8. What Are the Capability, Availability, and Suitability Requirements of the Personal Eligibility Test?
To be personally eligible, a claimant must be
- capable of work;
- available for and actively seeking work; and
- unable to find work in a usual occupation or any other occupation for which the claimant is reasonably suited.
In order for claimant to be considered capable of work, they must be able to perform some type of remunerative work, even though it need not be their most recent or even customary occupation. AH c. 4, § 2. For example, if an individual’s physical condition has changed due to illness, injury, or disability, the most recent work performed may no longer be suitable, but the individual may still be capable of some other employment. If capability arises as an issue, DUA may require a claimant to submit a health provider form. See Appendix Q; 430 CMR 4.45; BR-0025 0197 53 (3/19/19) (a claimant was not disqualified as incapable of working on the grounds that he was only available to work part-time for a period early in his benefit year because the mental health issue that limited his ability during the benefit year also created the urgent, compelling, and necessitous reason for leaving his job); BR - 10127346 (5/13/14) (claimant awarded benefits where involuntary separation occurred due to urgent, compelling and necessitous reasons, and the claimant established that those reasons required o limited availability for work during the benefit year to part-time employment BR-0063 1914 79 (8/30/21) (holding claimant not disqualified from benefits if he is temporarily disabled from doing prior work if he is capable and available to do other work); BR-0053 8252 25 (9/29/21) (finding claimant capable and available to do other work although she could not do prior work due to injury).
Note: Advocates should: 1) ensure that any information provided by the health care provider has been properly included in the claimant’s file; and 2) supplement the form, if necessary, by providing additional medical corroboration for claimants who are able to work either full-time or part-time with or without reasonable accommodations. The mere receipt of disability payments, without any further evidence about them, does not in and of itself mean that the claimant was not able to work while he was on a leave of absence from the employer. BR - 151211 (10/21/14). It must be shown that the disability actually removes the claimant from the labor market. (as required under 430 CMR 4.45 (3) (c)). For more information on the relationship between disability payments and unemployment insurance, see Question 43.
Availability is a continuing week-to-week eligibility requirement—it can arise at any time in a case, even if not specifically made part of a notice of disqualification. To satisfy this criterion, an individual must be genuinely attached to the workforce and be ready to accept work that is “suitable.” The Board has reversed several denials of UI benefits based on DUA’s erroneous conclusion that a claimant refused or was unavailable for work. See e.g., BR-0029 9043 49 (6/20/19) (claimant, a union member, who was temporarily out of work due to inclement weather is not disqualified under the work search requirement of G.L.c. 151A § 24(b), where his union restricts him from obtaining non-union work, and he complied with all requirements of his union regarding what to do during period where there is no work due to temporary, weather-related reasons); BR- 0026 7043 89 (3/29/19) (claimant found available for work because her mental health reasons for limiting her benefit year availability to part-time work were the same as those that caused her to leave her full-time job, and this limitation has not effectively removed her from the labor force); BR-0025 1188 61 (12/21/18) (claimant in a voluntary residential treatment program for anxiety was able and available, as she had been cleared for work by her psychologist and was willing and able to leave program at any time for work); BR-0018 1335 49 (8/2/16) (Key) (claimant determined to be available for work where self-employment was limited to weekends and evenings); BR-0022 5536 94 (2/26/18)(claimant found available for work where she had childcare coverage after the birth of twins that enabled her to work full-time Monday through Friday on the 2nd and 3rd shift after 3 p.m.); BR-0019 5967 49 (3/20/17) (Key) (finding that review examiner’s denial because claimant was unavailable because she had job interview on three days, turned on its head the requirement that a claimant make efforts to find suitable work); BR-0018 8829 44 (2/23/17) (claimant who was in part time work with the employer and refused additional assignments in order to engage in work search for suitable full-time work, should not be docked “lost time” for refusing suitable work).
