states, lack of child care due to the pandemic is a valid reason to turn down a job. But trying to find temporary child care and working from home, even part-time, may be the best option since there are no guarantees your job will still be available when your kids return to school.
I don’t want to return to work because I am worried about exposure to illness. Wouldn’t it be safer for me to remain on UI?
Your health and safety are very important, and that’s exactly why you should return to work—after all, most Americans receve health care insurance through their employer. Employers are already working to reduce risks of exposure in the workplace, and you should work with your employer directly about any concerns you have. Unwillingness to do so is not a valid reason to stay on UI.
RETURNING TO WORK
What can a claimant do if he or she believes a job offer is not for suitable employment?
Claimants may file an appeal if they disagree with a state’s determination regarding suitable work. If an employer raises an issue of failure to accept suitable employment, the state unemployment insurance agency must provide the claimant with an opportunity to provide his or her side of the story and to rebut any evidence provided to the state before making a final determination.
Most state laws allow for refusal of suitable employment for good cause, which is defined in state law. Criteria for good cause may include, but are not limited to, the degree of risk to an individual’s health, safety, the individual’s physical fitness, prior training, experience, and earnings; the length of unemployment and prospects for securing local work in a customary occupation; and the distance of the available work from the individual’s residence.
What happens if there is another outbreak and a family member or I get sick due to COVID-19? Do I have to quit my job and go on UI?
If you work for an employer with under 500 employees, your employer must give you paid sick leave and paid family and medical leave for up to 12 weeks with pay to take care of yourself or a family member. There are some exceptions to this requirement for small businesses.
This new access to paid leave was provided by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The U.S. Department of Labor has provided a notice for employers to inform their employees about these benefits here: https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/WHD/posters/FFCRA_Poster_WH1422_Non-Federal.pdf
If paid sick leave is not available through your employer, pandemic unemployment assistance is available to provide temporary income support for individuals impacted by COVID-19 who are unable to work. You are encouraged to talk to you employer about options, such as being furloughed, to keep your health insurance and not lose the connection to your job.
What happens I there is another outbreak this Fall and my kids’ school closes and I can’t go to work? Do I have to quit my job and go on UI?
Same as above. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act provides access to paid sick and family and medical leave for reasons related to COVID-19 for employees who work at companies with less than 500 employees through the end of the year.
GUIDANCE FOR EMPLOYERS
Many employers in my community say that employees are not coming back to work because they make more money on UI. What should I tell these employers?
First, you need to ask them if they have formally offered the employee a job. If not, they need to do that. Second, they need to report the names of the people that have been offered a job to their state unemployment office. Those who turn down a formal job offer from their previous employer without a valid reason (i.e., good cause) are no longer eligible for UI.
What can an employer do if it believes an unemployment insurance claimant has refused an offer of suitable employment?
Nearly all states have processes for employers to submit documentation that an offer of suitable employment was refused by an unemployment insurance claimant. A list of all state unemployment insurance fraud hotlines can be found at: https://www.dol.gov/general/maps/fraud. You can also report fraud, waste and abuse to the Department of Labor’s Office of the Inspector General.
One of my workers quit because he said he would prefer to receive the unemployment compensation benefits under the CARES Act. Is he eligible for unemployment? If not, what can I do?
No. Individuals who quit their jobs to access higher benefits, and are untruthful in their UI application about their reason for quitting, could be at-risk of committing fraud.
Eligibility for regular unemployment compensation varies by state but generally does not include those who voluntarily leave employment. Similarly, to receive pandemic unemployment assistance, an individual must satisfy one of the eligibility criteria in the CARES Act. These include the following scenarios:
- if the individual receives a positive COVID-19 test or is experiencing symptoms and seeking a medical diagnoses;
- if a member of the individual’s household has been diagnosed with COVID-19;
- the individual is caring for a family member or a member of the individual’s household diagnosed with COVID-19;
- the individual is the primary caregiver of a child who is unable to attend a school or child care closed because of COVID-19,
- the individual is unable to reach the place of unemployment because of a quarantine due to the public health emergency,
- an individual’s place of employment is closed due to COVID-19.
How Different States Handle Job Refusal
Nearly all states have released guidance or FAQ’s reminding claimants that they may not refuse of offer of suitable work, often accompanied by a list of good cause exceptions for situations involving COVID-19, and have instructed employers to notify them if an employee refuses to return to work. The following table is not a comprehensive document—please check your own state workforce agency website for specific, up-to-date guidance.
|State||COVID-19 and State UI Information: Job Refusal|
|(Bloomberg News excerpt) “Alabama’s labor department has taken a tough stance on workers who are reluctant to return to their jobs as some states reopen for business, warning that refusing work and continuing to claim unemployment benefits is fraud.
