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Employment Development Department
Employment Development Department

Suitable Work SW 500

Wages and Time

This Section discusses the suitability of potential employment on the basis of the wage or the time factors of the offered work. For a complete discussion of what constitutes suitable employment, refer to SW 5.

A. Wages

  1. General

    Calif. Unemp. Ins. Code, Section 1259 (b), provides that no work or employment shall be deemed suitable and benefits shall not be denied to any otherwise eligible individual for refusing 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.

    No claimant may be disqualified for refusing work that is considered unsuitable under Section 1259. Therefore, if the claimant refuses new work that pays substantially less than the prevailing wage for that occupation in that locality, no further determination is necessary. Any job that pays more than ten-percent below the bottom of the prevailing range is substantially less than prevailing.

    While work that pays within prevailing may be suitable under Section 1259, it may not be suitable for the particular claimant. Section 1258 provides that the claimant’s prior training, experience, and earnings shall also be taken into consideration when determining the suitability of offered employment.

    Before it can be determined if the job pays the prevailing wage, or if the wage is suitable for the claimant, wages must first be defined. Calif. Unemp. Ins. Code, Section 926 provides a definition:

    . . . "(W)ages" means all remuneration payable for personal services whether by private agreement or consent or by force of statute, including commissions and bonuses, and the reasonable cash value of all remuneration payable in any medium other than cash. "

    In determining whether work is suitable, or if the claimant had good cause for refusal on the basis of the wage offered, all types of wages must be taken into consideration. The Code specifically includes tips as wages, and excludes business expenses. When there is a question as to whether a type of payment is or is not wages, refer to TPU 460.

    Fringe benefits that are actually paid at a predetermined rate and on an established schedule, such as uniform allowance, health or life insurance, or car allowance, are considered a part of total remuneration. More speculative benefits such as pension plans, sick leave, and bonuses (unless paid regularly in a specific amount) are paid or received on a future contingency basis and are not part of the total remuneration.

    Overtime, like fringe benefits, will be a part of the offered wage only if it is in a guaranteed amount. A statement that a business frequently works overtime, is not a guarantee. However, a statement that a business works a minimum 50 hour week, is a guarantee of overtime.

    Shift Differential is often paid for swing or night shift work. The shift differential is a part of the offered wage; it is not considered a fringe benefit or bonus.

  2. Prevailing Wage

    The concept of "prevailing wage" is exceedingly important because in accordance with Section 1259, work is unsuitable, "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."

    Therefore, when the issue involved is the wage offered, the determination must first be made as to what is the prevailing wage for that occupation, and then, is the offered wage substantially less than prevailing.

    The prevailing wage is the wage received by the majority of the workers in an occupation in an area. In highly specialized or unionized occupations, or when there are very large numbers of specific occupational positions where all of the variables are exactly alike, the prevailing wage for a job may be a single amount., However, there are generally so many variables within a given occupation that a prevailing rate can range from a low to a high figure.

    If it is determined that the offered wage is substantially less than prevailing, the work may immediately be determined unsuitable under Section 1259 and no further investigation is needed. For example, in Precedent Benefit Decision 204, the claimant had refused an offer of work paying more than 10 percent less than the bottom of the prevailing range. The Board stated in part:

    ". . . It is clear from the evidence before us that such wage was substantially less favorable than the prevailing scale for work within the claimant’s qualifications and experience in Long Beach.

    Since . . . employment offered to a claimant under such circumstances must be deemed unsuitable, it follows that the claimant in this case may not be subject to disqualification for her failure to apply for employment . . . ."

    The prevailing wage for any occupation can be obtained from labor market surveys conducted by a designated Department representative, the Occupational Analyst, the Occupational Wage Guide, the Chamber of Commerce, Bureau of Labor Statistics, City-County Survey, or any combination of these.

