1 A Guide to Your Rights & Responsibilities When Claiming Unemployment Benefits in Connecticut DISPONIBLE EN ESPAÑOL Llame a la Línea de TeleBenefits o visite Su officina local del Departamento de Trabajo You are responsible for understanding the information in this booklet. Please read this information carefully to learn procedures for filing claims, eligibility requirements for benefits and the appeals process. Job Search Assistance - Page 1 Visit our Web site
2 To the Unemployment Insurance Claimant Thank you for calling the Connecticut Department of Labor Unemployment Insurance TeleBenefits Line or filing for benefits on our Web site. We are sending you this booklet to provide you with information concerning your Unemployment Insurance claim. It is your responsibility to read this booklet carefully as it explains your benefit rights. This booklet will give you a better understanding of procedures for filing claims, for determining eligibility for benefits, and for filing appeals. We want to be as helpful as possible in seeing that every eligible person receives full benefits and is paid promptly. The automated initial claims process and weekly claims system will allow you to: file your claim from the privacy of your home telephone file your claim at your convenience save time by not having to travel to file in person save time by not having to stand or wait in lines You are invited to visit our CTWorks Career Centers for assistance in finding a job. In addition, you maybe contacted to report to a Career Center in order to review your eligibility for benefits. For more information on services available in Career Centers, see page 1 in this booklet, or you may access our Web site at: We have every expectation that you will find our automated filing system to be a convenient and efficient experience. The Unemployment Insurance TeleBenefits Line is separate from the Career Centers. Its purpose is to accept and complete new and reopened claims for benefits filed by telephone, process weekly telephone claims and answer any questions regarding unemployment benefits. UC-288 (Rev. 11/09)
3 TABLE OF CONTENTS CTWorks CAREER CENTERS UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE Basic Eligibility Requirements Who is Protected by Unemployment Insurance? Your Legal Right to File a Claim How to Apply for Unemployment Insurance Your Reason for Being Unemployed - Are Benefits Allowable? Availability for Work Reasonable Efforts to Find Work Enhanced Re-employment Services Reasons Your Weekly Benefits may be Reduced or Denied Self-Employment Educational Employment/Professional Athletes What If Your Eligibility for Benefits Is Questioned? Appeal Rights Overpayment Qualifying For a Second Benefit Year Benefits are Taxable Federal Earned Income Tax Credit Quality Control Combined Wage Claim - Work in More than One State Moving from Connecticut Ex-Federal Employees (UCFE) State and Municipal Employees Ex-Military (UCX) Trade Adjustment Assistance for Workers Non-U.S. Citizens Dislocated Workers GUIDE TO USING THE TELEBENEFITS LINE Filing Your Weekly Continued Claim Who May Use the TeleBenefits Line? When to Call How to Access the TeleBenefits Line If You Change Your Address If a Check is Lost/Stolen/Damaged When You Return to Full-Time Work What About Part-Time Work? Five Choices (Options) Available on the TeleBenefits Line OFFICES OF THE APPEALS DIVISION TELEBENEFITS TELEPHONE NUMBERS Back Cover
4 CONNECTICUT DEPARTMENT OF LABOR CT WORKS Career Center PHONE MAILING ADDRESS bridgeport (203) lafayette square 2 lafayette SQUARE BRIDGEPORT, ct danbury (203) LIBERTY st 4 LIBERTY ST DANBURY, ct danielson (860) westcott rd 95 westcott RD DANIELSON, ct enfield (860) enfield st 620 enfield ST ENFIELD, CT hamden (203) marne st 37 marne ST HAMDEN, ct hartford (860) main st 3580 main ST HARTFORD, ct meriden (203) West Main St 85 West Main ST MERIDEN, ct middletown (860) south main st 645 south main ST MIDDLETOWN, ct new britain (860) lafayette st 260 lafayette ST NEW britain, ct new london (860) SHAW s cove six shaw s cove SIX NEW london, ct norwich (860) NORTH building, suite Salem turnpike NORWICH, ct torrington (860) main st kmart plaza kmart plaza TORRINGTON, ct waterbury (203) thomaston ave 249 thomaston ave. WATERBURY, ct willimantic (860) main st 1320 main ST WILLIMANTIC, ct