The department issued the warning in a statement released late Thursday that encouraged employers to report to the state any workers who refuse to return to work. The state’s hard line comes as restaurants and other service businesses in a number of Southern states prepare to reopen, and as the U.S. Labor Department’s independent watchdog is paying close attention to how states handle the potential for fraudulent unemployment insurance claims.”https://news.bloomberglaw.com/daily-labor-report/alabama-warns-refusing-work-to-claim-unemployment-is-fraud
Alabama unemployment compensation handbook – https://www.labor.alabama.gov/docs/guides/uc_brr.pdf
Alabama Department of Labor website:
|Alaska||Can I refuse an offer of suitable work and still receive my UI benefits?
Anytime someone refuses an offer of suitable work, the reason for the refusal is investigated. If it is determined that there was not good cause for the refusal of suitable work then a six week penalty and a three week reduction of benefits will be applied to your claim. You will also not be eligible for Extended Benefits (EB) should they become available. You will also be required to pay back any UI benefits you may have received incorrectly.
Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development website:
|Arizona||Refusal of Work or Referral to Work
If you refuse an offer of or referral to suitable work, you will be disqualified beginning with the week of the refusal and until you are reemployed and earn wages equal to eight times your weekly benefit amount. A determination will be made about whether or not you are eligible for benefits. All determinations of whether or not a person is eligible for benefits are made by the appropriate Arizona Revised Statute (A.R.S.), Administrative Code (A.A.C.) or applicable federal laws. Before any disqualification can be imposed for refusing suitable employment without good cause, the Department must show that all of the following elements exist:
An opening exists.
The offer is definite.
You received the offer of employment.
You received sufficient information about the prospective job.
The work is suitable.
Arizona Department of Economic Security website:
|Arkansas||Employer Services for Unemployment Insurance
Employers may now report individuals who refuse offers of work, as well as those who fail to submit to or pass a pre-employment drug screen directly through the Online Unemployment Insurance Employer Services portal.
Should you have any questions or comments concerning any of the Online Unemployment Insurance Employer Services features, please contact the ADWS UI department here.
Individuals receiving UI benefits may be disqualified if they fail to accept offers of suitable work or if they fail to submit to or pass a pre-employment DOT qualified drug screen. However, in order to investigate the possible disqualification, ADWS must be notified. In many instances, a job applicant that is also claiming UI benefits will not report the refusal or the failure and thereby escape disqualification. The failure to report the refusal or failure is a form of UI fraud. https://www.dws.arkansas.gov/employers/ui-employer-services/
Arkansas Division of Workforce Services website:
|California||California Unemployment Insurance Code, Section 1257(b), provides an individual is disqualified for unemployment compensation benefits if: He or she, without good cause, refused to accept suitable employment when offered to him or her, or failed to apply for suitable employment when notified by a public employment office.
Title 22, California Code of Regulations, Section 1253(c)-1(c)(4), defines good cause: “Good Cause” means a compelling reason, one which would influence a prudent person in the same circumstances as the claimant, and who is genuinely desirous of working, to impose the restriction. A finding of good cause depends on a determination that the claimant had no reasonable alternative for discharging the obligation that led the claimant to place the restriction on his or her availability. Reasons of ambition, prestige, taste, or similar motives, though they may be commendable in certain instances, will usually not be considered to constitute good cause.
(San Fransisco Chronicle excerpt) “People who turn down a new job — or their old one — because of coronavirus concerns may be able to continue collecting unemployment insurance, according to new guidelines from the California Employment Development Department.”https://www.sfchronicle.com/business/networth/article/Californians-can-refuse-some-work-during-15267447.php
California Employment Development Department website: (Employer info.)
|Colorado||(Colorado Public Radio excerpt) “Conflicts between workers and their employers are starting to pile up as businesses reopen in Colorado.
About 150 people have refused to return to their jobs, according to reports filed with the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. Workers and employers are supposed to report “job refusals” by employees who are receiving unemployment benefits. Those workers might then lose their unemployment benefits, depending on the situation.