    However, in comparing the rate of the job being considered and the job on a survey, it must first be determined that the duties are comparable. Few jobs are exactly alike, which is why Section 1259 refers to "similar work." Consequently, a decision cannot be based entirely on job titles but must compare duties, degree of skill and experience, etc. This is particularly true where the range within the prevailing wage is wide.

    Generally, a claimant who has been unemployed for a short time, will have good cause to refuse an offer of work paying near the bottom of the prevailing range, if the individual has been earning a wage nearer the top. As the period of unemployment lengthens, however, the claimant is usually expected to adjust his or her wage demand toward the lower bracket.

    Occasionally, a claimant demands a wage in excess of the prevailing wage. If the individual’s earnings have been considerably above prevailing for some time, and his or her prospects of obtaining such a wage are good, the claimant may have good cause to refuse a lesser wage.

  3. Comparison with Prior Earnings

    An important factor to be considered when determining good cause for refusal is the comparison of the offered wage and the claimant’s prior earnings.

    In P-B-320, the claimant had twelve years’ experience as a bookkeeper and office manager. After the claimant’s employment ended, she registered for work as a bookkeeper and filed a claim for benefits. The claimant was referred to employment as a bookkeeper. She accepted the referral and was interviewed by the employer, but did not accept the position because she believed the wage was too low. The wage of the prospective employment was at the low end of the prevailing range for bookkeepers in the labor market area, however, the offered employment paid 40% less than the claimant’s prior rate of pay. In its decision, the Board held the claimant had good cause for refusing the offered work and stated:

    ". . . (I)n view of the claimant’s prior earnings and experience, we consider that the claimant is qualified for employment which pays a wage in excess of the minimum scale for bookkeepers. Therefore, we conclude that the claimant refused an offer of unsuitable employment . . . and that benefits may not be denied on this ground."

    There is no set figure or percentage that specifies when a wage compares favorably with the claimant’s prior earnings. The only guideline is a general statement that it is not the purpose of the Unemployment Insurance Code to depress wages. However, a rule of thumb would be that the offered wage must be at least equal to the average of claimant’s past two or three years earnings, in order to compare favorably with his or her "prior earnings."

    A claimant’s "prior earnings" consists of all income obtained by the claimant from his employment activity which has been obtained over a significant period of time, in a comparable labor market to that in which the claimant is currently offering his or her services.

    All income includes gross wages from employment, or net earnings from self-employment. Additionally, when considering a claimant’s prior earnings, there is more to be considered than just the wage the claimant received for his or her work. If the claimant is offered work that will substantially increase the individual’s costs of working without a comparable increase in pay, the overall income is reduced and the claimant may have good cause for refusal.

    One of the more obvious ways that the claimant’s total income can be reduced, although the job pays a comparable wage, is by increasing the number of working hours without a corresponding increase in pay. If a claimant earned a specified salary for working 40 hours per week, the individual would have good cause for refusing to work 60 hours per week for the same wage.

    Substantial increases in transportation expenses, child care expenses, or any other cost of employment that reduces a claimant’s income may also give the claimant good cause for refusal.

  4. Comparable Labor Market

    A claimant’s prior earnings may not adequately reflect his or her current earning capacity because of a change in the labor market. This may come about because of general economic changes in the labor market in which the claimant has been working, or because the claimant is offering his or her services in a different labor market, or offering different services.

    Changes in the Labor Market

    When the claimant’s prior earnings have been obtained in an abnormal labor market, they may not significantly reflect the individual’s current earning capacity. If the prior earnings were obtained in a labor market where wages were depressed, his or her prior earnings would need to be adjusted upward to reflect the individual’s current earning capacity and, conversely, if they had been earned in a tight labor market which no longer existed, the prior earnings would tend to exaggerate the current earning capacity. Changes in economic conditions may be due to national, local, or seasonal conditions.

    High seasonal earnings do not reflect a seasonal worker’s earning capacity out of season. During the off season, a seasonal worker can experience a change in his or her labor market. If there is no work in the claimant’s usual occupation during the off season, the individual may be offered work in an occupation in which he or she has prior experience, or in which no experience is necessary.

