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[Department of Labor] Furloughed employees must resume jobs if offered or lose benefits

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The Department of Labor has updated its guidance on the subject of furloughed employees who receive offers to return to work following a re-opening.

In short, once an employee has been given an offer of suitable employment, they must take it or they will lose their unemployment compensation. A furloughed employee cannot remain on unemployment assistance if they have the option to return to work.

Eligibility for pandemic unemployment assistance does not “turn on” whether an individual is actively seeking work, but it does require that an individual be unemployed, partially employed or unable to work due to circumstances directly related to the coronavirus. A furloughed employee waiting for the business to re-open as a result of official orders clearly qualifies — but as soon as the business is reopened and that employee recalled to work, eligibility for that assistance would cease, barring some special circumstance.