And importantly, in a decision designated by the Board as “key,” the Board has held that a claimant who attends school full-time is not per se disqualified as unavailable where the claimant was looking for work on second and third shifts. BR00011 9491 62 (2/19/15) (Key); BR-0033 2276 47 (2/26/20) (holding attending school is not a per se disqualification or presumption that claimant is not available for full-time work); BR-0053 3666 78 (12/16/20) (finding claimant available for full-time work despite enrollment in school full time because online coursework provided claimant with flexibility to complete coursework while working full-time).
Although the individual may not impose unreasonable restrictions to such an extent that obtaining work would be unlikely, certain “good cause” restrictions are permissible. “Good cause” includes personal reasons such as family responsibilities, health or disability issues, or the unavailability of childcare. Conlon v. Dir. of the Div. of Emp't Sec., 382 Mass. 19, 22–24, 413 N.E.2d 727 (1980) (claimant’s refusal to seek or accept work at certain times because of personal reasons such as childcare may constitute “good cause” to decline suitable employment, and they need not be willing and able to work full time on any shift to be eligible for benefits); Hut v. Nordberg, East Boston District Court, C.A. No. 9505 CV 0046 (1996) (claimant who limited her job search to part time “mother’s hours” did not remove herself from the labor market and the Board should have credited the expert testimony in support of her claim). See BR-0015 4145 42 (11/23/15) (Key) (claimant who chose to take FMLA leave due to sudden childcare issues was determined eligible where child care issues continued during leave but did not limit availability so as to remove him from labor force); BR - 1357064 (10/11/13) (claimant has good cause to limit her availability to part-time employment because she is unable to afford daycare for her newborn and shares use of a vehicle with her husband); BR - 1945879 (5/15/14) (claimant had good cause to restrict her hours of work due to childcare responsibilities).
The U.S. Department of Labor promulgated regulations governing when a claimant is “able and available” for work: 72 Fed. Reg. 1891 (1/16/07), codified at 20 CFR Part 604. The U.S. DOL employs a “withdrawal test,” which “balances the need to assure genuine attachment by the individual to the labor market—which is what the [able and available] requirement is testing . . . [This test] provides the States with greater flexibility as it permits States to pay [UI] to individuals who have [able and available] restrictions, such as limiting availability to part-time work, as long as the restrictions do not amount to a withdrawal from the labor market.” 20 CFR 604.5(a)(1) (emphasis added).
In addition to the U.S. DOL regulations described above, the rules governing UI eligibility for unemployed workers available only for part-time work are also set out in 430 CMR 4.42–4.45. DUA amended these regulations in response to a 2009 Superior Court decision invalidating prior regulations that had required a claimant seeking to fulfill the availability requirement through part-time work to have a prior history of part-time work of at least 20 weeks during a 26-week period. See Leary v. Malmborg, 2009 WL 2566243.
The regulations eliminated the "20 out of 26 week history" requirement (however, advocates have continued to see this on disqualification notices) and provide that an individuals are is UI eligible if: (1) they had an urgent, compelling and necessitous reason for leaving, (2) the same reason requires the individual to limit their availability for work during the benefit year to part-time work, and (3) they have has not effectively removed themselves from the labor force. See 430 CMR 4.45(1)(b); BR-0026 7043 89 (3/29/19); BR - 0018 3314 93 (7/29/16).
The Board of Review has held that a parent who had a history of full-time work was nonetheless able and available for work even though she restricted her work search to part-time hours due to her child’s disability. The Board ruled that her child’s disability qualified her as an individual with a disability within the meaning of the DUA part-time regulation at 430 CMR 4.45(3). BR-108922 (4/30/09)(Key). Moreover, see Maynard v. King, Worcester District Court, CA 0262 CV 2501 (2003)(holding that a parent with new child care responsibilities may restrict her work hours to part-time even if she did not work part-time during her base period). Similarly, a claimant who cannot work his regular full-time truck-driving shift due to child-care issues, but who remains able and available to perform up to 35 hours of other forms of work, is eligible. BR - 0015 4145 42 Also, a claimant who separates from her most recent employer due to childcare issues may restrict work hours to part-time shift that lasts four hours per weekday, which, combined with her weekend availability, indicates that she is still attached to the labor force. BR - 0016 3530 74 (9/30/15).