5 Visit the Department of Labor at your local CTWorks Career Center CTWorks Career Centers At a Department of Labor office located at your local CTWorks Center, job seekers can learn to create a résumé, brush up on interview and networking skills, develop an education program to launch a new career, find solid job leads, and get the tools, information and support they need to conduct their own job search or make a career change. With offices statewide, we bring job seekers together with potential employers through easy access to a wide variety of job and career information services. We register individuals for employment by gathering important information about skills, education, background and employment history. Counseling, testing or job training may be appropriate before referral to jobs. We also have representatives who assist military veterans, persons with disabilities, youth, older workers and others with special needs. The Federal Bonding program may be able to assist ex-offenders and individuals with other problems who may have difficulty in finding a job because employers will not or cannot hire without some assurance or protection against possible loss. The CTWorks Career Centers feature these services: Self Service and Career Resource Areas Job Listings Newspapers Phones, fax, copier Computers Internet access, word processing Resource information, books, videos Information on education and skills training Information and referral to other support services Information on employment, wage and economic trends 1.
6 Workshops Include: Job Search Skills Networking Résumé Writing Skills Identification Internet Job Search Career Exploration Interviewing Techniques Overcoming Age Barriers Schedules and registration for workshops are available on our Web site at or contact the center nearest you. Department of Labor Web Site Our Web site, offers a wealth of information and services to assist in the job search. Some of the highlights include Connecticut s CT JobCentral, Job & Career ConneCTion and Labor Market Information. CT JobCentral CT JobCentral is a state labor exchange in alliance with JobCentral national labor exchange powered by Direct Employer. This self-service job bank provides a wide range of employment services, which includes job listing distribution to and from state employment websites as well as participation in the national labor exchange with other states. Job seekers can search jobs representing all types of work, from professional and technical to blue collar. There is also an electronic résumé service for job seekers and employers. Job seekers enter their résumés online and employers search the résumés for qualified candidates. Features include: Career and job search information Hot links to other job-related Web sites Standardized résumé format Security and confidentiality of information Links to other local services and information Job Search Agents - automatically notifies you by whenever a job that matches your skills is listed on CT JobCentral 2.
7 Job & Career ConneCTion Provides the most comprehensive source of local information on jobs and careers in Connecticut. Features include: Local wages, number of job openings and projected growth rate of occupations Descriptions of over 800 occupations including education, training and licensing requirements Detailed information on over 140,000 Connecticut employers, including maps to their locations Search for local services: child care, transportation, health care and housing Connecticut education, training and financial aid information Visit for more information on: Workshops Recruitments in our centers Labor Market Information Job and Career Fairs Connecticut Labor Market AT-A-Glance Employment services Tips on Finding Jobs Résumé Writing Interviewing Techniques Dislocated Worker Services Veterans programs Youth Employment Site Links to state and federal job announcements Wage and Workplace Standards Apprenticeship Unemployment Insurance Benefits Public computers are available at our centers and libraries statewide. Our goal is to assist you in obtaining employment as soon as possible. U.S. Military Veterans are provided priority in all of the US DOL funded employment and training programs, which are available through the CT Works Career Centers. Additionally, Veterans Specialists are available in the Bridgeport, Hamden, Hartford, New Britain, New London and Waterbury offices to provide one-on-one services to disabled, combat, recently separated and other veterans who would benefit from intensive services. For more information go to or call one of the CT Works Centers listed below. Office for Veteran s Workforce Development Locations: Bridgeport 2 Lafayette Sq New Britain 260 Lafayette St Hamden 37 Marne St New London Shaw s Cove Six Hartford 3580 Main St Waterbury 249 Thomaston Ave
