Persons receiving unemployment benefits will now have to lower their standards for accepting job offers or risk losing their benefits.
In the past, those receiving benefits could turn down a job that didn't pay as much or offer as many hours as their last job, and that's still true for the first 13 weeks of unemployment. But now, the longer a person remains on unemployment, they will be forced to consider lower- and lower-paying jobs.
From the 14th through the 25th week of unemployment, offers paying 75 percent as much as the last job will now be considered suitable employment. From the 26th through the 38th week, that drops to 70 percent, and after the 38th week, it's 65 percent.
If Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development discovers that a claimant has turned down suitable work based solely on the rate of pay, benefits can be stopped.
Other factors determining whether a job is "suitable work" and must be accepted include hours and days that are standard for the industry in question, and commuting distance similar to the previous job.
No claimant will be required to accept wages below the federal minimum wage.
Employers are encouraged to notify the state if they feel a claimant has refused a suitable offer of employment. They should contact the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development Benefit Payment Control Unit at (615) 741-2606.