Note: DUA uses continues to use a Health Care Provider’s Statement of Capability (see Appendix Q) that questions whether “the patient [is] currently able to work part-time with no restrictions.” The questions on the form concerning full time and part time work do not comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act because they fail to determine whether or not someone can work either full-time or part-time with a reasonable accommodation. The questions erroneously presume that a “restriction” renders the individual automatically ineligible. Consequently, advocates should intervene where claimants are available for work either full-time or part-time with a reasonable accommodation.
Approved Illness or Bereavement.
The unemployment law also provides an exception to the availability requirement during an approved illness (AI): G.L. c. 151A, § 24, permits up to three weeks of AI during a benefit year as long as the individual has not refused an offer of suitable work. BR-1019024 (3/10/14). Where a claimant who separates from her prior position for post-partum depression and anxiety, these medical conditions beyond her control, may restrict her availability and capability to work in her benefit year to part-time work. In addition, her schooling does not render her disqualified, because the schooling has no more limiting effects to her availability than her medical issue. BR - 0015 6157 89 (9/29/15). DUA has extended this exception to a period of bereavement for an individual in the immediate family or household (spouse, child, parent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, or parent of spouse). AH c. 4, § 2C.3; BR - 0014 3611 80 (6/30/15) (holding that claimant may be paid benefits under G.L. c. 151A, §24(b), because there was a death in the immediate family, as such a period of bereavement is treated as a period of approved illness); see also BR - 0018 3586 32 (7/29/16); BR-0073 0055 86 (4/29/22).
Medical restrictions to claimants’ availability for work do not necessarily preclude them from receiving benefits. In BR-2007804 (1/14/14), a claimant whose physician had cleared her for light duty was able, available, and actively seeking work as a matter of law. See also President & Fellows of Harvard Coll. v. Dir. of the Div. of Emp't Sec., 376 Mass. 551, 555, 382 N.E.2d 195 (1978). In BR-124156 (3/19/13), although the claimant’s physician placed her under a weight-lifting restriction, she was nonetheless capable of, available for, and actively seeking work for which she was reasonably fitted. See also BR - 700263 (8/29/13); BR - 0017 9217 41 (9/28/16)(denial of UI benefits reversed where claimant placed on leave and then discharged because she could not do customary work but could do and was seeking other work notwithstanding her medical restrictions). Claimants with a medical condition limiting their job availability to part-time, nonstrenuous work may still be eligible for benefits, as their limitations are not such that it effectively completely removes them from the labor market. BR–1535941 (10/10/14).
Full-time School Attendance
The Board has repeatedly cautioned that attending school full-time should not result in a per se disqualification or in a presumption that a person cannot be available for full-time work and that each case must be considered individually. BR-0030 0102 01 (9/25/19) (holding that where a full-time law student indicated that there were no restrictions on his working full-time, that he had a history of full-time study and work dating back to high school, and that he was actively seeking full-time work, the claimant was eligible); BR-0027 7346 95 (6/14/19) (reiterating that there is no rule stating that attending full-time schooling is a per se disqualification and that each person’s availability must be assessed on an individual case-by-case basis); BR-0021 3181 94 (2/26/18) (same)); BR - 0019 4735 31 (12/30/16) (finding that a student's class time during the later afternoons and evening three days a week did not preclude full-time employment).