Employees of salons, retail stores and restaurants have expressed concerns about returning to work. Some are worried about their health, while others are receiving more money through unemployment than they would at work. So far, the state is largely deciding cases in favor of workers and allowing them to keep their benefits. Officials have reviewed 55 cases. Of those, about 50 of the workers were allowed to keep their unemployment benefits. Five workers lost their benefits. State officials weigh several factors in each case. Employees might keep their benefits if:
The work environment is not complying with social distancing, World Health Organization guidelines or Safer at Home guidelines
The wages or the job significantly changed.
The employee is especially vulnerable to COVID-19, including because they are older or immunocompromised.
The employee is caring for someone with COVID-19.
CDLE doesn’t have the authority to inspect workplaces. “Rather, we can analyze the facts as presented for both parties,” said Jeff Fitzgerald, director of the unemployment insurance division.”
Colorado Department of Labor and Employment website:
Colorado Returning to Work Employer Guidance: (Report Refusal of Suitable Work)
|Connecticut||If You Refused Work
Whenever it is reported to the Labor Department that you have refused an offer of employment or a referral to a job, a hearing must be
conducted to determine whether you refused the job/referral with sufficient cause and whether the work/ referral offered was suitable. If
it is determined that you refused suitable work without sufficient cause, you will be disqualified from benefits, effective with the week
you refused the job or referral, until you return to work and earn at least six times your weekly benefit rate and are otherwise eligible.
In determining whether you had sufficient cause for refusing a job or a referral to a job, Labor Department staff will consider:
1.Whether the job is in your usual occupation or if it is work for which you are reasonably fitted;
2.Whether the job is within a reasonable distance of your home;
3.Your prior training, experience and skills;
4.Your previous wage level;
5. How long you have been unemployed;
6.Whether the job poses any unreasonable risks to your health, safety or morals;
7.Whether the wages, hours and working conditions of the work offered or referred to are substantially less favorable than those
prevailing for similar work in the same area; and
8.Whether there is a reasonable basis for a refusal, based on factors such as: present employment; personal illness or
disability; domestic responsibilities of a compelling nature; confinement; or attendance in training approved by the Labor
Connecticut Department of Labor website: (FAQ’s)
|Delaware||Employer Work Refusal Report
Delaware requires claimants collecting unemployment benefits to accept suitable offers of work. If you are an employer who has made an offer of work to an employee please complete the form below. In the comments section please include details of the offer of work such as who made the offer, how the offer was made, and details of the position offered such as job title, rate of pay and work location. The Division will make a determination of eligibility that is mailed to the claimant and employer.
Delaware Division of Unemployment Service website:
|Florida||You may be unable to receive benefits for the following reasons:
• You voluntarily left work without good cause.
• You were discharged for misconduct connected with work.
• You were discharged for a dishonest act.
• You refused to accept a suitable offer of work.
Report all job refusals. If you refuse an offer of work, you must report your refusal to DEO, who will determine if there was good cause to refuse the work. https://floridajobs.org/docs/default-source/reemployment-assistance-center/new-individual-faq-includes-cares-act-final.pdf?sfvrsn=5f2547b0_52
Florida Reemployment Assistance website:
|Georgia||Report Suspected Unemployment Insurance Job Refusal form:
GDOL offers several options to report suspected cases of unemployment benefit fraud, identity theft, job refusals and failed pre-employment drug screening tests. The preferred method to submit your report of suspected UI fraud and abuse is through our Online Reporting system. All tips received are investigated regardless of how much information is provided. However, the more details you can provide, the more you will aid in the investigation.
Report all job refusals
If you refuse an offer of work, you must report your refusal to GDOL, who will determine if there was good cause to refuse the work.
Georgia Department of Labor website:
|Hawaii||Unemployment Insurance (UI) fraud and abuse is a crime. It drives up UI taxes for businesses, and causes frustration for law-abiding workers. Individuals who commit fraud are subject to penalties and/or criminal prosecution. You may be guilty of fraud if you hold back information from or provide false information to the Unemployment Insurance Division. Any incorrect information about your work status or details in your application can be construed as misrepresentation of facts to commit unemployment fraud. Individuals who knowingly collect unemployment benefits based on false or inaccurate information provided by them when filing their claim or while receiving benefits, are committing fraud!
Department of Labor and Industrial Relations website:
|Idaho||If the Idaho Department of Labor offers you a job referral for suitable work, you may be denied benefits if you refuse to accept the referral or fail to make contact with the employer. If you are job attached, you must maintain contact with your employer and return as soon as work becomes available.