    If the claimant is offered work in an occupation in which he or she worked sometime in the past, the wage offered must be the prevailing wage for that occupation, or the work is not suitable. If the individual is offered work in an occupation in which he or she is qualified by training, or the job requires no experience or training, the work is suitable and the claimant will have no good cause for refusal if the pay is within prevailing for the occupation and is commensurate with the claimant’s prior earnings.

    Different Labor Market

    Where the claimant has moved to a different labor market area, his or her prior earnings in the old labor market area are no longer a factor in determining good cause for refusal of work. The claimant may demand only the prevailing wage for his or her experience and skill level in the labor market area in which his or her services are being offered.

    Offering Different Services

    If the claimant is forced to offer his or her services in a different occupation because of compelling circumstances, such as health, the claimant’s prior earnings do not properly reflect the individual’s current earning capacity. Thus, the claimant would not have good cause to refuse work solely because the wages of the prospective work were lower than his or her prior earnings.

  5. Trainee or Beginning Wage

    Trainee

    To be considered "trainee," the job offered must be a job as a trainee in a formal training program where the duties of the trainee differ from those of the experienced or journey level worker; and where the training program will promote the trainee to the experienced or journey level in a specified period of time. The trainee program must provide for salary step increases either at specific levels of achievement or specific periods of time.

    No job is suitable for a trainee that pays below the minimum legal wage.

    No trainee job is suitable if it pays a wage more than 10% below the prevailing trainee wage for the occupation.

    No job is suitable for a trainee if the individual is entering a formal apprenticeship program and the job pays less than the apprentice wage for that occupation, or less than the legal limit of 50% of the journeyman wage. Rarely will a claimant have good cause to refuse an offer of work as an apprentice on the basis of wages since this is controlled by the State agency involved with the apprenticeship program.

    Comparison of available data on trainee wages allows certain guidelines to be established. These are merely guidelines, and can be overcome by a survey of trainee wages in the area. However, in the absence of an area survey, these guidelines should be followed:

    • A one-year training program must have a starting wage no less than 80% of that of the prevailing wage for journeymen of that occupation.
    • A two-year training program must have a starting wage no less than 70% of that of the prevailing wage for journeymen.
    • A three-year training program must have a starting wage no less than 50% of the journeyman wage.

    If the work is suitable, and suitable for the claimant, the individual may still have good cause to refuse it if the claimant has some experience in the occupation, and the employer is offering only the beginning trainee wage. For example, the claimant has six moths’ experience in the occupation. The employer’s training program calls for salary increases with each three months’ experience. Unless the employer offers a wage at the third step of the training program, the claimant will have good cause to refuse the job offer.

    Beginning Wage

    Is the job suitable? A job that pays less than minimum wage, or more than 10% below the prevailing wage for that occupation, is not considered suitable.

    Is the job suitable for the claimant? Work in the claimant’s usual occupation paying a beginning wage is not suitable for the claimant, if the claimant has experience and his or her prior earnings were 10% more than the beginning wage of the offered employment.

    Once it is established that the work is suitable, and suitable for the claimant, it must be determined if the individual had good cause to refuse it. The claimant may have good cause to refuse suitable work in his or her usual occupation that does not pay wages commensurate with his or her prior earnings in the same occupation.

    If the offered work paying beginning wages offers advances in salary to the level for experienced workers within a definite and reasonable period of time, the claimant will not have good cause to refuse the work on that basis alone. If there is no specific time period within which the claimant will be paid the journeyman rate, the claimant may have good cause to refuse the job. Much will depend also on the claimant’s prospects of finding work in his or her usual occupation and length of unemployment.

  6. Piece-Rate or Commission

    The method of payment is not what renders work suitable or unsuitable. If the amount of compensation received by the worker by piece-rate or commission is the prevailing rate, the work is suitable. If it is substantially less than prevailing, the work is not suitable.

