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Do I have to accept a job making less money or lose unemployment

by John
(Florida Unemployment Benefits)

Do I have to accept a job making less money or lose unemployment?

I have been working in the construction field in Florida for the past 8 years. Now due to the slow down in the economy, I am LAYED-OFF from my job since the end of April. I do believe I will be called back, not sure when exactly. But do I have to accept a lower paying job or risk losing my unemployment?


Dear John,

The unemployment issue you want to know about is Suitable Work and when or if you can refuse work because it is deemed not suitable by the AWI.

Good question though, considering the AWI can't keep up with reporting their own changes, nor can the USDOL keep up with the changes being made in all states let alone changes to Florida unemployment laws .. and given the fact that I'm certain one cost-saving measure is probably intentional under informing of citizens so they make mistakes which allows denials .. I advise to tread carefully until you know you have the damn current rule.

I read something recently that is very relative to your particular question, but of course I can't find it now because I don't know what the bill # was.

I recall the proposed change was something along these lines. After
12 weeks of collecting benefits suitable offered work that paid 80 percent of your previous earnings was suitable on that score of what you receive as pay.

Can refusing what FL determines to be suitable work stop you from collecting further benefits.

Damn right it can.

So I tried to find the a current rule.

This is how the rule regarding refusal of suitable work based on pay reads at the Florida Administrative Weekly.

60BB-3.019 Determinations Regarding Suitable Work.
In addition to the standards listed in Section 443.101(2), F.S., the following criteria will apply. Generally, work will not be considered suitable during the first 60 days a claimant is unemployed if the work:
(1) Pays less than 90% of the claimant’s average weekly wage during the base period; or
(2) Would require a material change in occupation for the claimant.
Specific Authority 443.1317(1)(b) FS. Law Implemented 443.091(1), 443.101(2) FS. History–New 8-25-92, Formerly 38B-3.019, Amended 8-14-08.

But that says the last time it was amended was 2008. I'm not willing to trust that there hasn't been a change .. because the way FL's AWI has been working is .. ineffectively.

Maybe you should try that "hotline" (at the first link) and ask them and then come back an tell me and anyone else that pops in because they are asking the same question.


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Question about the 90%
by: Chris

Just so I understand the rule/critera above - does that mean if I was making $15/hr and I was offered a job making $7.45 and hour I can refuse it and not loose benefits because the job offered was less than 90% of my previous wage?


Yes, I would say that at more than 50 percent reduction in pay, you would have good cause to refuse the work .. unless the prevailing wage in your labor market has taking a nose dive to 7.45 per hour.

However one of the problems when it comes to losing benefits is that time frame when the state UI claims dept., may suspend benefits pending a review before issuing a determination .. which you need to appeal if it's unfavorable to you.

Some states take their sweet time reviewing continuing eligibility issues .. such as a refusal to accept suitable work, a job search log, an ability or availability for to accept work.

Suitable is just a word in any state's statutes including Florida unemployment law.

When a state makes changes to their unemployment provisions .. new case law will takes time and appeals to be developed.

It's the most recent, therefore relevant case law, that I think every state UI program should be mandated to publish in such a way so it can be easily found by the average citizen wanting to appeal determinations and hearing decisions with validity.

Chris -

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