Idaho Department of Labor website:
|Illinois||Under Section 603 of the Illinois Unemployment Insurance Act, an individual shall be ineligible for benefits if he/she failed,
without good cause, either to apply for available, suitable work when so directed by the employment office or the Director, or to
accept suitable work when offered to him/her by the employment office or an employing unit, or return to his/her customary
self-employment (if any) when so directed by the employment office or the Director. Please provide details about the refusal.
The information you provide will be used for the purpose of determining your eligibility for benefits.
Please complete, sign and return this questionnaire to your Illinois Department of Employment Security Reporting Office as
instructed. Failure to respond will result in a determination based on the available information.
Illinois Department of Employment Security website:
|Indiana||(IndyStar.com excerpt) “Hoosiers receiving unemployment insurance benefits could lose their eligibility if they are recalled to work but refuse to return due to fears of the coronavirus. The Indiana Department of Workforce Development said it is increasingly getting questions about it from Hoosiers. Fred Payne, commissioner of the Department of Workforce Development. Unemployment insurance acts as a bridge between job loss and new employment, he said.
“This is the backdrop through which we’ll access all claims — federal and state,” Payne said during the state’s daily coronavirus press conference on Thursday. “Claimants placed on a temporary layoff related to COVID-19 must return to work if called back to remain eligible for benefits.” He said not returning to work when there is available work could be considered a refusal to work — potentially disqualifying people from receiving unemployment benefits.” https://www.indystar.com/story/money/2020/04/30/indiana-unemployment-refusing-work-coronavirus-can-affect-eligibility/3058846001/
Q13. I laid off employees due to COVID-19, and they are collecting unemployment insurance
benefits. If I recall those employees and they refuse to return to work, can I report this to DWD?
A13. Yes, employers can complete the Notice of Work Recall Refusal (Employer), State Form 56951, found at this link: https://www.in.gov/dwd/2406.htm. DWD will then evaluate the reasons for refusal and make a determination on continued eligibility for unemployment insurance benefits.
Indiana Department of Workforce Development website:
|Iowa||IWD announces Guidance on Unemployment Benefits:
Iowans Who Refuse to Return to Work Without Good Reason When Recalled Will Lose Eligibility to Unemployment Benefits
DES MOINES – Iowans who have been placed on a temporary layoff related to COVID-19 but refuse to return to work when recalled by their employer will lose unemployment benefits, except for certain circumstances including:
· If you have tested positive for COVID-19 and are experiencing symptoms;
· If you have been advised by your healthcare provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19;
· If you have recovered but it caused medical complications rendering you unable to perform essential job duties;
· If a member of your household has been diagnosed with COVID-19;
· If you are providing care for a member of your household who was diagnosed with COVID-19;
· If you do not have childcare due to COVID-19 reasons; or
· If you do not have transportation to your place of work because of COVID-19.
Employees in any of these positions are strongly encouraged to work with their employer in the best way to handle the situation to return to work. https://www.iowaworkforcedevelopment.gov/job-offer-decline-form-employers
Refusing to return to work when recalled for any other reason, or in an attempt to continue to draw unemployment benefits will be considered a “voluntary quit” which would disqualify a claimant from receiving benefits, including the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation benefit of $600/weekly. An employee who is recalled on a part-time basis may continue to be eligible for benefits depending on the amount of wages they earn. They should continue filing their weekly claims and report the gross wages they earned each week. Additionally, the self-employed should continue to report their weekly gross income as part of their continuing claims as they return to work.
Iowa Workforce Development website:
|Kansas||Job Refusal Statement – Claimant
Can a claimant turn down a job while receiving benefits?
You are not eligible for unemployment benefits if you fail without good cause to accept suitable work if it is offered to you. Suitability is determined by considering your skills, training, experience and capabilities needed for the job. Labor market conditions must also be taken into consideration when considering the suitability of any work offered (your prospects for work, the number of jobs available in your chosen occupation or skills area, etc.). Did the job meet federal/state standards in that the working conditions were not substantially less favorable than those prevailing for similar work in the labor market? If it is determined the job is suitable and you failed to accept the work, you are disqualified from benefits. If the job was suitable, did you have good cause for refusing the work? Did you refuse the job because of illness, hospitalization, lack of child care or transportation, etc.? These are availability issues. In order to establish good cause, you must have made every reasonable attempt to remove the restriction.
Kansas Department of Labor website:
|Kentucky||Work Refusal Form
Under Section 341.350 of the Kentucky Unemployment Compensation Laws and Regulations, an individual shall be ineligible for benefits if he/she failed, without good cause, either to apply for available, suitable work or to accept suitable work when offered to him/her by the employment office or an employing unit. If you know of someone who has refused to accept suitable work, please click here to provide details about the refusal.