8 UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE What is it? Unemployment Insurance is temporary income for workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own and who are either looking for new jobs, in approved training, or awaiting recall to employment. The funding for unemployment insurance benefits comes from taxes paid by employers. Workers do not pay any of the costs. To qualify for unemployment benefits, you must have earned sufficient wages during a specified time (monetary eligibility). To collect those benefits, you must meet certain legal eligibility requirements. BASIC ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS To qualify for benefits, BASIC ELIGIBILITY you must: REQUIREMENTS Be fully or partially unemployed. Be unemployed through no fault of your own; the law imposes disqualifications for certain types of separations from employment Be physically and mentally able to work and available for work as defined by law. Be registered with the Career Center. Be actively seeking work by making reasonable efforts to find employment each week (or be excused from this requirement because of your participation in approved training). Participate in selected reemployment services IF you are identified as a dislocated worker bythe enhanced reemployment services system. File your weekly claims as directed. These requirements are fully explained within this booklet and on our Web site: All statutes and regulations governing eligibility are available for inspection at your local Career Center. WHO IS PROTECTED BY UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE? Most workers are covered by the Unemployment Insurance system. However, there are some major categories of employment that are not: Types of Employment Not Covered Among the major categories of employment not covered by the law are: 4.
9 Newspaper carriers under age 18 who deliver to customers. Insurance agents (other than industrial life insurance agents). Real estate persons paid only by commission. Sole proprietors and partners. Children under 21 employed by a parent and anyone employed by his or her spouse. Certain religious or church related employment. Work in Connecticut covered under the unemployment compensation law of another state. Railroad workers (railroads are self-insured). Outside sales representatives of a for-profit travel agency. YOUR LEGAL RIGHT TO FILE A CLAIM Protection of Individual Rights Under the Unemployment Compensation Act You have a legal right to file a claim for unemployment benefits or to testify on behalf of a co-worker or anyone else filing a claim for benefits. It is illegal for an employer to discharge, discipline, penalize or discriminate against you because you filed a claim for benefits, testified in an Unemployment Compensation hearing or exercised any right afforded by the Unemployment Compensation Act. Any person who believes he or she has been discharged, disciplined, penalized or discriminated against in retaliation for exercising rights under the Unemployment Compensation Act may file a written complaint to the Labor Commissioner, who is authorized to conduct hearings and award appropriate relief if the complaint is valid. All complaints should be mailed to the following address: Connecticut Department of Labor 200 Folly Brook Boulevard Wethersfield, Connecticut Attn: Office of Program Policy HOW TO APPLY FOR UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE Starting a Basic New Claim To apply for Unemployment Insurance, you must complete an initial (or new) claim by telephone or over the Internet. A claim should be filed with the Connecticut Department of Labor (CTDOL) TeleBenefits Line as soon as you are separated from employment. The TeleBenefits telephone numbers are listed on the back cover of this booklet. The web site for filing over the Internet is A claim for benefits is effective (begins) with the Sunday of the week in which you call in your claim. 5.
