No unemployment benefits for employees who quit or refuse to go back to work

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The Guam Department of Labor has issued notice to island residents seeking unemployment benefits reminding them that in order to qualify you must be willing to work.

You can’t quit and claim unemployment and you can’t refuse to work if you are called back to the job.

The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) programs are not available to employees who refuse to go back to work, or who quit in order to receive benefits.

“Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, quitting work without good cause to get unemployment benefits is considered fraud,” said Labor Director David Dell’Isola.

“If an employer calls you back to work and you reject the offer in order to collect benefits, that’s also fraud. To qualify for PUA you must be out of work or unable to go back to work due to one of the COVID-19 related reasons listed under the Act.”

The Department recently received reports of employees that collected their initial PUA payments who are not returning to work. Employees must understand if your employer fires you for not returning to work and you do not have an approved COVID-19 related reason, you are disqualified from receiving further PUA benefits from the date you were fired.

Employers can report firing an employee to [email protected]. An immediate hold will then be placed on the employee’s PUA claim.

Claim all income 

Employees who were on leave but still received their full paycheck from their employers (Payment Protection Program, loans, annual leave, sick leave, etc) are considered fully employed and are not eligible for PUA for those weeks they received their full paychecks. Only those employees that were paid a partial or reduced paycheck are considered eligible but they still must report all income in their weekly claims.

For individuals who worked multiple jobs prior to the pandemic, when applying for unemployment benefits they must report all income and recent work history. Failure to do so may result in a possible fraud case.

“If you were working two jobs and got furloughed or had your hours reduced from only one job, you still need to include information on both jobs when filing for PUA. If you work a full-time job and a part-time job, but you were only laid off from the part-time job — you are still considered fully employed and do not qualify for PUA,” Dell’Isola said. “There is a question in the weekly certifications that asks if you worked or earned wages during the week. Protect yourself and make sure you report all income.”

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