Kentucky Career Center website:
|Louisiana||Some employers think laid-off workers receiving all of the COVID-19 benefits may choose to keep collecting them, and not return to work. How will employers manage that?
For employers who are concerned that their employees will not report back to work after the stay-at-home orders have ended, we will address refusal of suitable work and the work search requirement before the order is lifted. We are currently planning for this, including potential messaging, a direct email dedicated for refusal of work issues for employers to use and the potential workload that will occur. We are discussing several areas that we will cover to ensure that individuals that have reported back to work, failed to seek work or refused to work will be addressed. Refusal of work and failure to complete work searches can disqualify individuals from all claims, including regular unemployment, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation. A disqualification will result in no further payments including the $600 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation.
Louisiana Workforce Commission website:
|Maine||Refusals of Offers of Work or Referrals from a Career Center
You must report any offer of work that you refuse or any referral to work from an MDOL CareerCenter that you do not accept on your Weekly Certification. You must explain the refusal in the space provided if you file online or in the “Remarks” section on the front of your attendance verification form for special programs. If you file your weekly certification by telephone, your claim may be accepted by the system but you will be contacted by the MDOL to provide additional information regarding the Refusal of Work or Referral by the CareerCenter. If you refuse an offer of suitable work or a referral to a suitable job, you may be disqualified from receiving further benefits.
Maine Department of Labor website:
|Maryland||Failure to Apply for or Accept Suitable Work – Section 8-1005 – Maryland Unemployment Decisions Digest – Appeals
Section 8-1005(a)(1) provides that a claimant may be disqualified from receiving benefits if the claimant, without good cause, has failed to: (1) apply for available, suitable work when directed to do so; (2) accept suitable work when offered; or (3) return to usual self-employment when directed to do so. The maximum penalty for refusing suitable work is that benefits will be denied until the claimant is reemployed and earns at least ten times his weekly benefit amount in covered employment. If there are mitigating circumstances involved in the claimant’s refusal of suitable work, the claimant could receive a lesser penalty which consists of a five to ten week denial of benefits.
Maryland Department of Labor website:
|Massachusetts||Unemployment Insurance Benefits and Returning to Work: Guide for Employers
In normal times, the intent of the unemployment insurance program is to assist people during periods of unemployment when suitable work is not available.
But, during the current COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Department of Labor encourages flexibility to effectively comply with government social distancing recommendations and to mitigate the spread of the virus. In response, the Department of Unemployment Assistance enacted emergency regulations, that, among other things, altered the definition of suitable work.
Massachusetts Department of Uenmployment Assistance website:
|Michigan||The law says that if an unemployed worker collecting unemployment benefits refuses an offer of suitable work, without good cause, the unemployed worker must be disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits. The claimant’s unemployment benefits will be reduced by up to 13 weeks.
Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency website:
|Minnesota||(Minnesota Star Tribune excerpt) “The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) says that people able to return to work “need to do so,” or risk becoming ineligible for unemployment benefits.
“If you have a health reason or caretaking responsibility, then you should stay home and you would likely continue to qualify for unemployment,” DEED Commissioner Steve Grove said in a statement. “But if you are an able-bodied and otherwise healthy worker, unemployment insurance isn’t able to pay you if you desire to stay home.”
Minnesota Unemployment Insurance Agency website:
|Mississippi||Business Tips for Employers
By Reporting a Separation or Refusal to Work
You could help make a difference that may: Prevent fraud & overpayments, Keep your tax rates low, Cut down on appeals, Save you time & money
Don’t wait until you receive a notice that a claim for unemployment insurance benefits has been filed. Make your report when the activity occurs.
he information you provide is confidential and can help prevent improper payments of benefits. This can prevent unnecessary charges to your account and help keep your tax rate low. A separation occurs when an employee is no longer working for the employer. When someone does not accept a job offer from an employer it is referred to as a refusal of work.
Mississippi Department of Employment Security website:
|Missouri||Missourians who have been placed on a temporary layoff related to COVID-19, but refuse to return to work when called back by their employer, should expect to lose unemployment benefits. However, state officials say there are a few exceptions:
-If you have tested positive for COVID-19 and are experiencing symptoms
-If you have recovered from COVID-19 but it caused medical complications rendering you unable to perform essential job duties
-If a member of your household has been diagnosed with COVID-19
-If you are providing care for a member of your household who was diagnosed with COVID-19
-If you do not have childcare due to COVID-19 reasons
-If you do not have transportation to your place of work because of COVID-19.