10 Information about you, your dependents and your work history is recorded and used by the CTDOL to establish your claim. It is very important that the information provided is accurate. All correspondence, including benefit checks, is mailed to the address that you provide. There are penalties for making false statements to obtain benefits. The information you provide is subject to verification. Your benefit amounts are based on your earnings in covered employment in a base period which consists of the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters prior to the date of your claim. Commencing with benefit years effective on or after January 5, 2003, individuals who cannot establish monetary eligibility using wages in the previously described base period will use an alternate base period. The alternate base period consists of the four calendar quarters immediately preceding the quarter in which the claim is filed. Your WEEKLY BENEFIT RATE is 1/26 of the average of the two highest quarters during the base period, but cannot exceed the maximum benefit rate established by law. For construction workers, the weekly benefit rate is 1/26 of the highest quarter in the base period. In either case, your total base period earnings must equal at least 40 times your weekly benefit rate in order to qualify for benefits. A dependency allowance for an eligible dependent is $15.00 each week. Total dependency allowances cannot be paid for more than five dependents ($75), and may never exceed your weekly benefit rate. Besides having sufficient wages in your base period to establish a weekly benefit rate, another key element in determining your eligibility for benefits is your reason for being unemployed. All employers are legally required to provide a form UC-61 Unemployment Notice, commonly known as a pink slip and an attached packet Application for Unemployment Benefits, whenever a worker becomes unemployed for any reason. The pink slip contains the employer s stated reason for your unemployment (for example, laid off for lack of work, voluntarily left, discharged). The application packet contains information about how to file a new claim by telephone, the questions you will be asked and any special information you should have available when you call. The application packet (English and Spanish) is available to download from the Web site. Do not delay filing your claim if your employer has not or will not issue you such a notice. YOU SHOULD CALL TO FILE YOUR CLAIM IMMEDIATELY. Benefits will not be paid retroactively for weeks preceding the filing of your claim unless it is established through a hearing process that good cause for late filing exists. The information provided to the Connecticut Department of Labor for the purpose of establishing a claim for Unemployment Compensation Benefits, including your Social Security Number, may be subject to verification 6.
11 through computer matching programs, according to agreements with other Federal, State, or Local government agencies. Filing Your Weekly Continued Claim For information on filing weekly claims for benefits, by telephone or over the Internet, please see page 30. YOUR REASON FOR BEING UNEMPLOYED - ARE BENEFITS ALLOWABLE? If your employer has indicated on your unemployment notice that you were laid off for lack of work or your job was eliminated due to a work force reduction, you will normally be determined eligible for benefits without the need for a hearing of any type. However, if your employer has indicated on the notice that you quit or were discharged for misconduct or some other reason, a hearing will normally be scheduled with an adjudications specialist at the Career Center nearest you within ten to fourteen days from the date you first file. Your employer will be mailed a notice of this hearing and will be asked to provide a statement in person, by telephone, or in writing regarding your job separation. At the hearing, you will be asked questions about the circumstances under which you became unemployed. You should answer these questions directly and honestly. The hearing is informal. You have the right to present any evidence, documents or witnesses you wish, as does your employer. You may furnish a written statement if you desire. You will be given a questionnaire to guide you regarding the types of questions likely to be asked. You have the right to be represented by anyone you choose. If you discover during the hearing that you need additional evidence, documents or witnesses to present your case fully, you may request that the hearing be continued and rescheduled for a later date to be determined by the adjudications specialist. Following the hearing, the adjudicator will make a decision as to whether your reason for becoming unemployed is or is not disqualifying under Connecticut Compensation Law. If you are disqualified, you will receive a letter explaining the legal reason for the disqualification, usually within a few days. You may appeal this decision to an Employment Security Appeals Referee. (See Appeal Rights Page 20) If you are found eligible, you will be mailed a check for each week you have claimed to date. Your former employer may appeal a decision awarding you benefits. In general, the Connecticut Unemployment Compensation Act is intended to provide benefits to workers who are out of work through no fault of their 7.
12 own. When a worker quits a job, benefits may be awarded only when the worker has shown good cause attributable to the employer for quitting. When a worker is fired, benefits will be awarded unless the conduct that caused the discharge is disqualifying under the law. Any separations from employment must be reported including any separations from part-time work that occur while filing for benefits. If You Quit Your Job The general rule is that a person who voluntarily leaves suitable work without good cause attributable to the employer is not eligible for benefits until he or she has returned to work and earned ten times his or her weekly benefit rate. For good cause to be attributable to the employer, it must somehow relate to the wages, hours or working conditions of the job you voluntarily left. A change in conditions created by your employer or a breach of your employment agreement which is substantial and adversely affects you might be good cause for leaving attributable to the employer. In addition, good cause attributable to the employer may exist if the job itself adversely affects your health or aggravates or worsens a medical condition. Regardless of the cause for leaving, in most cases, good cause attributable to the employer may only be found if you took reasonable steps to inform your employer of your dissatisfaction and sought to remedy the problem before you left. Since you are the one who quit the job, it is your burden to prove that there was good cause for leaving. Reasons that are not considered good cause attributable to the employer, that will result in disqualification from benefits under current law include: quitting for a better job and quitting to relocate with your family. There are, however, nine reasons that are not specifically connected with the work, but the law says are proper reasons for approving a quit. Benefits may be awarded if you are otherwise eligible. These are: 1. if you have left work to care for a spouse, child or parent with an illness or disability; 2. if you have left work because your means of transportation to and from work (other than your personally owned vehicle) has been discontinued, provided no reasonable alternative transportation is available; 3. if you accepted other employment while on a layoff from your regular work and then left that other employment when you were recalled to your former job; 8.