    Good cause may be established for refusing suitable employment that pays solely piece rate or commission if this is not the customary method of payment for the occupation and the prospects are poor that the claimant will be able to earn a wage comparable to his or her prior earnings. Even if the job has a guaranteed minimum, the claimant’s overall earning potential must compare favorably with his or her prior earnings.

    For example, the claimant is offered work as a typist at a certain wage per page. This method of payment is not customary in the occupation. The work is not suitable because the claimant has no expectation of earning the prevailing rate for a typist. On the other hand, if the claimant was offered employment on the same terms but with a guaranteed wage that is within the prevailing wage range, the work is suitable because the claimant could earn a wage above prevailing and would not earn below prevailing because of the guaranteed minimum.

    It is necessary to determine what the claimant could reasonably be expected to earn on a piece-rate or commission basis in order to make a comparison with his or her prior earnings, and also to determine whether or not wages on a piece-rate or commission basis in an industry where such practice is not customary are within the prevailing wage. Where no such data can be obtained, the wages of the prospective employment must be considered speculative (unless the prospective employer guarantees a minimum wage) and the claimant will have good cause to refuse employment in an occupation where the wages are speculative unless the claimant is customarily engaged in an occupation where the wages are speculative.

    Generally speaking, the rate of payment for piece-work or commission is set by the performance of the average worker. An inexperienced claimant might often expect to earn considerably less than the average during the training period. If the claimant’s prospective earnings, after a reasonable training period, are commensurate with the individual’s prior earnings, and within the prevailing wage, the claimant has no good cause to refuse the job.

    A claimant may have good cause to refuse work that does not pay piece-rate or commission if that is the customary method of payment for the occupation, and by not being paid in this manner, the individual’s income will be reduced. However, work is not unsuitable solely because the prospective wage or salary is fixed on an hourly, weekly, or monthly basis and the claimant is accustomed to working on piece-rate or commission basis. The claimant will not have good cause to refuse such work unless the claimant’s prior earnings were significantly higher than the fixed wage and the claimant has good prospects of obtaining work that offers an opportunity to obtain earnings at his or her customary rate.

  7. Union Scale

    A claimant will have good cause to refuse any work paying less than union scale if he or she is a union member, and there is a substantial amount of union work in the locality.

    If, by a collective bargaining agreement, the union scale is increased, the claimant has good cause to refuse to accept work paying less than this new scale even though the claimant has never received this wage before. This was the circumstance considered by the Board in P-B-321, where the Board stated:

    "(T)he company’s refusal to agree to pay the claimant the wage set forth in the collective bargaining agreement between the company and the claimant’s union constituted good cause for the claimant’s refusal of the offered work. Accordingly, we conclude that the claimant is not subject to disqualification . . . ."

    When a claimant becomes a union member and is eligible for dispatch through the union, he or she will have good cause to refuse a job paying less than union scale, even though the individual has not previously worked through the union, as long as there is work in the claimant’s occupation available through the union in the claimant’s labor market area.

B. Time

  1. General

    Any work is unsuitable under the provisions of Sections 1258 and 1259 of the Code if the "conditions of work" (hours, days, shifts, temporary, etc.) are substantially less favorable to the claimant than those factors prevailing for similar work in the community.

    The term unsuitable should not be confused with the term good cause. The same basic definition of good cause that is found elsewhere throughout the BDGs applies here. That is, good cause to refuse a job because of a time factor would exist when a reasonable person genuinely desirous of obtaining employment would have acted in a similar manner.

    Before the prospective employment can be found unsuitable, both of the following conditions must be present:

    • The time factor to which the claimant objects is not prevailing in the occupation, and
    • It is substantially less favorable to the claimant than the prevailing would be.

    "Substantially less favorable" means less favorable in the economic or in the moral sense. The fact that the prospective employment is less convenient or socially less desirable, does not make the work unsuitable.

