Bloomberg Law
June 12, 2020, 5:07 PM

DOL Urged to Clarify When Work Refusal Warrants Jobless-Aid Cut

Ben Penn
Ben Penn
Chris Marr
Chris Marr
Staff Correspondent

A testy exchange on Capitol Hill highlighted an arcane but increasingly relevant legal question: Can the federal government advise states to keep paying unemployment insurance benefits to workers who decline job offers they believe to be unsafe?

Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia told the Senate Finance Committee this week it’s up to states to define “suitable work” and the factors that, if satisfied by the employer, would disqualify a worker from unemployment compensation if they refuse the job.

The fact that states have primary authority to adopt laws that define suitable work isn’t in dispute. But a group of Democratic senators ...

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