Appeal from the Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in case of In Re: Claim of John J. Kochansky, No. B-132010.
E. J. Julian, for petitioner.
George O. Phillips, Assistant Attorney General, with him Robert P. Kane, Attorney General, for respondent.
Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer and Rogers, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Crumlish, Jr.
[ 30 Pa. Commw. Page 269]
John J. Kochansky (Claimant) has appealed the denial of benefits by the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) on the grounds that he refused an offer of suitable employment, as defined by Section 4(t) of the Unemployment Compensation Law*fn1 (Law) and was therefore ineligible for benefits under Section 402(a) of the Law. We affirm.
Claimant was employed by the Fort Pitt Bridge Works, a division of Spang and Company (Spang) for 52 years, the last 30 years as an inspector of drawings in the structural steel shop. On May 30, 1975, he was forced to retire under a company policy which made retirement mandatory for salaried employes upon reaching age 65. At the time of his retirement, he was receiving a salary of $1,060.00 per month, or $12,720.00 per year.
[ 30 Pa. Commw. Page 270]
During his many years of service at Spang, Claimant had acquired specialized skills which made him of great value to the company. Therefore, shortly before Claimant was due to retire, a company representative asked him to continue to work for Spang at the same job at an hourly rate of $6.50 per hour. Claimant refused the offer on the sole ground that the proposed compensation was substantially less than what he was earning as a salaried employe, and was not commensurate with his skills and experience.
The Bureau of Employment Security granted benefits, but the referee reversed, reasoning that the employment offered to Claimant was suitable and that in refusing it, Claimant removed himself from the labor market thereby disqualifying himself for benefits. The Board, after remanding to the referee for additional testimony, affirmed.
The question before us is whether Spang's offer of employment involved so substantial a reduction in compensation that the offered work was not suitable within the meaning of Section 4(t). That subsection states, in pertinent part:
(t) 'Suitable Work' means all work which the employe is capable of performing. In determining whether or not any work is suitable for an individual, the department shall consider the degree of risk involved to his health, safety and morals, his physical fitness, prior training and experience, and the distance of the available work from his residence. The department shall also consider among other factors the length of time he has been unemployed and the reasons therefor, the prospect of obtaining local work in his customary occupation, his ...