Unemployment Benefits Articles

Unemployment Law – Quitting to Care for a Sick Family Member

Question: In Pennsylvania, can you be eligible for unemployment benefits if you quit to care for a sick family member or relative?

Answer: Pennsylvania unemployment law states that a claimant is ineligible for benefits under Section 402(b) when they quit or resign from their employment unless the claimant can establish that they had necessitous and compelling reasons for quitting and that all alternatives were exhausted prior to quitting.

In order to establish eligibility for benefits when a claimant quits to care for a sick family member or relative, the claimant may face difficulty obtaining unemployment benefits. The initial determination may deny benefits requiring the claimant to file an appeal. To establish eligibility, the claimant will have the burden of proof to show that they had “no real choice” but to quit their employment and that the employee made reasonable efforts to preserve their employment.

Several factors must be considered when …

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Unemployment Benefits for Teachers – Explanation of Section 402.1(1)

Pennsylvania unemployment law states that teachers and professors will not be paid unemployment benefits between two successive academic years provided that there’s “reasonable assurance” given that they will perform services in a second academic year. Although this law is very clear for teachers and professors who are full-time employees and simply on a summer break, this can created problems for substitute teachers who perform services for a school on an “as-needed ” basis or in situations where a teachers’ employment status has been downgraded from full-time to part-time.

Section 402.1(1) is the section of the Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation Law that applies to teachers not being able to collect unemployment benefits between academic years as long as they are given “reasonable assurance” of returning for the next academic year. A contract of employment will certainly considered “reasonable assurance” of returning work the following academic year. A bona fide offer of employment …

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Can unemployment benefits be denied for negligence involving property damage?

If you were terminated from your job because you accidentally damaged your employer’s property or equipment due to an accident, you may face difficulty obtaining Pennsylvania unemployment compensation (UC) benefits.  Accidents are typically caused by what is considered negligent conduct. While a casual act of negligence would not lead to a denial of unemployment benefits, certain acts of negligence could lead to a denial of unemployment benefits.

In order for negligence causing property damage to lead a denial of UC benefits, the conduct must rise to the level of willful carelessness. The UC referee deciding the case will typically look for some conduct which would indicate some level of culpability or fault on the part of the employee.

In some cases, it’s easy to differentiate between negligent conduct which should lead to a denial of benefits and conduct which should not. However, it’s not always clear cut. Employers will …

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How Severance Pay Affects PA UC Benefits

On January 1, 2012, Act 6 of 2011 went into effect, which made some very important changes to Pennsylvania’s Unemployment Compensation Law.  The most important aspect of this law was the way severance pay was treated with respect to calculating an employee’s unemployment compensation benefits. In some cases, severance pay may act as an offset against unemployment benefits which would reduce the amount of unemployment benefits a person can receive.

Prior to Act 6, employees could collect unemployment benefits regardless of the amount of severance received from their former employer. After the enactment Act 6, an offset is taken into consideration. The offset uses a formula to determine the amount of the offset based on “40% of the average annual wage.” Currently, “40% of the average annual wage” equals $17,853, which is subject to change. An employee can receive up to 40% of the average annual wage until their unemployment …

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My PA UC Claim Is Under Review – What Should I Do?

Question:

I went to check the status of my PA UC claim and I received a message that states “there is an issue on the claim that is currently being reviewed.” What does this mean for me?

Answer:

The PA UC Application Review Process

After you apply for unemployment compensation benefits in Pennsylvania, your case is assigned to a UC Representative who is responsible for investigating your claim and reaching a determination on whether or not you are eligible for UC benefits. This individual will review your initial application to obtain basic information regarding your claim. The representative will then contact the employer and request that the employer submit a questionnaire regarding the reason the employee’s employment ended. You may also be asked to submit a questionnaire as well.

If additional information is needed to clarify responses, the investigator has the ability to interview both the employee and the employer …

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What happens during an appeal to the Board of Review?

If you did not receive the outcome you had hoped for after your PA UC referee hearing, you have an additional appeal to the UC Board of Review. There are 15 days to file an appeal to the Board of Review after the UC referee has mailed their decision. The Referee’s Decision and Order will include instructions on filing an appeal to the Board of Review. An appeal can be filed simply by writing a letter providing your case information and the reason for your appeal.

It is often helpful to seek an attorney to file an appeal so they can clearly and correctly cite the applicable law that applies to the claim and establish a legal argument on why an employee should receive unemployment benefits based on PA UC Law.

No further hearings are conducted after the referee hearing. In fact, the referee hearing is generally the only opportunity …

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