Posted by on March 25, 2013

The North Carolina General Assembly has been busily rewriting Chapter 96 of the General Statutes, “Employment Security” – known to most of us as Unemployment, Unemployment Benefits, or Unemployment Insurance.

One change you should be aware of relates to your obligation to accept a job offer if one is made.  In the past, the Division of Employment Security (formerly the Employment Security Commission, or ESC) would discontinue your benefits if you were offered “suitable work” and rejected the offer.  While there are certain other exceptions, “suitable work” currently means “the Division shall consider 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.”

On July 1, 2013, The Suit Gets Tighter

In order to try to reduce long-term claims by raising the bar as time goes on, the definition of “suitable work” will be more restrictive.  At first, it will look much like the current definition.  However, after 10 weeks, you will be expected to be more willing to take any work that pays more than unemployment.  While it doesn’t exactly say you have to take any available work, the range of work you may have to consider is likely expanded a good deal.  The new definition of “suitable work” effective July 1, 2013 is:

  • (f) Suitable Work. – The Division’s determination of whether an employment offer is suitable must vary based upon the individual’s length of unemployment as follows:
    • (1) During the first 10 weeks of a benefit period, the Division may consider all of the following:
      • a. The degree of risk involved to the individual’s health, safety, and morals.
      • b. The individual’s physical fitness and prior training and experience.
      • c. The individual’s prospects for securing local work in the individual’s customary occupation.
      • d. The distance of the available work from the individual’s residence.
      • e. The individual’s prior earnings.
    • (2) During the remaining weeks of a benefit period, the Division must consider any employment offer paying one hundred twenty percent (120%) of the individual’s weekly benefit amount to be suitable work.

So, while you  might have held out longer for a great job before, you may soon be required to accept a good job, if it pays a salary 20% or more above your unemployment check.


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