Employees in any of these positions are strongly encouraged to work with their employer on the best way to handle their situation. If you refuse to return for reasons not covered under the CARES Act, you would be disqualified from receiving benefits, including the $600 weekly Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation supplement.
Missouri Division of Employment Security website:
|Montana||What happens if a claimant refuses a job offer?
If a claimant refuses suitable work without good cause, while actively claiming for benefits, the claimant may be
disqualified. The department considers such factors as:
• Whether the offer of work was bona fide;
• The degree of risk to the claimant’s health, safety, and morals;
• Physical fitness;
• Prior training and/or experience;
• Previous earnings;
• The length of unemployment and prospects for finding work in the claimant’s customary occupation,
• The distance of the available work from the claimant’s residence.
If a claimant refuses suitable work without good cause, while actively claiming benefits, the claimant may be
disqualified to receive benefits. The disqualification can be ended when the claimant has earned six times their weekly benefit amount. The maximum benefit amount is reduced by six times the claimant’s weekly benefit amount
Montana Department of Labor and Industry website:
|Nebraska||I refused a job offer. Will I be eligible for benefits?
A: You may be disqualified for 12 weeks for failing to accept an offer of suitable employment or failure to accept a Nebraska Department of Labor Employment Service referral. Suitability is determined by considering a person’s training and experience and the conditions in the labor market. Maximum benefits payable may also be reduced when a disqualification is assessed. NESL: 48-628(3)
Nebraska Department of Labor website:
|Nevada||Reasons an unemployed person may not be eligible for unemployment benefits are:
1. Separation from employment due to quitting without good cause.
2. Being discharged for misconduct in connection with your work.
3. Refusal of an offer of suitable work without good cause.
Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation:
|New Hampshire||What if I refuse a job? Refusal of a suitable job will result in loss of benefits; however, a number of things must be considered in deciding whether a job is suitable, such as wages, distance to the job, experience or training, and length of unemployment, among others.
New Hampshire Employment Security:
|New Jersey||If a suitable job is offered to you, you must accept it. If you refuse the job, you may be denied benefits for the week in which you refuse the job and for the next three weeks. Because people’s experience and circumstances are different, the definition of a “suitable job” varies. It depends on your skills, where you live, and your past salary. While you are unemployed, you will look for a job similar to your last job in terms of commute, job duties, and salary. The longer you stay unemployed, the more flexible you’ll have to be in terms of accepting a new job. For example, you may have to travel a greater distance, accept a different type of job, or start at a lower salary.
New Jersey Department of Labor website:
|New Mexico||In order to stay eligible for benefits, you must continue to meet the necessary requirements from your initial claim. In addition, you must report to your local New Mexico Workforce Connection Center when requested, and you must not refuse any offer of suitable work.
New Mexico Workforce Connection website:
|New York||Section 593.2 of the Unemployment Insurance Law provides for a disqualification from benefits if a claimant, “without good cause, refuses to accept an offer of employment for which he is reasonably fitted by training and experience, including employment not subject to this article…”
New York Department of Labor website:
|North Carolina||If you refuse an offer for work, DES must determine if that offer was ‘suitable’ work based upon information provided by you and the potential employer. If the offer is deemed ‘suitable’ you may be disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits.
North Carolina Department of Employment Security website:
|North Dakota||Individuals may lose benefits for failure to apply for, or a refusal to accept, suitable work.
North Dakota Job Service website:
|Ohio||(ABC6 News excerpt) “State asks employers to report employees who refuse to return to work in Ohio. The state is now asking employers to report those workers who refuse to return to work. The Department reporting that Ohio law prohibits people from receiving unemployment benefits if they refuse to accept employment offers or quit without good cause. The department indicating employers need to let them know if an employee refuses to return to work, ODJFS will decide if they are still eligible for unemployment. For many families across Ohio this is yet another hurdle they will have to deal with soon.”
Ohio Department of Job and Family Services website:
|Oklahoma||(Enid News and Eagle excerpt) “State encourages businesses to report workers who refuse to return to jobs. As the state plans to begin rolling back its measures intended to fight the spread of COVID-19 on Friday, it is urging employers to report workers who refuse to return to work to the state’s unemployment agency to terminate their benefits, the head of the state’s secretary of commerce said.
