Refusal of Suitable Work – A New Unemployment Compensation Challenge

The COVID-19 crisis has brought many new challenges as employers are navigating bringing furloughed staff back to the workplace. When employees are asked to return to work, they are required to return, unless they have good cause for refusing the offer.

  • Section 402(a) of PA Unemployment Compensation Law states that an employee could be ineligible for compensation for any week in which their unemployment status is due to the refusal of suitable work, without good cause. Determining whether there was good cause for a refusal of work is based upon each claimant’s circumstances.
  • The Office of Unemployment Compensation has created a new form, UC-1921W, so employers can notify the department that suitable work was refused. This form must be submitted by the employer within seven days from when the return to work offer was made.
  • During the current COVID-19 crisis, employees could refuse to return to work because they are at high risk of complications from the virus and their employer cannot make reasonable accommodations, or they are being asked to return to work at reduced hours that result in earning less than they did prior to the layoff. UC staff will review specific reasons like these and make determinations based on the facts of each individual case.

Read Employer UC & COVID19 FAQs for more information and helpful guidelines.