What constitutes "comparable" salary?

So if a company has to offer you comparable salary, what does that mean? Where’s the limit to how little they can offer you? 10% less? 15%? Does it vary by state? Does the number include insurance costs?

Should the person not accept the offer because it’s considered too low, is unemployment forfeit?

You are not my lawyer, yadda yadda yadda…

I usually take “comparable” to mean “comparable, given differences in cost of living in various markets.”

On what I make in Charlotte, I could probably live like a B-list celeb in, say, Laramie. In Manhattan, I could live like a street person.

Comparable will mean adjusted for cost of living in the particular location, as KneadToKnow says.

As far as how close to the median salary would be considered comparable, that’s probably open to interpretation. If this is part of an employment contract or law, I would expect it to be more specific about that aspect of it.

In Illinois they have to offer you what you were making in terms of money, not benefits.

So if you made $20,000 salary but worked 10 years and always got an extra $10,000 in bonuses, those bonuses wouldn’t factor into it.

Nor do things like heath insurance, time off, etc.

The states use a standard cost of living indicator which is unique to each state office. So you’d have to find out.

You also have to remember there are no hard and fast rules. If you were making $10.00/hr and you get offered $9.95/hr you’d be hard pressed to convince unemployment NOT to throw you off.

On the other hand in my example above with the commissions or bonuses, it doesn’t mean you can’t appeal. For example if you turned down that job in my example, you might get thrown off, but you can go to an appeal.

If you could make a convincing case to the arbitrator you may get back on.

When I worked in H/R my company fought every last unemployment claim, regardless, and the thing that amazed me was how inconsistant the ruling went.

Like two people get fired for being late constantly. One arbitrator would say, “tough luck-denied,” while the other arbitrator would say “Well he did try and get to work, he made the effort, so we’ll give it to him.”

So theoretically, should a company say they offer a comparable salary in the same metro area as a job currently held, it would be the roughly the same pay give or take say, $50 per week? There’s no real legal definition?

I recall a discussion with a guy over “separation pay”, same idea. He said the trick was to offer as little as possible, but enough so it wasn’t worth the victim taking it to a lawyer. So they probably size you up and try to guess what they think they can get away with.

interesting that you use the word victim. eff. my game face is about as intimidating as bunnies, and not the Monty Python kind.

For the purposes of unemployment insurance, I’m pretty sure this is going to be a case-by-case thing. And IMHO that is appropriate. Because there is a difference between what is comparable at different salary levels and in areas with different costs of living. $50 for a highly paid consultant in NYC is nothing, $50 for a minimum wage worker in the middle of nowhere who is now being asked to commute into a major city might not be comparable. For commuting distance I believe 50 miles is generally considered comparable, but even then there might be exceptions to favor the employee (say, if the 50 miles were over water or a mountain range). As **Markxxx **pointed out, unemployment insurance is not very consistent, even within states and particularly among states.

A change from regular to non-regular employment (typically accompanied by loss of employer-provided insurance) would IME not be considered comparable. If the difference in insurance costs between two regular jobs is really huge, it might possibly be considered on a case by case basis.

10-15% pay cut definitely *can *be considered comparable IME, but that’s not to say it would in every single case. If it is a large company doing across the board pay cuts for a lot of employees, it is a fairly safe bet they asked their lawyers about what would be considered comparable in their case.