13 4. if you left work that was outside your regular apprentice able trade to return to work in your regular apprentice able trade; 5. if you left work solely because of governmental regulation or statute; 6. if you left part time work to accept full time work. 7. if you left work to protect yourself or a child, spouse or parent from becoming or remaining a victim of domestic violence, provided you made reasonable efforts to preserve your employment. 8. if you left your job to accompany a spouse who is required to relocate while on active duty with the United States Armed forces. 9. If you left your job on or after April 15, 2009 to accompany a spouse to a place from which it is impractical to commute due to a change in location of your spouse s employment If You Quit Part-time Work The law provides for a limited disqualification when an individual voluntarily quits a part time job. When a disqualifying voluntary leaving of part time work precedes a non disqualifying separation from full time work, the wages earned from that part time employer must be removed from the Base Period and cannot be used in determining Monetary Eligibility. In such cases, Monetary Eligibility will be determined based on any wages that remain in the Base Period. The removal of the part time wages may result in no change to the Weekly Benefit Rate, a lowered rate or the elimination of the rate. Whenever such a disqualification is imposed, you will be notified by letter and a new Monetary Determination will be issued to you showing which wage credits were used and the Weekly Benefit Rate that resulted. In addition, if you quit a part time job without sufficient cause after a compensable (approvable) separation from full time employment, you may still be eligible for benefits, but the amount will be reduced by two thirds of the gross wages you were being paid on that part time job. If You Were Discharged If you have been fired or suspended, you may be disqualified from benefits until you have earned ten times your weekly benefit rate and are otherwise eligible if your employer proves that the reason he fired or suspended you was one of the following: 1. Wilful misconduct in the course of your employment. The term wilful misconduct means deliberate misconduct in wilful disregard of the employer s interest, or a single knowing violation of a reasonable 9.
14 and uniformly enforced rule or policy of the employer, when reasonably applied, provided such violation is not a result of the employee s incompetence. In the case of absence from work, wilful misconduct means an employee must be absent without notice or good cause for three separate instances within an 12-month period. 2. Conduct which is a felony under Connecticut law or federal law and occurred in the course of your employment. 3. Conduct which constitutes larceny of property or service whose value exceeds 25 dollars in the course of your employment. Also conduct which constitutes larceny of cash regardless of the amount of such currency. 4. Participation in a strike which is illegal under federal or state law or applied, provided such violation is not a result of the employee s incompetence. In the case of absence from work, wilful misconduct means an employee must be absent without notice or good cause for three separate instances within an 12-month period. 5. You were sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 30 days or longer and had begun serving that sentence. 6. You were discharged or suspended because you were disqualified under state or federal law from performing the work for which you were hired as a result of a drug or alcohol testing program mandated by and conducted in accordance with such law. If You Retired A worker who voluntarily retires from a job is ineligible for benefits until he or she has again been paid wages equaling 40 times his/her weekly benefit rate and is otherwise eligible. Generally, retirement is defined as an individual s withdrawal from the labor market. The fact that a person receives a pension upon termination of his employment does not always mean that he/she has retired. To determine if a person has retired, we must assess the person s intent at the time he/she left the job. However, if the reason for the retirement is because the job has become unsuitable in light of the worker s physical condition and the degree of risk to health and safety, the worker may still be eligible for benefits, provided he/she requested other work from the employer which was suitable and the employer did not offer him/her such work. A worker whose retirement was not voluntary is normally eligible for benefits, provided he or she is able and available for work as defined by law. In addition, in certain instances, a worker s retirement will be treated as involuntary if the retirement was induced by the employer in an effort to close a facility or eliminate the worker s position, or if the worker reasonably believed the employment would be severed if he/she rejected the employer s inducement to retire. The portion of your pension benefit that relates to your employer s contribution is deducted from your weekly benefit rate. 10.
