In general, you are no longer eligible for unemployment if you refuse a “suitable” job offer. However, you can still be eligible for unemployment if you show that the job was not “suitable” or if you show that you had “good cause” for refusing a “suitable” job. The Department of Labor has said that it will look at a number of factors in making the suitability determination, including your prior earnings, the risk to your health and safety, your physical fitness to do the job, length of unemployment (under or over 10 weeks) and prospects for finding similar work to the job you held before, and the distance of available work from your residence. As described above, the factors the Department of Labor has said it will consider to determine whether you had “good cause” to refuse a job offer include having COVID-19, being advised by a doctor or public health official to quarantine because of possible exposure to COVID-19, or documenting that your employer has failed to take steps to minimize COVID-19 exposure. As a result, if the job presents a risk to your health and safety due to COVID-19, you may be able to show either that it was not “suitable” or that you had “good cause” to refuse the offer. Again, although the Department of Labor has not said whether it would take caregiving responsibilities into account in the “good cause” analysis, you may be able to argue that you have “good cause” because you are the primary caregiver of a child or family member.
More frequently asked questions:
- How many weeks will I receive benefits?
- I lost my job during the pandemic, but I have not yet applied for benefits. Am I still eligible? How do I apply?
- Am I required to look for work in order to receive unemployment benefits?
- What counts as engaging in work search activities?
- What if I am required to look for work to keep my benefits, but cannot because myself or a family member/ household member is part of an at risk group and can’t risk being exposed to COVID-19?
- What if my employer asks me to return to work, but I am unable to do so due to concerns related to COVID-19?
- What if I am offered a job, but I cannot start the job due to concerns about exposure to COVID-19 or because I need to care for a child or other family member?
- I need to stay home from work because I have coronavirus/I have been advised or ordered to self-quarantine. What can I do to receive income while I am not working?
- A close family member of mine has COVID-19, and I will stay home from work to take care of them. What can I do to receive income while I’m not working?
- I am self-employed or a gig worker and have been receiving the minimum weekly benefit. How do I know if I am eligible for a higher benefit? How do I submit proof of income?
- If I am receiving unemployment benefits, and I am working part time or earning money from gig work, How do I fill out my weekly claim?
- Information on Overpayments due to error or appeal reversal
For all frequently asked questions, you can download a copy of our Know Your Rights document here.