Unemployment recipients could lose benefits for rejecting jobs

Unemployment recipients could lose benefits for rejecting job offers

Posted:
"I've been applying for every single job possible. I'm in here every single day looking," said Best. "I've been applying for every single job possible. I'm in here every single day looking," said Best.
"They make the best choice for their family, and maybe in the beginning, that choice might be to look for a better opportunity," said Abbas. "They make the best choice for their family, and maybe in the beginning, that choice might be to look for a better opportunity," said Abbas.

By HAYLEY HARMON
6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Tennesseans on unemployment may have to go back to work at salaries just over half what they had been making before the lost their jobs.

That's because the state is redefining what is considered a suitable job offer.  

If they turn down a lower-paying jobs, the unemployment checks could stop coming.

The Tennessee Career Center in Knoxville is filled with folks looking for jobs every day of the week.

Many who are new to unemployment hold out for positions with salaries similar their old job, which was allowed under the state's old guidelines.

Using those guidelines, a "suitable" job offer was one that paid similar to a person's most recent work.

"They make the best choice for their family, and maybe in the beginning, that choice might be to look for a better opportunity," said Tennessee Career Center Services Manager Ray Abbas.

That's what people like William Best, of Knoxville, did in the first few months after he got laid off.

"I had to go get a job. I've been applying for every single job possible. I'm in here every single day looking," said Best.

But now, after 13 months, he's applying for just about any job.

"But I have to take it because I still have to support myself - you know, electricity and cable and stuff like that," said Best.

Under the new rules, he can't turn down one of those lower-paying jobs if it's offered to him or else he'll lose his unemployment benefits.

Now, claimants must decrease their 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

Those at the career center said for most applicants, that's the natural progression anyway.

Best is now willing to take just about any job.

"Today. Today, right now, walk out of here and take a night shift at a lower-paying job," he said.

The agency will also consider skill level, the work hours of the job offered and commuting distance when deciding whether a job offer is suitable.

A claimant will not be required to accept employment below the federal minimum wage.

The job must also be a firm offer and cannot be simply the possibility of employment.

State officials are encouraging employers to notify them if they feel a claimant refuses a suitable offer of employment.

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WATE. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.