Unemployment benefits are incredibly crucial to many Pennsylvanians. If you quit your job, you may still be entitled to unemployment benefits, but only in somewhat limited circumstances.
You May Want to Look at John's YouTube Video Discussing Whether Employees Who Resign from Work Are Eligible for Unemployment Benefits
Unemployment Attorney Serving Phoenixville, Pottstown, Norristown, East Norriton, Reading, Bristol, Malvern, Paoli, Exton, Downingtown, Media, Radnor, Newtown Square and Philadelphia Areas
If you quit because you are told you will be fired IMMEDIATELY if you do not quit, then you will be entitled to unemployment benefits – provided that the reason for your impending termination was not willful misconduct.
You May Want to Look at My June 2014 Video Explaining What the Term Willful Misconduct Means Under Pennsylvania Unemployment Law
So, if you were going to be laid off THAT DAY due to alleged poor performance, elimination of your job due to reduction in force, lay off or other reasons unrelated to your violation of a work rules, you will get unemployment benefits if you choose to quit in lieu or immediate termination.
Did I Quit or Was I Fired?
In my experience, many employers under these circumstances attempt to convince unemployment that your quit was purely voluntary, and was not "in lieu of immediate termination" because you were not going to be fired that day. Taking it a step further, employers often assert that the employee was called in only for discipline, but quit in a fit of anger. These can be tricky cases, so I typically advise my clients to think very carefully before quitting their job.
I Was Laid Off and Offered a New Job at the Same Time - Am I Entitled to Unemployment Benefits? This is Decided Under the Law of Suitable Work Offers
If your job is being eliminated, or if your temporary assignment is ending, be very wary of employers who attempt to offer you a new job immediately after telling you your existing job was being eliminated. Then when you decline the new job (which usually has a dissimilar schedule, lower compensation and different duties), they characterize it as you quitting your job.
In fact, the truth is that you were laid off from one job, and offered a new one. The fact that it was the same company that did both things at the same time does not legally change anything.
The law says you were eligible for benefits at the moment you were laid off, and remained eligible for benefits unless the new job offered to you was similar to your former job in terms of hours, duties, location, compensation, etc. - that is, if the new job offered "suitable work" comparable to your previous job.
Click Here for more insight into that-type situation.
Unemployment Law Firm With Representing Employees in Referee Hearings in Bristol, Springfield, Malvern, Norristown and Philadelphia
The more difficult situation is when an employee quits his/her job for "personal reasons." In such cases, one must prove the existence of a "necessitous and compelling" reason for quitting. This is not an easy task, and you should consider retaining an attorney for your unemployment appeal hearing if you fall into this category.
What is a Necessitous and Compelling Reason For Quitting a Job Under Pennsylvania Unemployment Law?
Here are some of the most common examples of a necessitous and compelling reason to quit your job:
1) a substantial reduction in pay (>25%, usually)
2) transfer to a different job location that creates a hardship either due to length of commute or impact on family responsibilities (i.e. can no longer pick up kids from school because commute is an hour longer)
3) significant change in work hours/schedule. Such schedule changes can justify a quit if they cause a substantial change in lifestyle (day work to overnight work), a substantial reduction in pay (40 hours per week to 30), negative impact on family obligations (instead of getting off at 3 and being able grab kids, now work until 7), etc.
4) significant change in job responsibilities (these can be tough cases, it has to result in demeaning circumstances)
5) spouse is REQUIRED to take a new job or fulfill military obligation elsewhere and you cannot afford to maintain two households (you must prove spouse was REQUIRED to take the new job - it cannot be a voluntary choice no matter how good the new job offer was)
6) a job offer from a different employer (you must have the offer in hand before you quit your job). This only becomes relevant when the new job falls through so that, 3 weeks/months after you quit you need to apply for UC Benefits - also you have to prove you lost new job for reasons other than your own misconduct)
7) persistent and significant mistreatment by a boss or employee that continues despite you bringing the issue to the attention of management (this is the most common reason for quitting -most people refer to this as a "hostile work environment;" it is also the most difficult situation to deal with when seeking unemployment).
How Many People That Are Unemployed Actually Quit Their Jobs?
Statistics show that nearly half of the people on unemployment at any given time have quit their job. My experience tells me that roughly 75% of them quit because they believe they are being subjected to a a hostile work environment. So, you are not alone. There are, however, some strategies to combat bad work situations. Consequently, before you quit your job, you may want to speak to a qualified employment attorney.
Philadelphia Area Employment Lawyer
|Helping Workers Since 1991|
John A. Gallagher is an employment lawyer who represents employees in Pennsylvania.
Click Here if you have questions about any aspect of employment law, from wrongful termination, to wage and overtime claims, to discrimination and retaliation laws, to Family and Medical Leave…
Click Here if you have questions about any aspect of Pennsylvania Unemployment Law, from willful misconduct, to voluntary quit, to Referee Hearings, to severance issues…
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