15 If You Are Involved in a Labor Dispute You will be ineligible for benefits during any week in which your unemployment is due to the existence of a labor dispute other than a lockout at the factory, premises or other establishment at which you have been employed. You may be found eligible for benefits even if your un employment is the result of a labor dispute if you can show either: 1. You are not participating in, financing or directly interested in the labor dispute which caused your unemployment and you do not belong to the trade, class or organization whose members worked on the premises immediately before the labor dispute began and are participating in, financing or directly interested in the dispute, or 2. Your unemployment is due to a lockout. A lockout exists when an employer: (a) fails to provide employment to workers with whom it is engaged in a labor dispute either by physically closing the plant or informing the workers there will be no work until the labor dispute has terminated; or (b) announces that work will be available after a contract has expired only under terms and conditions less favorable than the last terms and conditions of employment. In each of the above situations, for a lockout to exist, the workers union or representative has to inform the employer that the workers involved in the dispute are willing to work under those last terms and conditions pending negotiation of a new contract. Leave of Absence If you are on a leave of absence from your employment, a hearing will be held to determine whether you are able and available for full time work. If the reason for your leave is medical you are physically unable to perform your normal job and your employer has no other suitable work for you you may be eligible for benefits if you are physically capable of performing some other type of work and are looking for work in that field. If your leave of absence is for a definite time period, you must, at a minimum be available for temporary employment. Depending on your circumstances, we may advise you regarding any more specific work search obligations. If your leave of absence was essentially voluntary in nature and your regular job or some other suitable work is available to you, and you are capable of performing it, then the adjudications specialist will probably find that you are not eligible for benefits since you are not available for suitable work in this case, your regular job. 11.
16 Educational Employees Employees of public and nonprofit educational institutions may not be paid benefits based on services performed for such institutions between academic years or terms and during vacation and holiday recesses if they have a contract or reasonable assurance of returning to work in the same or similar capacity when classes resume. If you are an employee of an educational institution who is filing for benefits between academic years or terms or during a recess, you should identify yourself as an educational employee when you first file, so that you can be provided with more detailed information regarding this provision of the law and how it applies to you. (See EDUCATIONAL EMPLOYMENT/ PROFESSIONAL ATHLETES Page 18) If You Are a Professional Athlete If substantially all of the services you performed in your base period consist of participation in sports or athletic events or training or preparation for such participation, you will not be paid benefits between sports seasons if you have a reasonable assurance of performing the same type of services in the ensuing sports season. (See EDUCATIONAL EMPLOYMENT/ PROFESSIONAL ATHLETES Page 18) AVAILABILITY FOR WORK You must be physically and mentally able to work during each week for which you claim benefits. You must be available for work during each week for which you are claiming benefits. This means you must be ready, willing and able to accept any suitable work. If you place unreasonable restrictions on the type of work you are willing to accept or how far you are willing to travel to a job to such an extent that you are no longer genuinely exposed to your normal labor market, you may be denied benefits on the grounds that you are not available for work within the meaning of the law. For example, if your entire work experience is as a skilled carpenter, you are still physically capable of working as a carpenter, you have no other marketable skills and carpentry jobs exist in your area, then your unwillingness to accept any employment as a carpenter would probably result in a determination that you are not available for work because you have seriously reduced your prospects for finding suitable work. Generally, an individual must be available for and seeking full-time work. Under certain conditions, a person who has a disability may be able to limit his or her availability for work to part time only. A claimant can qualify for unemployment compensation by: (1) providing documentation from a licensed physician which establishes that (a) he or she has a physical or mental impairment that is chronic or expected to be long-term or permanent, and (b) the impairment leaves him or her unable to work full-time, and (2) demonstrating that the impairment does not effectively remove him or her from the labor force. 12.
