Part-time work, Full-time problem

Forgive me for being so into the arcane aspects of unemployment insurance. Of course, it is only arcane until you need it. When you need it, every detail matters.

Today, an advisory group is figuring out how to resolve problems with Pennsylvania's unemployment benefit trust fund. You can read about in today's Inquirer. But, of course there's more.

Sitting here in Philly a mile or so away from the Delaware River and New Jersey, it is interesting to contrast how the two states handle the idea of benefits for part-time workers  -- at a time when more and more people are working part-time and not necessarily by choice.

However, some people do work reduced hours by choice, or maybe we should say, by other kinds of necessity. I'm thinking of mothers, people caring for elderly parents, or even those who are semi-retired. Yes, they rely on the money and the work, but they can't or don't want to do it all the time. 

In Pennsylvania, if someone in that part-time situation loses a job, he can get unemployment benefits (pro-rated of course). But if he or she is offered a full-time job, that offer must be accepted or the benefits are gone. In New Jersey, a part-time worker can also get pro-rated benefits, but the requirement about full-time isn't there. Instead, the person can continue to get benefits while looking for a similar part-time work (i.e. a 20-hour job replaced by a 20-hour job).