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Do I have to accept 1 hour a day employment when I used to work full time? Is this Suitable Work?

by Jeanette
(Pennsylvania Unemployment Benefits)

I was employed full time (@ 7 am - 3 pm / 5 days a week). My position was furloughed, and I applied for unemployment compensation. I just received a certified letter from my former employer offering me a part time job for 1 hour a day (with a different job title than my former job). Do I have to accept this job in order to receive unemployment compensation? My gut feeling is that this is not "suitable employment" based on the hours I used to work. However, I want to make sure that if I do not accept the offer that I am not giving up my right to collect UC in the state of Pennsylvania.


Hi Jeanette,

The amount of hours you work isn't the best thing .. at least in my opinion to determine what is suitable work .. although less hours is good for collecting partial benefits when hours are reduced or a substantial, permanent, unilateral reduction in hours can be good cause to quit ..

I would prefer comparing what you use to do with what you have been offered and the rate of compensation. Prior experience and training and the rate of pay expected for a job can be researched at the BLS.

Denial of unemployment benefits come frequently, when an employer just protests your benefits by saying that you you refused an offer of continuing or suitable work.

This is really what you need to guard against.

The disqualification for refusal is usually similar to a voluntary quit disqualification. Therefore, If I were to refuse a job based upon the fact that I do not think it is "suitable work" for me .. I'm going to be able to throw as much documentation as I can throw at the UI dept. in an effort to prove any employer's protest was generalized and way off base.

And I'm going to start searching or trying to create this proof that defines an offer or the new conditions of employment of the job I was offered .. before I refuse the offer .. not after.

Overkill? Maybe, maybe not, but why mess around if I have to rely on unemployment benefits to eat.


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Feb 07, 2016
Be very careful!
by: Anonymous

I worked part time for 10 years for my Employer, having only received positive reviews, salary increases, bonuses, and other recognitions. It was a professional, part time job which included PTO and paid holidays. One day my employer called me into her office and told me, effective immediately, my hours would be cut from 20 to 4-8, weekly. I asked if I could use PTO the following week to rearrange my personal schedule to accommodate her new schedule, and start the new schedule the week after my PTO. She responded, via email, saying "no, I could not use PTO and, effective immediately, she would no longer offer PTO or paid holidays to part time employees. I was the only part time employee. I was not scheduled to go back into the office until that next week so I got online, did some investigating, and found I could apply for benefits based on Involuntary Quit for Good Cause - Significant Changes to Working Agreement. I did this, was granted benefits by the State, and the Employer appealed. It was critical to my case that I did NOT go back to work under the new schedule. If I had done so, it would have been viewed as my consent to the new working "agreement". I just had the Appeal last week. I had copies of our correspondence and submitted a "just the facts" letter to the Hearing Officer. The Employer came with her lawyer and introduced "stuff" that had nothing to do with cutting my hours and eliminating benefits. I expect they will appeal the decision but now I know better what to expect - should I have to fight again. My words of wisdom are to remember the State will do what they can to prevent you from receiving benefits unless it is an outrageous case. Document everything and trust your instincts. If your boss has been unethical to other co-workers, he/she will be to you as well. It is just a matter of time.

Aug 10, 2011
BLS information
by: Jeanette

So the BLS says that the average yearly salary for my job is $54,160. So if I'm offered a part time job (1 hour a day) for @$7,300/year (I am waiting on an exact figure from the employer), is that 'suitable?' I cannot live or meet my daily expenses on that amount of money. In addition, I would have to drive at least 60 minutes round trip every day for one hour total of work. Gas prices alone would eat a good amount of the salary.

I know what you're looking for, but I'm not willing to walk out on a limb to make the decision for you. It's yours and yours alone.

But if you want .. you might try some more research and look for previous PA rulings on the same topic so you can feel more confident in whatever you decide.

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