A full-time student may be eligible under 2 scenarios:
- A student who is in an approved DUA training program, which waives the requirement that an individual be available for work (see discussion on Section 30 training in Question 53); The Board has reversed several denials by Review Examiners relating to DUA’s approval under section 30. For example, the Board reversed a denial for weeks during which a claimant was participating in a DUA- approved training program that DUA later determined was not necessary for obtaining suitable employment. The Board found that DUA had issued a confusing and contradictory notice stating that the claimant had both been approved for her training program and that the extension of UI benefits had been denied. BR-0022 4579 70 (10/17/17). The Board also reversed a disqualification of a claimant who was initially approved to commence a training program but then unable to start the program on time due to his case manager’s failure to apply for special funding under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The Board found that DUA erred in failing to consider claimant’s good cause for enrolling in the program one-month late. Issue ID #s 0020 3537 83 & 0020 9214 67 (9/25/17). The Board has also reversed the disqualification of a claimant whose chosen program was not DUA-eligible (due to a program eligibility lapse) at the time of application, when the claimant was able to show the program had been approved by the time she started her program. BR-0025 0958 78 (9/27/18).
- A full-time student who is not in an approved program may nonetheless be eligible if the student can demonstrate availability during work hours typical for the student's usual occupation or a willingness to rearrange the school schedule in order to accept employment. For instance, the Board found that a claimant attending full-time schooling was able and available to do fulltime work because she was searching for jobs at least four times per week that would have allowed her to work fulltime with her school schedule. The Board reiterated that while a history of working full time while in school full time can be an indication of meeting the “able and available” requirements, it is not the only way to prove that a claimant is able and available. BR 0021 5678 61 (12/22/17). Similarly, a claimant who attends school during the day time, but who is available to work second or third shift, and who applies for work that could be available at those times, is not disqualified. BR-1021672 (2/19/15). Likewise, a claimant who attends a full-time educational program taking a maximum of 10.5 hours per week, and who is available during the day and nighttime hours, is not disqualified. BR 0015 0186 75 (12/18/15). And a claimant who attends school full-time is eligible where the flexible nature of the type of work performed (home healthcare, personal care attendant, etc.) and their school schedule make it possible for her to work a full-time schedule. See BR 0015 4424 19 (9/28/15). Also, a claimant who attends a full-time school program, but who is available to work on the weekends and second shift during the week is eligible. BR 0015 6813 40 (11/10/15). BR - 0015 6813 40 (11/10/15). The Board found that a student enrolled in school part-time who was actively looking for work for which she was available after 12:00 p.m. two days a week, after 2 p.m. two days a week and anytime on three days a week was entitled to UI. BR-0024 0569 65 (9/27/2018). Similarly, the Board found that a student taking a course meeting 3 hours once a week who also worked part-time while looking for full-time work was available, BR - 0017 3948 16 (8/11/16), as was a claimant who participated in school during the weekends and evenings. BR - 0018 4592 56 (8/30/16)
Free Exercise Defense
The Supreme Court, in Frazee v. Illinois Dep't of Emp't Sec., 489 U.S. 829 (1989), expanded the protection of the free-exercise clause of the First Amendment by allowing a Christian to refuse work on the Sabbath without disqualifying the individual for UI. The court went further than prior cases that had required an individual to belong to a particular church or religious sect. Here, even though Frazee was not a member of either and did not rely on a specific religious tenet, the Court nonetheless reversed the Illinois' court's denial of UI. The Court held that a professing Christian, even if not a church-goer or member of a sect, was protected by the free-exercise clause from having to choose between his or her religious belief and work and that denial of UI violated the clause.
Under AH c. 4, § 3B.12, self-employment of 20 hours per week or more affects availability. Several Board decisions are instructive. BR-0021 2921 77 (12/19/17) (deciding that during weeks that claimant was partially employed, he still remained eligible where he was searching for full-time employment that was either new or supplemental work). A claimant who is self- employed for less than half the hours than customarily worked in the past may still be found to be actively seeking work, where that self-employment was a reasonable means to finding full-time employment. BR-1933134 (6/2/14). An otherwise eligible claimant whose only source of income on a given week was part-time self-employment may qualify for UI benefits if the mount of net earning is less than the claimant's weekly benefit rate plus the earning disregard. BR - 0018 1355 49 (8/2/16)(finding eligibility under prior SRH §§ 1141 (A) & (B) where claimant's self-employment was not during her "typical shift" and where her net income from self-employment did not exceed her weekly benefit rate). The Board has also found that research into self-employment opportunities does not constitute grounds for a disqualification based on availability. BR - 0018 7588 55 (11/7/16).
