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Really weird situation regarding two temp staffing agencies

by Tom


I work in Pennsylvania for a company that hires all of their employees through a staffing agency. I have been on what they like to call an "indefinite" temp assignment for almost three years. The current agency that I am employed through has lost their contact and a new staffing agency has been brought on board. Everyone has been told to fill out an application with the new agency and they will get to keep their job at their current salaries etc... Prior to this assignment I have been with my current staffing agency for almost 6 years, working one long term temp job after another. I am not sure if I want to sign up for the new agency because I am not sure this is somewhere I want to continue working. If I decide to stay with my current agency and refuse to apply for the newly hired one, I will be out of a job.

I am concerned with whether or not I will be eligible for UC for the time that I am waiting to be contacted about my next assignment. Technically my current assignment is being ended, which to me would lead me to believe that I am eligible. However, because I am technically being offered work (with an application process) I am afraid I will be denied.

Please help!

Thank you in advance,


Hi Tom,

I'm checking on this .. because it is a bit of a gray area for me. It's not an offer of work .. which I'm certain would be disqualifying if you refused .. but an offer to apply .. I assume would be required to get you on their payroll and it sounds like there would be continuity to the actual job.

When I was laid me off they also invited me to apply for other positions .. I did, because I was concerned .. same as you, but they instituted a hiring freeze .. so it became moot .. until they offered me a job six months later .. only through a temp agency .. I worked that way for nearly another three years.

I'll get back to you ASAP after I find an answer.


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Feb 17, 2011
An offer of suitable work
by: Chris - unemployment -tips

Hi Tom,

I reached out to someone that knows PA unemployment very well.

And they confirmed my concerns.

Let me say right now I assume the job you will be applying for is the job you are doing right now .. and that only your employer (staffing agency) would be changing.

Of course if after applying .. they change the job you are doing .. it would be time to take a look at whether it is "suitable" .. as defined by PA law.

?Suitable Work? means all work which the employee is capable of performing. In determining whether or not any work is suitable for an individual, the department shall consider the degree of risk involved to his health, safety and morals, his physical fitness, prior training and
experience, and the distance of the available work from his residence. The department shall also consider among other factors the length of time he has been unemployed and the reasons therefor, the prospect of obtaining local work in his customary occupation, his previous earnings,
the prevailing condition of the labor market generally and particularly in his usual trade or occupation, prevailing wage rates in his usual trade or occupation, and the permanency of his residence?."

Tom, if you apply and the new staffing agency does not hire you .. it would become a lack of work claim if the agency you began with .. couldn't find you another assignment right away.

My suggestion is to apply with the new agency .. and then accept the fact that you will most likely have to do the same job not a radically different type of job.

But this certainly does not prohibit you from asking your former staffing agency to find you another assignment. Considering the length of your employment with them .. they must value you somewhat and might want to keep you.

But if you don't apply or you don't accept the job .. your old staffing agency would be the employer charged for your benefits .. and I sincerely doubt .. they would just let your lack of work claim go without a fight.

This is all based on the assumption that you will still be doing the same job you've been doing for almost 3 years. If the new agency changes the work you do .. then apply the statute.

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