The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development announced Thursday that people on unemployment, 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 and hours as the claimant’s most recent work. Under the new law, 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. An offer of employment is not bona fide if only a possibility of employment exists. Employers are encouraged to notify the Agency if they feel a claimant refuses a suitable offer of employment. They should contact the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development Benefit Payment Control Unit at (615) 741-2606.
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