Employment Law Articles

PA UC: Appeal a Backdate Denial

An individual that applies for Pennsylvania unemployment compensation (UC) benefits normally can only seek benefits from the date their unemployment application is filed with the Department of Labor. In order to request payment for weeks that the individual was unemployed prior to the date of their UC application, the applicant must submit a request to backdate a claim with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor. Backdating a claim is only allowed under limited circumstances, which are outlined in 34 Pa. Code § 65.43a.

The following reasons can be used to support a request to backdate an unemployment claim:

  • The Department is unable to handle all filings due to an excessive volume of telephone calls (6 weeks allowed).
  • The claimant attempts to file by telephone, internet, or fax transmission, but the method used to attempt to file is unavailable or malfunctions (2 weeks allowed).
  • The UC office fails to accept a

Continue Reading »

Section 401(c) PA UC Denial

Have you been denied unemployment compensation (UC) benefits under Section 401(c) of Pennsylvania’s unemployment compensation law? If you have applied for Pennsylvania unemployment compensation (UC) benefits and later received a Disqualifying Determination listing Section 401(c), you may be wondering what this means. Section 401(c) is cited by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor when there is a question of whether the claimant filed a valid application for benefits. The Disqualifying Determination may also indicate that the claim was identified as a result of fraud.

Don’t panic when you receive this determination. You have the right to appeal this determination and it usually only means that the Department of Labor is auditing the case for suspected fraud. I believe the Pennsylvania Department of Labor is simply doing their due diligence into an application for UC benefits before they decide to pay an applicant their benefits. I have found that Section 401(c) is …

Continue Reading »

PA UC Eligibility: Quitting to Take Care of Sick Family Member

If you are considering quitting your job in order to provide care for a sick or ill family member, you may be wondering whether you will be eligible to collect unemployment benefits. Under certain circumstances, you may be eligible for UC benefits. However, it is often very difficult to obtain unemployment benefits when you quit your job.

In order to obtain unemployment benefits after quitting in Pennsylvania, a claimant needs to establish that (1) the claimant had necessitous and compelling reasons for quitting their job; and (2) all alternatives were exhausted prior to quitting. Quitting employment to care for a sick family member is often considered cause of a necessitous and compelling nature, but the critical part of the eligibility analysis will come when the Board of Review takes a look at whether or not all alternatives were exhausted prior to quitting.

Factors that the Board of Review will typically …

Continue Reading »

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 …

Continue Reading »

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 …

Continue Reading »

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 …

Continue Reading »