Actively Seeking Work
With a few exceptions claimants must be able to show that they are actively seeking suitable work each week that they claim benefits G.L. c. 151A, § 24(b); . AH c. 4, § 4C.2, 4.
Claimants must make at least three work-search contacts each week; keep a written log of these contacts (noting date, employer name, how contacted, and the results); and provide their work-search log to DUA upon request. See AH c. 4, 4B. Claimants' failure to comply with these mandates may lead to being declared ineligible for the weeks that they did not meet these requirements, and they may have to repay the benefits from those weeks.
Exceptions to work search requirements include workers in DUA-approved training programs, AH c. 4, §4(C)(2); BR-0077 2912 90 (9/19/22) (claimant not subject to work search and availability requirements during approved Section 30 training); union members in good standing with their unions who are restricted to accepting union work or work through a union hiring hall, AH c. 4, § 4(C)(4); and claimants who have a definite recall to work within four weeks, AH c. 4, § 4(C)(5); BR-354329 (2/25/15); BR-0077 4730 07 (10/18/22) (claimant with a definite return to work date within four weeks is exempt from work search and availability requirements of § 24(b)).
Although DUA requires claimants to search for work on at least 3 days per week, this requirement does not require a claimant to actually use three different methods in the same week. BR-2021007 (2/25/15).The following activities, among others, may constitute acceptable work-search activities:
- registering with a MassHIRE Career Center
- using the resources available at MassHIRE Career Centers
- sending job applications to employers who may reasonably be expected to have suitable work
- visiting or interviewing with potential employers
- registering with employment agencies
- attending job-search seminars, job fairs, skills workshops, and so on
- reporting to the union hall, if this is the individual's primary work search method
- online: contacting professional associations, reviewing job listings, etc.
DUA provides a work-search log on UI Online or through the mail (see Appendix G). Although the sample work-search log can also be downloaded, the claimant must submit submit a form with a bar code identifying the form as belonging to the claimant’s case.
The requirement that a claimant be “actively seeking work” may be sufficiently flexible to accommodate a claimant’s particular method of looking for work. In BR-114970 (2/9/2011), the Board of Review held that where the claimant was homeless, without a personal phone, and thus unable to be “actively in touch with her recruits or temporary staffing agencies, engaging in networking, or directly applying for jobs,” the claimant met the requirements for an active work search through her use of “recruiters, temporary staffing agencies, in-person applications, networking, and internet searches.” The Board considered these methods to be reasonable in light of the claimant’s “unique circumstances.” The Board has also held that a claimant who was required by his union to limit his work-search and availability to work offered through his union’s apprenticeship program had met the availability and work-search requirements as long as he was member in good standing of the union. BR -: 0012 8417 63 (12/24/15).
In BR-124226 (2/26/13), although the claimant was in Hawaii for three weeks she was nonetheless able, available, and actively seeking work because she conducted a job search, applied for jobs, attended a work-related seminar, and had a flexible return ticket so she could return to Massachusetts on short notice if necessary.
The Board has held that a claimant who primarily sought work from her prior employer did not limit her work search to such a degree that she was not attached to the labor market. BR-0016 6597 36 (3/31/16). And a claimant who has temporarily laid off with a definite return-to-work date within four weeks, was not required to actively search for work from other employers. BR-0012 9990 79 (2/25/15) (Key).
Further, as explained in further detail below, claimants need only search for suitable work. BR-0076 6274 02 (9/19/22) (claimant with foot injury satisfied work search requirement by seeking work that accommodated need to sit during shift).
