Business Briefcase: Jobless must take lower-paying jobs

Business Briefcase: Jobless must take lower-paying jobs

October 7th, 2012 by Staff Reports and Associated Press in Business Diary

Jobless must take lower-paying jobs

Unemployed Tennesseans will no longer receive jobless benefits beyond three months if they refuse to accept a lower-paying job offer.

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development announced new rules last week to require claimants of unemployment benefits to accept increasingly lower-paying jobs the longer they are unemployed.

Previously, to be considered suitable employment, the proposed job had to be approximately the same rate of pay and hours as the claimant's most recent work. Under the new law, claimants must decrease salary and wage demands the longer they receive unemployment insurance benefits.

Jobless benefits will be cut off if an unemployed Tennessean doesn't accept a job:

• Paying at least 75 percent of the most recent work after a person has been jobless for 13 weeks.

• Pay at least 70 percent of the most recent work after a person has been jobless for 25 weeks

• Pay at least 65 percent of the previous wage level after a person is out of work for 37 weeks.

Claimants can contact the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development Benefit Payment Control Unit for more information at 615- 741-2606.

Cancer victims return to work

More breast cancer survivors are returning to work after short-term disability leaves, according to a new study by Unum Corp.

But return-to-work numbers have slipped for those on long-term disability.

The Chattanooga-based Unum, the world's largest disability insurer, said internal data indicate nearly 64 percent of people on short-term disability leave due to breast cancer returned to work in 2009. That was more than double the 28.8 percent who returned to work from short-term disability in 2001.

Cheryl Greaney, vice president of medical operations for Unum, said the improvement among breast cancer survivors reflects earlier detection and improved care for those with cancer.

"The people behind these numbers are facing some of the most difficult times in their lives, and the ability to return to work offers a sense of normalcy and routine that can be truly beneficial," she said.

The trend is different, however, for those on long- term disability leave due to breast cancer. In 2001, 47 percent returned to work. That number climbed to a high of 54.8 percent in 2006, then dropped to 50.1 percent by 2009.

"As treatments become more effective and outcomes improve for many with earlier stage disease, the pool of people who eventually move to long-term disability may necessarily be those who have later stage cancer and as a result require more aggressive, debilitating treatments," Greaney said.

Cancer is consistently the leading cause of Unum long-term disability claims, accounting for about 15 percent of claims each year. Breast cancer is the leading type, at about 22 percent of long-term disability cancer claims.

Redesigned diet soda in stores soon

The Chattanooga-based Double Cola Co. will introduce what it bills as "an extraordinary new look" this month in the packaging for its Diet Double Cola.

The new tagline, "Surprisingly Diet" found on Diet Double's new packages is designed to lure consumers who don't normally buy diet soft drinks because of stereotypes about the taste of such drinks.

Double Cola Marketing Vice President Gina McCommon said the new design that will hit stores in mid-October will include hand-drawn elements meant to stand out against corporate and slick logos for Coca-Cola, Pepsi and other competitors.

"We feel the bold new packaging will help Diet Double catch the attention of consumers browsing a crowded shelf," McCommon said. "We anticipate that the stand-out graphics will elevate the brand's appeal and awareness, taking Diet Double to the next level."

VW trims global sales target

Volkswagen has cut its internal 2012 sales target for Western Europe by up to 140,000 vehicles, Reuters reported a German daily saying last week, citing the group's works council head.

"The VW group is tentatively selling more cars this year than last year. But it is correct that it will be somewhat less than what was originally planned," Bernd Osterloh told Handelsblatt.

"We are talking however of a maximum of 140,000 cars," he added.

Volkswagen, Europe's biggest carmaker and on course to overtake U.S. rival General Motors this year as the world's second-biggest carmaker, aims to sell 10 million vehicles by 2018, up from the 8.36 million recorded last year.

Handelsblatt said the company was also slashing its planned production capacity this year.

Citing a copy of a VW internal capacity planning report, the daily said management board member Michael Macht, in charge of production, had estimated up to 9.4 million vehicles would be built this year, down from the previous estimate of 9.7 million vehicles.