17 If you have a reasonably certain date of recall by your former employer or a definite starting date with a new employer, you must be available for suitable temporary work during the time before you are scheduled to return to work in order to comply with the law regarding availability. During the weeks immediately after you first become unemployed, you may limit your work search to employment that is equivalent to your highest previous wage and skill level. However, after a reasonable period, if you have not found new employment, you will be expected to broaden your availability to other types of work and to jobs which may pay less than your highest previous wage. You may be interviewed periodically by Career Center staff, who will advise you regarding what you must do to insure that you comply with the legal requirement of availability for work. Registration for Employment Services At the time you file a new claim, you will also be registered for employment services to help you return to work as soon as possible. You must maintain an active employment registration as long as you continue to file weekly claims for unemployment compensation. Visit your Career Center for job seeking assistance. (See page 1 CTWorks Center.) Unless you have a definite date to return to work with your former employer in the immediate future, your registration will result in consideration for referrals to appropriate employment-related services, as well as direct referrals to employers for job openings. You may be notified of employment opportunities either by telephone or by a notice sent in the mail. In either case, you must respond and follow through immediately. Failure to report immediately to the Career Center if sent a call-in notice or to an employer if given a job referral could result in your being disqualified from benefits until such time as you have returned to work and earned six times your benefit rate. Refusal of Suitable Work In determining whether you had sufficient cause for refusing a job or a referral to a job, the Career Center will consider whether the job you were offered or referred to was suitable for you. Factors to be taken into account are whether the job is in your usual occupation or if it is work for which you are reasonably fitted, whether the job is within a reasonable distance of your home, your prior training, experience and skills, your previous wage level and how long you have been unemployed, and whether the job poses any unreasonable risks to your health or safety. In addition, CTDOL staff will also consider whether the wages, hours and working conditions of the work offered or referred to are substantially less favorable than those prevailing for similar work in the same area. 13.
18 In some cases, an offer of temporary work may be an offer of suitable employment when the factors which determine suitability are considered. A temporary employee of a temporary help service who refuses to accept suitable employment when it is offered by such service upon completion of an assignment may be disqualified. It is important that you respond to a call in notice from the Career Center to learn about the job. If you are uncertain about whether the job described is suitable for you, then you should accept the referral and report to the employer to learn more about it. Remember, if the job is found to be suitable under the law, you may be disqualified from benefits for either failing to accept the job offer itself or for failure to apply for the job when referred by the CTDOL staff. In addition, whenever it is reported to the CTDOL that you have refused any offer of employment, a hearing must be conducted to establish whether or not you refused the job and whether the work offered was suitable under the guidelines which have been described. Benefits may be delayed for up to five working days pending a final decision. If it is determined that you refused suitable work, you will be disqualified from benefits effective with the week you refused the job. (See WHAT IF ELIGIBILITY FOR BENEFITS IS QUESTIONED? Page 19 and REGISTRATION FOR EMPLOYMENT SERVICES Page 13) Attendance at a School, College or University If you are separated from employment, become eligible for benefits and then decide to begin attending a school, college or university as a regularly enrolled student, you may continue to collect benefits, provided you are available for and seeking full time work which does not conflict with classes. (If you quit your job in order to attend school, on the other hand, you will be disqualified from receiving benefits). If you were a full time student anytime during the two years prior to your separation from employment, you must also have been a full time employee during that same two year period in order to receive this consideration. Otherwise, you must be willing and able to change classes or drop out of school if you find a job which conflicts with your classes. Eligibility for Benefits While Enrolled in an Approved Training Course If, after you have been determined eligible for benefits, you enroll in a job training course, you may be exempted from the requirements of being available for work, making efforts to find work and having to accept referrals to and offers of work, provided the CTDOL determines that: 1. The training will help you develop the skills or abilities needed to find a 14.