  2. Hours, Days, and Shifts

    Hours

    When the particular hours at which the work is to be performed are prohibited to the claimant by law, the work is unsuitable. The California Labor Code and the Industrial Welfare Commission Orders give the regulations governing employment in general and minors in particular. These orders should be reviewed if there is any question as to the legality of the hours required on the prospective job.

    Prospective employment is unsuitable if it requires the claimant to work hours significantly in excess of that which is prevailing for the occupation, unless the extension of hours is not substantially less favorable to the claimant because of overtime or some other offsetting advantage.. However, where extended hours are customary in an occupation, the claimant will not have good cause for refusal solely on that basis.

    For example, in P-B-147 the claimant had many years of experience as a waitress. After four months of unemployment, the Department representative referred her to a restaurant for work. The claimant applied in person and was told by the employer that the job required her to work six days a week, eight hours a day for a total of 48 hours per week. The claimant refused the job, stating she would not work more than 40 hours a week. At the hearing, the Department representative testified that a 48-hour week is not uncommon in the restaurant industry in that area. The claimant testified that nothing prevented her from working 48 hours except personal preference, and that the job was suitable in all respects except for the hours. In its decision, the Board stated:

    "The claimant’s only reason for refusing the offered work was the requirement that she work 48 hours per week. A 48-hour week is customary in a portion of the restaurant industry. Also, such a workweek is authorized in this state by the Labor Code. Thus, we must conclude that the work offered the claimant was suitable. The only remaining issue is whether or not she had good cause for refusing the offer. We have consistently held that a dislike for certain days or hours for noncompelling personal reasons does not constitute good cause for refusing suitable work. . . ."

    Part-Time or Full-time

    Part-time work is not in itself unsuitable. However, there are several situations that arise with part-time employment that would constitute good cause for refusal.

    Where the expenses in connection with the work are excessive in relation to the part-time earnings, the individual will have good cause for refusal. For example, if the claimant has to pay considerable transportation, child care, or union expenses in order to obtain part-time work, these expenses may be out of proportion to the remuneration and would constitute good cause for refusal of the part-time work.

    Additionally, where the acceptance of part-time work prevents the claimant from seeking or obtaining full-time work, the claimant has good cause for refusal. This situation was covered by the Board in P-B-317, where the claimant was offered work for 4-1/2 hours a day, six days a week, with the condition that she promise to remain on the job permanently. The Board, in holding the claimant had good cause to refuse the offer, stated:

    "(T)he record is clear that the claimant refused the offer of work solely because of the condition attached to the offer, namely, that she remain in part-time employment indefinitely irrespective of the fact that full-time work might become available elsewhere. In our opinion, this condition provided the claimant with good cause for her refusal to accept the offer of work . . . ."

    A refusal of full-time work in favor of retaining part-time employment is without good cause unless the claimant has compelling reasons for not working full-time. Such was the finding in P-B-314. In this case, the claimant was employed part time as an on-call laundry worker during evenings and weekends. The Department discussed a full time work opportunity in a laundry with the claimant. The claimant explained that under union rules she was not permitted to work two jobs in the laundry field. She further explained that because of the necessity of added income she would not give up the additional earnings derived from the part-time job. The referral was withheld from the claimant. In its decision affirming the disqualification, the Board stated:

    "It is clear that if a claimant is totally unemployed, and fails without good cause to apply for suitable work, the disqualifying provisions of Section 1257(b) of the Code are applicable. Similarly, a claimant who is employed on a part-time basis and who, during a particular week earns less than his weekly benefit amount, is an "unemployed individual" and is subject to the disqualifying provisions of Section 1257(b).

    In the instant case the claimant failed to apply for full-time suitable employment because she wished to retain her part-time employment. In our opinion, such refusal was without good cause . . . ."

