Employment Law Questions? Ask an Employment Lawyer.
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I am sorry to hear about your situation. To continue to receive unemployment, PA law requires that you not refuse "suitable work". Now what constitutes suitable work depends a lot on the circumstances. Here are cases that are illustrative:
Ellwood City Hospital v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 457 A.2d 231 (Pa.Cmwlth. 1983) – Claimant eligible for benefits where he was offered a lower paying job after being laid off for only one week.
• Donnelly v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 330 A.2d 544 (Pa.Cmwlth.1975) – Claimant ineligible for benefits where he refused work paying 22% less than his previous job after a 3½ month period of unemployment.
• Rising v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 621 A.2d 1152 (Pa.Cmwlth. 1993)– Work as a truck driver at a significant reduction in pay was suitable work for a claimant,who had been a heavy equipment operator and who had been unemployed for two months.
• Eichman v.Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 490 A.2d 1389 (Pa.Cmwlth.1980) – After a year of unemployment, a job paying 55% less than the claimant’s previous earnings is “suitable.”
• Unemployment Compensation Board of Review v. Kozinsky,335 A.2d 843 (Pa.Cmwlth.1975) – A work offer representing a 63% decrease in wages was found suitable where the claimant had been unemployed for 10 months
So as you can see, being unemployed for a week and refusing a lower paying job would still allow to be eligible. But the longer you're unemployed, the broader the definition of "suitable work" becomes.
The closest case on point is the Donnelly one. If you were laid off in July, that's at least 3 months, maybe 4 (depending on when in July you were laid off), and your reduction is about 15%... Considering that the Unemployment Compensation Board has said that a refusal of a 22% reduction in pay was unreasonable after 3 1/2 months, they would probably say that a refusal of less than that would likewise be unreasonable.
Unfortunately, in short, if you refuse this work and they find out, you probably would not be eligible for ongoing benefits based upon the case law precedents above.
I know that this is probably not what you want to hear, but it is the law. I hope that it clears things up anyway. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate this answer either a 3, 4, or 5 (good or better). Please note that I do not get any credit for this answer unless and until you rate it that way. Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX good luck to you!
Ok In January A Position Will Be Open At The Union Location Due To Someone Retiring Pay Will Have Increased To $22.70 Per The Contract. Will This Make A Difference?
If you can show that you necessarily would get this job AND that taking the lower paying job would make you ineligible, it's possible to say that the refusal of work would not be unreasonable. But that would also require that you continue to look for a job in the meantime that would pay as much... I can't find a case specifically with those facts, so it's hard to say how the commission would rule on that matter.