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Refusing Work - CA Reopen

Updated: Feb 10

Prior to the pandemic, refusing work was an automatic disqualification to receive any benefits. EDD has made exceptions and it is possible to continue receiving benefits DEPENDING ON THE REASON why you refused work. It has to be determined GOOD CAUSE to refuse work.


Know that if you refuse to work and EDD determines you ineligible, you may risk both being out of a job and unable to receive unemployment.


EDD FAQ's here

Would I qualify for benefits if I choose to stay home from work due to underlying health conditions and concerns about exposure to the virus?

  • You can be eligible for benefits if you choose to stay home. Once you file your claim, the EDD will contact you if we need more information.

I was LAID OFF, but my employer is reopening now. Will I lose my benefits if I refuse to return to work because I am in one of the categories of people that the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has identified as having elevated risk for contracting COVID-19?

  • The CDPH has issued public health guidance urging individuals who are over 65, immunocompromised, or have certain serious chronic health conditions (such as heart disease, lung disease or diabetes) to stay at home due to “higher risk” factors.

  • An individual is disqualified for UI if they refuse to accept “suitable” employment when offered. EDD will consider whether the particular work is “suitable” in light of factors such as the degree of risk involved to the individual’s health and safety, and as a result whether the individual has good cause for refusing the work. For example, even if your employer has complied with the state’s requirements for reopening, and any and all government safety regulations, you would have good cause to refuse to return to work if you are at greater personal risk due to higher risk factors as identified by the CDPH.

  • You may not have good cause for refusing suitable work if your employer was willing to allow you to telework and you still refused the suitable work. In this scenario, you could be disqualified from continuing to receive regular UI benefits because there was an alternative available to work without compromising your health and safety. Therefore, workers are encouraged to speak with their employers about work options that are consistent with public health guidance, the reopening requirements, and any local public health orders. Such options may include telework or modified schedules. Employers may have a legal obligation to accommodate certain health conditions. The Department of Fair Employment and Housing has issued guidance regarding what employers must do to accommodate employees with recognized disabilities.



I was LAID OFF. Jobs are being offered, but the salary is less than what I receive in unemployment benefits. Will I lose my benefits if I refuse these job offers?