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Can I turn down a temporary position from the same company that laid me off without losing unemployment benefits?

by stacy
(Needville, TX )

Do I have to accept a temporary position with the same company that laid me off 2 months ago. I received a call today from the HR dept, I would have to sign with a temp agency and I would not receive any company benefits. Can I turn this offer down and still collect unemployment. They cannot tell me how long I would be working on assignment. But if I take the job, then they could also let me go and I would not be able to collect unemployment.

Hi Stacy,

This is a good question and one I've had to deal with myself, but I took the job .. and remained a temp for over two years without my health benefits or one paid day off in over two years. It sucked. They had to hire me back at the wage I had been making, but I watched for two years as they replaced the jobs they had "eliminated" with very "young" permanent employees w/ health benefits.

All the while only being paid for 40, but working close to 60 a week .. talk about stupid .. it was the straw that broke this old camel's back and TAAAADAAAAH! became my purpose in life.

And you are right .. the temp agency thing means that they would now be your employer and if the assignment ends you would only be able to resume benefits if the temp agency doesn't have another assignment and temp agencies think every assignment they offer is "suitable work".

To get you started, you can research your problem with the Texas precedent decision manual.

The funny thing about this is I'm not clear if the fact that your former employer's HR department offering you a job through a temp agency is an actual offer of work .. I do know they may send an informational letter to the state if you turn it down saying that you refused an offer of "suitable work", but they usually have to prove there was a bonafide offer. They didn't mail you anything .. did they?

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Feb 24, 2010
Answer to your question
by: Stacy

No, nothing in writing was recieved from my past employer. They moved a contract employee to my project to take over my desk. Today she turned in her 2 week notice accepting another perm position with another company. So my old employer is needing someone quick, but doesn't want to train and since the huge layoff 2 months ago they are still under a hiring freeze. They can one hire Contractors through a Temp agency. Kind of a slap in the face if you ask me. I would also be receiving .50 cents less per hour.

Oh that's great even less than you were making .. there's no doubt the work is suitable .. the only question is whether it would stand as an "offer of work".

Problem is that even at 50 cents less per hour .. it's better than unemployment.

If you take it just make sure you read all that paperwork the temp agency will be having you sign.

Texas has "temporary worker provisions". Basically, these provisions allow for a voluntary quit disqualification if you don't contact the agency as specified for a new assignment. It's a cute little gimmick that catches tons of people off guard .. or they can't prove they contacted the agency for another assignment when the agency protests.

And temp agencies fight unemployment because they have high "experience ratings" .. which just means they have to pay higher UI taxes on wages because there's no way they can always put people back to work in another assignment .. therefore they have a lot of lack of work claims.

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