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Will I be able to collect Illinois Unemployment Benefits if I refuse an offer of work?

by SusieQ
(Illinois Unemployment)

Will I be able to collect Illinois Unemployment Benefits if I refuse an offer of work?

The mortgage broker where I've worked for the past 8 yrs is being acquired. More than 5 yrs was full time, then I was asked to take a part time, hourly position with no benefits. My part time, work from home flexible position is being eliminated. The new owner has presented a lowball offer, full time only, which would require me to place my 9 yr old into after school care, as well as care over all school breaks. The offer is such that it is not economically feasible to work & pay the cost of child care. I have neither quit nor been fired. I understand this situation to be job loss through attrition. Will I qualify for unemployment benefits and do I file the request under the company that has folded, since it was this company that paid into said benefits?


Hi SusieQ,

I actually considered that for my screen name when I started writing about unemployment benefits!!

Yes, it's job loss through attrition and a very good employer strategy .. especially when the employee does not understand the possibilities of different things that might give them an argument to fight for unemployment benefits based upon refusing the offer of work because it was "NOT SUITABLE WORK" as defined by Illinois section 603 and of course the interpretations of that section with their precedent decisions.

I also think it wise that everyone knows .. that for a state to define what is or is not suitable when offered a position in your customary occupation departments rely heavily on BLS data to determine if the pay is fair in your "locality" and that the length of time a person has collected benefits may also alter the wage and even the occupation that becomes suitable.

There is a brief discussion to be found on the differences by state of good cause and suitable work (beginning on page 7).

Since you also mention economical infeasibility due to childcare, which would be a more state specific subject and usually require a provision, I'd like to call your attention to the far right column of Table 5-2 and the footnote for Illinois in the resource linked to above.

Understand that a refusal of work would put the burden on you to PROVE the work was unsuitable because I'm certain the employer would protest that an offer of suitable work was made and you refused.

Here, is the link to the Illinois Unemployment Insurance. Big resource, but comprehensive, in my opinion.

And below is the
relevant part of Illinois Section 603 which I copied and pasted from the handbook. (but, like I said, the handbook is big .. so don't forget to check out the precedents on refusal of suitable work, as well as any others that might seem relevant to your situation for a fuller understanding.

Sec. 603. Refusal of work
An individual shall be ineligible for benefits if he has failed, without good cause, either to apply for available, suitable work when so directed by the employment office or the Director, or to accept suitable work when offered him by the employment office or an employing unit, or to return to his customary self-employment (if any) when so directed by the
employment office or the Director.

Such ineligibility shall continue for the week in which such failure occurred and, thereafter, until he has become reemployed and has had earnings equal to or in excess of his current weekly benefit amount in each of four calendar weeks which are either for services in employment, or have been or will be reported
pursuant to the provisions of the Federal Insurance Contributions Act by each employing unit for which such services are performed and which submits a statement certifying to that fact.

In determining whether or not any work is suitable for an individual, consideration shall be given to the degree of risk involved to his health, safety, and morals, his physical fitness and prior training, his experience and prior earnings, his length of unemployment and prospects for securing local work in his customary occupation, and the distance of the
available work from his residence.

Notwithstanding any other provisions of this Act, no work shall be deemed suitable and benefits shall not be denied under this Act to any otherwise eligible individual for refusing to accept new work under any of the following

If the position offered is vacant due directly to a strike, lockout, or other labor dispute; if the wages, hours, or other conditions of the work offered are substantially less favorable to the individual than those prevailing for similar work in the locality; if, as a condition of being employed, the individual would be required to join a company union or to resign from or refrain from joining any bona fide labor organization; if the position offered is a transfer to other work offered to the individual by the employing unit under the terms of a collective bargaining agreement or pursuant to an established employer plan, program, or policy, when the acceptance of such other work by the individual would require the separation from that work of another individual currently performing it.

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Mar 19, 2011
by: SusieQ

You rock - thanks for the solid information, esp the link to Section 603 of the IDES handbook. The 700+ pages were daunting at a glance!


You are very welcome SusieQ.

It's always easier for me to provide solid information that the asker can use to interpret their own situation for themselves as opposed to when I'm asked for a definitive answer based upon incomplete information.

That's why I offer consultations .. because "free" always have it's limitations.

Each section of that handbook has it's own TOC so if you know the main issue for a refusal of work is whether it is "suitable work" you can zero in.

All the best,


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