Oklahoma Secretary of Commerce and Workforce Development Sean Kouplen said during a series of video meetings with businesses Wednesday that workers who are receiving unemployment benefits can lose those funds if they refuse a job offer from their former employer as the state begins to reopen.
“Obviously, if somebody turns down employment, then what will happen is, if the company chooses to call OESC (Oklahoma Employment Security Commission) and let them know, then that individual’s unemployment benefits will stop,” Kouplen said. “The individual has a right to appeal that based on, for example, a health concern.”
Oklahoma Secretary of Commerce and Workforce Development:
|Oregon||If you have an opportunity to perform suitable work but you either decline the work or do not report for work due to illness, injury, or other temporary incapacity, you are not considered available for work and you may not receive benefits for that week. https://www.osbar.org/public/legalinfo/1099_UnemploymentComp.htm
OED’s new rule provides exceptions to unemployment eligibility rules that would generally disqualify applicants from entitlement to unemployment benefits. A person who quits, is discharged, fails to timely apply for work, or fails to accept an offer for work, is not disqualified from unemployment benefits if those actions were taken due to “COVID-19 related situations.”
Oregon Employment Department website:
|Pennsylvania||Section 402(a) of Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation Law provides, in part, that an employee shall be ineligible for compensation for any week in which their unemployment is due to failure, without good cause, to accept suitable work; provided that the employer who offers the work notifies the department of the refusal within seven days from when the offer is made.
The department has created a new form, UC-1921W, so employers can notify the department that suitable work was refused. The form can be saved, printed, and submitted directly to the department online. Be an active partner in helping to improve the integrity of unemployment compensation payments. Notify the department within seven days of the offer by submitting the form, UC-1921W, online. If you prefer to send the form via facsimile, please complete, print, and fax the form with any additional documentation to UIAS at 717-772-0378.
Pennsylvania Office of Unemployment Compensation website:
|Rhode Island||The Return to Work Form is to be mailed to the Unemployment Insurance Service Center when a claimant returns to work full time. This form notifies the department of the start date, employer name and address where the claimant began working. It also provides a written request for any outstanding benefits to which the claimant may be entitled.
Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training website:
|South Carolina||(ABC4 News excerpt) COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCIV) —If someone drawing unemployment benefits refuses a job offer, South Carolina business owners are encouraged to report that person to the state’s Dept. of Workforce and Employment. … Otherwise, employees cannot refuse an offer for work without good cause, DEW officials say. https://abcnews4.com/news/local/businesses-urged-to-report-people-refusing-job-offers-amid-covid-19-unemployment-crisis
South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce website:
|South Dakota||Refusal to Return to Work
Workers who have been placed on a temporary layoff related to COVID-19 but refuse to return to work when recalled by their employer will lose unemployment benefits, except for certain circumstances.
These exceptions include the following and may require documentation:
If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and are experiencing symptoms
If you have recovered but it caused medical complications making you unable to perform essential job duties
If a member of your household has been diagnosed with COVID-19
If you are providing care for a member of your household who was diagnosed with COVID-19
If you do not have childcare due to COVID-19 reasons
If you do not have transportation to your place of work because of COVID-19
NOTE: Being uncomfortable about returning to work when recalled is not an acceptable circumstance to decline work.
Not returning to work when there is available work could be considered a “refusal of work” or “voluntary quit” and potentially disqualify claimants from receiving reemployment assistance (unemployment insurance) benefits, including the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation benefit of $600/weekly.
South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation website:
|Tennessee||Unemployment Claimants Required to Accept Work Offers or Face Disqualification
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.
Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development website:
|Texas||Texas, issued guidance to clarify that individuals receiving unemployment may not turn down a job unless they have a COVID-19 related reason:
· At High Risk – People 65 years or older are at a higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19
· Household member at high risk – People 65 years or older are at a higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19
· Diagnosed with COVID – The individual has tested positive for COVID-19 by a source authorized by the State of Texas.
· Family member with COVID – anybody in the household has tested positive for COVID-19 by a source authorized by the State of Texas and is not recovered and 14 days have not yet passed.
· Quarantined – Individual is in 14-day quarantine due to close contact exposure to COVID-19.
· Child care – Child’s school or daycare closed.
Texas Workforce Commission website:
|Utah||(KSL.com News excerpt) “Unemployment payments will end if you reject suitable job offer SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Department of Workforce Services warned that Utahns receiving unemployment benefits will risk losing weekly payments if they refuse suitable offers to return to work.
