Montana Code Annotated 2023



Part 23. Benefit Disqualification

Disqualification For Failure To Apply For Or To Accept Suitable Work

39-51-2304. Disqualification for failure to apply for or to accept suitable work. (1) (a) An individual is disqualified for benefits if the individual fails without good cause to:

(i) apply for available and suitable work when directed to do so by the employment office or the department; or

(ii) accept an offer from a former employer or a new employer of suitable work that the individual is physically able and mentally qualified to perform.

(b) The disqualification continues for the week in which the failure occurs and until the individual has performed services for which remuneration is received equal to or in excess of six times that individual's weekly benefit amount subsequent to the week the act causing the disqualification occurred, with a reduction in the individual's maximum benefit amount equal to six times the weekly benefit amount, as determined by the department. The services constitute employment as defined in 39-51-203.

(2) In determining whether or not any work is suitable for an individual, the department shall consider:

(a) the degree of risk involved to the individual's health, safety, and morals;

(b) the individual's physical fitness and prior training;

(c) the individual's experience and previous earnings;

(d) the individual's length of unemployment and prospects for securing local work in the customary occupation; and

(e) the distance of the available work from the individual's residence.

(3) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this chapter, including subsection (4), work may not be considered suitable and benefits may not be denied under this chapter to any otherwise eligible individual for refusing to accept new work under any of the following conditions:

(a) if the position offered is vacant due directly to a strike, lockout, or other labor dispute;

(b) 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;

(c) if, as a condition of being employed, the individual would be required to join a company union or to resign from or refrain from joining any bona fide labor organization.

(4) Subject to subsection (3), after 13 weeks of unemployment, suitable work is work that meets the criteria in this section and that offers 75% of the individual's earnings in previous insured work in the individual's customary occupation. However, an individual is not required to accept a job paying less than the federal minimum wage.

History: En. Sec. 5, Ch. 137, L. 1937; amd. Sec. 3, Ch. 164, L. 1941; amd. Sec. 4, Ch. 191, L. 1953; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 164, L. 1955; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 171, L. 1957; amd. Sec. 4, Ch. 156, L. 1961; amd. Sec. 2, Ch. 269, L. 1963; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 84, L. 1965; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 188, L. 1967; amd. Sec. 3, Ch. 4, Ex. L. 1969; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 38, L. 1971; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 415, L. 1971; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 369, L. 1973; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 498, L. 1973; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 170, L. 1975; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 133, L. 1977; R.C.M. 1947, 87-106(intro), (c); amd. Sec. 49, Ch. 397, L. 1979; amd. Sec. 6, Ch. 688, L. 1979; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 349, L. 1981; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 409, L. 1985; amd. Sec. 3, Ch. 153, L. 1987; amd. Sec. 17, Ch. 234, L. 1987; amd. Sec. 8, Ch. 61, L. 1999; amd. Sec. 13, Ch. 52, L. 2007; amd. Sec. 18, Ch. 25, L. 2009.