While applying to work is important, it is not the only type of work search effort that meets the actively seeking work requirement. BR-0021 9720 01 (4/24/19) (claimant demonstrated that she was actively seeking work because she was making efforts to become re-employed, even if she did not actually apply to many jobs); BR-0027 3994 96 (4/24/19) (claimant established that she was actively seeking work, by showing that she searched on online job boards, attended an interview, networked, and looked at an in-person board at her college over the course of the three weeks at issue). These contacts are sufficient to satisfy the work search requirement of G.L. c. 151A, § 24(b).
To be eligible for UI benefits, an individual need only be capable of, available for, and actively seeking “suitable work.” Conlon v. Dir. of the Div. of Emp't Sec., 382 Mass. 19, 413 N.E.2d 727 (1980). This standard of eligibility has its basis in G.L. c. 151A, §§ 24(b) and 25(c), which are to “be read and construed together,” as §25(c) [suitability] explains, amplifies and qualifies §24 [able and available]. Pacific Mills v. Dir. of the Div. of Emp't Sec., 322 Mass. 345, 351, 77 N.E.2d 413 (1948).
Statutory suitability standards can be found at G.L. c. 151A, § 25(c); suitable employment is determined by taking into consideration:
- whether the job is detrimental to the health, safety, or morals of the individual;
- whether the job fits the employee, based on training and experience; and
- whether the job is located within a reasonable distance from the employee’s residence or prior job.
In addition, no work is deemed “suitable” if:
- the position offered is vacant due directly to a strike, lockout, or other labor dispute;
- acceptance of the job would require the individual to join a company union or would limit the individual’s right to join or retain membership in any bona fide labor organization; or
- remuneration, hours, or other conditions of the work offered are substantially less favorable to the individual than those prevailing for similar work in the locality [the prevailing conditions of work test].
The “prevailing conditions of work” test
The Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) requires states receiving FUTA funds to ensure through state law that “compensation shall not be denied . . . to any otherwise eligible individual for refusing to accept new work . . . if the wages, hours, or other conditions of the work offered are substantially less favorable to the individual than those prevailing for similar work in the locality.” 26 U.S.C. § 3304(a)(5)(B). This is known as the “prevailing conditions of work” test and is codified at G.L. c. 151A, § 25(c). This test is very useful for determining whether a job is suitable, especially concerning temporary employment. (See Question 38.) The U.S. DOL has set out detailed guidelines on how this test should be applied, in the Employment and Training Administration’s (ETA) UIPL No. 41-98 and No. 41-98, Change 1 (7/19/00), available at https://wdr.doleta.gov/directives/. See also AH c. 5, § 4A.
In considering whether or not a job is suitable for a victim of domestic violence, the job must be determined to be one that reasonably accommodates the individual’s need to address the physical, psychological, and legal effects of domestic violence. G.L. c. 151A, § 25(c), ¶2; AH c.5, § 5.
Where claimants have failed to accept suitable employment, they may be subject to a reduction of their benefit credit (i.e., a reduction of the total amount of benefits on their claim). Note: DUA applies an automatic benefit credit reduction of four times the benefit rate. AH c. 3, § 8A. However, the statute provides that the director make a determination “from the circumstances of each case.” G.L. c. 151A, § 25(c). This may leave room for an advocate to seek a smaller reduction under compelling circumstances.
Rarely is suitability a sole, separate issue; watch out also for a suitability issue on recall and voluntary quit cases.