    Reasons of health may also constitute a compelling reason for refusing full-time suitable employment and establish good cause for refusal. In P-B-172, the claimant had been disqualified as not able and available after being advised by her physician that she would never be able to work more than five hours per day. In reversing the decision, the Board stated:

    ". . . It has been our consistent position that unless there are unusual circumstances in a case, a claimant who restricts employment to reduced hours of work and is not ready and willing to accept other suitable employment does not meet the eligibility provisions of the statute.

    The facts in this case are readily distinguishable from those involved in our prior decisions . . . although the claimant stated that she would not accept employment in excess of five hours per day, the record shows she imposed this restriction only for the most compelling reason and upon the advice of her physician. . . . (W)e hold that the claimant was ready, willing and able to accept suitable employment . . . ."

    While P-B-172 concerned the claimant’s availability, the same line of reasoning applies to Section 1257(b).

    Days

    Under Sections 1258 and 1259 of the Code, for employment to be suitable, the workweek offered must be prevailing for the occupation, or if it is not prevailing, it must not be substantially less favorable, either economically or morally.

    The fact that the workweek is less convenient or socially less desirable does not make the work unsuitable. For example, the fact that the prospective employment provides for days off on Tuesday and Wednesday, rather than the prevailing Saturday and Sunday, would not make the job unsuitable, unless it can be shown that this workweek was substantially less favorable to the individual from an economic or moral point of view. (If the objection is for religious reasons, refer to SW 90.)

    Once it has been determined that the job is suitable, good cause for the refusal must be determined. If the reason given by the claimant for refusing the prospective employment meets the definition of compelling, there is no need to go further. If the claimant’s reasons for refusal are not compelling, he or she would be subject to disqualification unless there were additional factors present that would have caused a reasonable person genuinely desirous of obtaining employment to refuse the same job.

    Shift

    Section 1258 of the Code does not include any reference to hours as one of the criteria of suitability. The provision of Section 1259(b) with respect to hours, applies to the duration of time worked, not to the particular hours. Therefore, the fact that a particular shift is not customary in the industry or occupation does not result in the job being unsuitable.

    While work cannot be considered unsuitable solely on the grounds that it requires working shifts that are not customary, a claimant may have good cause for refusing prospective employment on the basis of the shift required if the claimant’s reason for refusal is sufficiently compelling to establish good cause.

    A parent may refuse to work a particular shift because of a lack of child care. For example, in P-B-304, the claimant refused an offer of reemployment on the night shift because she wished to be home to care for her 9-year-old son who was convalescing from rheumatic fever. In its decision holding the claimant eligible, the Board stated:

    ". . . In view of the serious illness which her child had recently suffered, and the known dangers of serious consequences following this type of illness if proper care is not given, the claimant’s desire to be at home with her sick child in the evenings is understandable and based upon good cause. During the day, when the claimant’s sister-in-law could take care of the child, the claimant was willing to accept employment . . . ."

    While various types of child care arrangements are available, the expense involved must also be taken into consideration. While the claimant in P-B-304 could have hired a nurse to care for her child at nights, this would have been an unreasonable requirement in view of the expense involved.

    Often a claimant will want to work either day or night hours because they correspond to the hours the spouse works or because their spouse does not want them to work certain hours. Such a reason is personal and does not constitute good cause for refusal.

    Transportation problems may often arise with shift work. Public transportation may be greatly reduced or nonexistent during the night hours. If the claimant has no private transportation and public transportation does not provide suitable means of commuting to and from the prospective employment, the claimant may have good cause to refuse the offer.

    A split shift may also raise problems of transportation, both in terms of time and in terms of additional expense. For example, in P-B-220, a telephone operator refused several offers of split shift employment involving night work because she wanted daytime hours. In considering the claimant’s eligibility on two of the refusals, the Board stated:

    ". . . This Appeals Board has held that an individual’s objection to split shift hours involving night work constitutes a personal preference and not a compelling reason such as would constitute good cause for refusal of suitable employment . . . . The offer made to the claimant on November 12, to work as a telephone operator in her home community, involving travel time of thirty minutes or less, was an offer of suitable work which the claimant had no good cause for refusing. . . . However, the offer of November 28, involved a travel time from the claimant’s residence to work of one hour. Considering the fact that such work would be on a split shift and a likelihood of two round trips to and from work daily, it is our opinion that the offered work was not suitable. . . ."