19 job, and there are or will be future employment opportunities for that type of work in the area in which you intend to seek work; 2. Reasonable employment opportunities do not exist or have substantially diminished in your labor market for that type of work you are best fitted to perform at your highest skill level; and 3. The training facility or sponsor has determined that you are qualified to complete the training course. Any training under the Workforce Investment Act falls within these guidelines as approved training. If you are about to enroll in any training course, you should call the TeleBenefits Line immediately so it can be determined if you can collect the benefits available to you while in training. Unemployment Insurance is not extended because you are in training except through Trade Act approval. Even if you are paying for the training yourself, it may be considered approved training by the CTDOL. Pregnancy And New Mothers In order to be eligible for unemployment benefits, each claimant must be physically able to work, looking for work and available for work at the hours that are usual for the claimant s occupation. These rules hold for pregnant women as well as new mothers. Your benefits cannot be denied solely because of pregnancy or being a mother, provided you are otherwise eligible. You will not be required to undergo an informal hearing simply because of pregnancy. You may not be asked if you are pregnant unless it is physically obvious. At that point, you may be required to provide a medical certificate indicating the expected date of delivery and the last day on which you will be able to work. After giving birth, you may qualify for benefits as soon as you are physically able to work, looking for work and otherwise eligible, and file a claim. If you file within four weeks of childbirth, your eligibility for benefits will be evaluated at a hearing. You may not be asked about breast-feeding. As with all claimants, you will be asked to name the person who will provide child care while you work. Once that question is answered, you may not be asked anything further about child care arrangements. If your employment was terminated because of pregnancy, you may be eligible for benefits provided you are physically able to work, looking for a job and meet all other requirements. If you left work or are on a leave of 15.
20 absence because of pregnancy but are able to do another type of work and are otherwise eligible, you may collect benefits while pregnant. It is emphasized, however, that you must be otherwise eligible. You will not be required to accept unsuitable work nor be denied job referrals to potential employment solely because of pregnancy. REASONABLE EFFORTS TO FIND WORK The Unemployment Compensation law says that an unemployed worker must make reasonable efforts to find employment each week. This means that you should look for and apply for jobs that you are qualified to do. You should apply for suitable employment by whatever means is most likely to bring your skills to the attention of a prospective employer and increase your chances of getting hired. Usually, the best method of job search is to apply in person. However, for certain types of employment, application by résumé is customary and may be more appropriate. Generally, in person contacts should be made whenever they increase the possibility of your being hired. As a general rule, telephoning prospective employers (as opposed to in person contacts) is not a reasonable method of searching for work unless the employer specifically encourages telephone contact. While the law does not specify what number of efforts to find work you must make each week, courts have generally said that an unemployed person who makes at least three employer contacts in a week has made reasonable efforts to obtain work during that week. Of course, it is necessary that those efforts be directed toward work which you are qualified to do and that you apply through the means best suited to securing the job you are seeking. In general, repeat contacts are not considered to be reasonable unless there is a definite reason to believe returning to the same employer would create favorable prospects for securing employment. There may be some instances in which one or two employer contacts in a given week would be considered reasonable efforts; for example, if you accept an offer of employment to start the following week after making only one contact. Although you will not necessarily be questioned about your efforts every week, the Career Center will check your efforts periodically and has the right to question and verify your employer contacts in any week. Therefore, you should keep a list of those employers with whom you have applied, the type of work you sought, the date of the contact, the employer s response and the name or title of the person you contacted. If you travel out of state to look for work during a one or two week period for which you wish to claim benefits, keep a detailed list of job search contacts. Upon your return to the area, contact the TeleBenefits Line to schedule a review of your availability for work, specifically your job search activities while you were out of state. 16.