The following are examples of winning suitability cases:
A job offer from the same employer at substantially reduced wages makes the job unsuitable, Graves v. Dir. of the Div. of Emp't Sec., 384 Mass. 766, 429 N.E.2d 705 (1981); President and Fellows of Harvard Coll. v. Dir. of the Div. of Emp't Sec., 376 Mass. 551, 382 N.E.2d 195 (1978); as does “insurmountable” difficulties with transportation. Uvello v. Dir. of the Div. of Emp't Sec., 396 Mass. 812, 815 (1986). Similarly, the Board of Review held that changes to a claimant’s remuneration, hours, and working conditions immediately following the claimant’s hiring rendered the job unsuitable. BR-115564 (2/24/11). Claimants are generally not considered to have refused suitable work when they decline to work an assignment on short notice, for an extremely limited amount of time, and at a location far from their residence. BR - 0008 9771 96 (5/15/14) Where a claimant turns down offered work that would require driving in violation of a state driving ban, the claimant has not rejected suitable employment. BR - 512270 (2/13/14). Similarly, a claimant’s disqualification was reversed when she turned down assignments that required her to drive one to two hours during rush hour without being compensated for this time. BR-0014 3830 98 (8/12/15) (Key). And a home health aide was allowed to seek partial unemployment where her work in a nursing home became unsuitable based on her reasonable belief that the job was causing health problems. BR - 0014 0062 59 (3/9/15) (Key).
Although the claimant was not physically capable of, available for, and actively seeking work due to his illness, he is eligible for benefits for three of the weeks during which he was ill because he was not offered any suitable work during the period at issue. BR-1019024 (3/10/14). Similarly, the Board ruled that a claimant’s post-traumatic stress disorder rendered her partially disabled and thus qualified her to limit her job search to part-time employment. BR - 0014 4414 16 (6/25/15).
The appellate courts have also applied a good-faith standard to a UI recipient’s alleged failure to seek or accept suitable work, Haefs v. Dir. of the Div. of Emp't Sec., 391 Mass. 804, 464 N.E.2d 387 (1984), and good-cause standards to a refusal of an offer of suitable work, Conlon v. Dir. of the Div. of Emp't Sec., 382 Mass. 19, 413 N.E.2d 727 (1980). UI recipients who take another job on a trial basis while receiving UI during the benefit year will not be disqualified if they leave that job because it turns out not to be suitable. See Jacobsen v. Director of the Div. of Employment Security, 383 Mass. 879, 420 N.E.2d 315 (1981). The Board has held that a claimant laid off by an employer and offered the "opportunity to apply" for a new job with the employer, should not be denied UI benefits under §25 (c) because he rejected suitable work, as a discussion of job possibilities does not constitute a definite offer of employment. BR - 0017 5436 74 (10/20/16) (Key)
Where a job is potentially objectively unsuitable from the start of employment, then a claimant should not lose eligibility for UI benefits. Baker v. Dir. of the Div. of Unemployment Assistance, 84 Mass. App. Ct. 1101 (2013) (unpublished opinion) (remanding to Board for a determination of suitability where claimant, a mechanic, took a position that was primarily a management position). And although it appears to state the obvious, it took an appeal to the Board to establish that a claimant who refused an offer of work from one employer because she was working in other suitable employment was not disqualified. BR-0001 1361 33 (9/15/14) (Key).
A claimant has good cause for leaving employment, as being unsuitable, when they left a job that paid less than half what they had earned in prior employment, and it offered at most 20 hours per week with no guaranteed minimum hours, whereas their prior employment had been full time. See BR-118192 (10/31/11). And a claimant cannot be disqualified for rejecting additional hours of work from their part-time subsidiary employer when the offered work was not suitable full-time employment because it paid less than their customary work and was outside their usual occupational field. See BR-0012 3564 87 (10/10/14) (Key).
A claimant remains eligible for partial UI although they declined some work offered to them, because they continue to work their regular part-time hours and only decline extra per diem shifts that conflict with other suitable work. See BR- 0015 7544 19 (11/23/15).
Full-time work offered to a claimant is not suitable for a claimant with cronic lower back pain, because it requires long periods of standing, which is detrimental to the claimant’s health. BR - 0014 5202 03 (9/24/15).
A claimant is not disqualified for partial UI when they decline additional hours, because the hours offered conflicts with their hours from other, higher paying work. See BR - 0014 5567 37 (10/29/15).
A claimant is not disqualified for turning down assignments in and around Boston involving one- to two-hour commutes during rush hour for two hours of work. BR - 0014 3830 98 (8/12/15).