  3. Temporary or Seasonal

    Temporary

    The fact that a job is temporary does not, in and of itself, render otherwise suitable employment unsuitable. However, the fact that the prospective employment is temporary may constitute good cause for its refusal if any of the following conditions exist:

    • The acceptance of temporary work precludes the claimant from returning to full-time work with his or her regular employer.
    • The acceptance of temporary work precludes the claimant from obtaining full-time work which the individual has good prospects of obtaining.
    • Acceptance of the prospective temporary employment involves expenditures (such as equipment or union dues) out of proportion to the remuneration to be obtained from the temporary employment.

    Seasonal

    During the season, the problems of availability, efforts to seek work, and job refusals arising in connection with seasonal workers, are similar to those of other workers in a labor market where there is a considerable demand for their services.

    However, the end of the season brings a change in the seasonal worker’s position. At this point, the seasonal worker must be available for suitable employment outside his or her regular occupation.

    Then immediately prior to the beginning of the next season, the seasonal worker’s prospects of work improve dramatically. With the beginning of the new season, the seasonal worker may once again restrict to seasonal work without seriously affecting his or her eligibility. Such was the finding in P-B-306 where the claimant, a record tester, refused an offer of work in the garment industry. In holding the claimant eligible, the Board stated:

    "Her entire experience and prior training has been confined to an occupation which is unrelated to the garment industry. It appears that the claimant’s prospects for obtaining local work in her customary occupation within a reasonable time were good for she had retained her seniority status with her employer and laid off employees were being recalled to work following a temporary lay-off due to seasonal fluctuations in business."

    However, from the moment the season ends until immediately prior to the next season’s commencement, a seasonal worker must greatly extend the field of work that he or she is willing accept.

    Although during the off-season, a seasonal worker is expected to hold him or herself available to a much wider range of work and even in a more extended area than would be required during the season, a seasonal worker is not required to accept or to seek any kind of work that he or she is not physically able to perform. The criteria of Section 1258 must be applied; the work must be work for which the individual is reasonably fitted..

    Some seasonal workers prefer seasonal work and refuse permanent work, even though the permanent work is in the same occupation. A personal preference to work on a seasonal basis does not constitute good cause for refusal.

    When determining whether the claimant had good cause for refusing permanent full-time work, the following factors should be considered:

    • The extent to which the seasonal work provides the claimant with steady full-time work.

    Many seasonal jobs base the amount of employment offered on a seniority basis. Those with the most seniority are recalled first and laid off last. In some seasonal occupations there is work nearly all year long for those with the highest seniority. Therefore, consideration should be given to the amount of seniority the claimant currently has as well as the effect on the increased employment his or her seniority will have in the next year or two.

    • The degree of assurance that the offered employment is permanent and, in view of the individual’s education and marketable skills, will not terminate either by design or reduction in work load in the foreseeable future.

    Many seasonal workers have little or no other marketable skills and their education level makes it difficult to learn many new skills. Normally, when this type of individual secures non-seasonal employment, they are the first to be laid off. As a result, there are risks associated with this type of seasonal worker accepting new untried employment in place of the established seasonal work.

    • The length of time until the claimant’s regular seasonal work starts.

    If the claimant is offered permanent suitable work soon after his seasonal work has terminated, the individual would have less good cause to refuse it than if the job were offered shortly before the next season was to start. The earlier the permanent work is offered in advance of the beginning of the seasonal work, the more time the claimant would have to establish his or her qualification and determine that the job was going to work out. When seasonal work starts the claimant can make a much more rational choice between the permanent and seasonal job.