Record numbers of workers have filed for unemployment as they’re been laid off from their jobs due to the coronavirus slowdown. “If an individual fails to disclose the refusal of an offer of suitable work, that individual may be required to pay back benefits received and face possible prosecution for fraud,” officials from Workforce Services said in a statement.
The department reminded that refusing a suitable job offer could be the same as quitting a job, and that would make an individual ineligible for unemployment benefits. Employers must clearly communicate the offer for suitable work, the department said. If the offer is declined, the employer should submit a report to jobs.utah.gov/ui/home/Fraud/FraudForm.”
Utah Department of Workforce Services website:
|Vermont||Refusal to Return to Work: COVID-19
The Department of Labor reminds unemployment claimants who have been placed on temporary layoff or furlough related to COVID-19 that they must return to work if called back by their employer. Refusal to return to work, when being offered the normal rate of pay and number of hours per week, may result in the termination of unemployment benefits and the need to repay certain benefits.
Action for Employers
If you are an employer that has offered regular work, at the same number of hours and rate of pay that they were working prior to COVID-19, to an employee that was temporarily laid-off or furloughed, and the employee has refused to return to work, you MUST report this activity to the Department of Labor.
Employers can submit a report of refusal to work by completing the online form, found here at https://labor.vermont.gov/form/refusal-work-fraud-report
Vermont Department of Labor website:
|Virginia||If you refuse a job offer, you will be contacted by the VEC to provide additional information. … If you fail, without good cause, to apply for suitable work when referred by the VEC or accept suitable work when offered, you may be disqualified starting with the first day of the week in which such refusal occurred.
Virginia Employment Commission website:
|Washington||Q. Can someone refuse a job and continue to collect unemployment benefits?
A. Claimants need to actively pursue suitable work to continue collecting unemployment benefits and must report any job refusal while collecting benefits. Suitable work is defined as work that is consistent with an individual’s prior experience, education and training, along with other considerations such as distance to available work. If the refusal was for a suitable job, then benefits may be denied.
Washington Employment Security Department website:
|West Virginia||WORKFORCE WEST VIRGINIA REMINDS PUBLIC OF ACTIONS THAT CAN AFFECT ELIGIBILITY FOR UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS If an unemployed person is offered a comparable job with comparable wages and hours to their previous job but refuses to accept the offer, they will be disqualified from receiving benefits.
Workforce West Virginia website:
Section 108.04(8) & (9)(b)
This section applies when a claimant fails to accept an offer of work which is made by a prospective employer. It also may apply when a claimant is recalled to work by a former employer but does not receive the notice of recall.
The job offer must be a bona fide attempt to secure the claimant’s services. In most cases, it is an unconditional offer of work that the claimant has the opportunity to accept or reject and all the specifics of the job (wages, hours, duties and other conditions) must be explained or available to the claimant simply by requesting them of you. Benefits, by law, cannot be denied for refusing new work if the wages, hours or other conditions are less favorable than those prevailing for similar work in the locality.
The claimant may have “good cause” for refusing a job. If so, and the claimant is able to work and available for suitable work in his/her labor market, benefits would be allowed. If a claimant refuses an offer of work from you or fails to return to work for you after being duly recalled, notify the department immediately, providing:
the claimant’s name and social security number;
the type of work offered;
the rate of pay, the hours (or shift);
the date on which the refusal occurred;
the date on which the claimant could have begun work; and
the reason the claimant gave, if any, for refusing the work offered.
Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development website:
|Wyoming||Unemployment claimants called back must accept work to remain eligible for benefits CHEYENNE – Unemployment claimants called back must accept work, the Department of Workforce Services (DWS) reminds unemployment claimants. To remain eligible for unemployment benefits, federal law requires that those who have been placed on a temporary layoff related to the COVID-19 pandemic must return to work if called back.
Not returning to work when there is available work could be considered a “refusal of work” and could potentially disqualify claimants from receiving unemployment insurance benefits. Businesses may report this activity by reporting fraud here.
DWS advises that claimants called back to work should not cancel their unemployment claims but instead leave their claim open and do not file a weekly payment. However, if a claimant is called back but only working reduced hours, they may continue to file a weekly request for payment and must report all gross earnings for the week to possibly receive a partial benefit. The CARES Act specifically provides for serious legal consequences for fraudulent cases. Individuals are responsible for paying back benefits deemed as overpayments due to ineligibility.
Wyoming Department of Worforce Services website: