UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION IN PENNSYLVANIA
WHAT IS UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION?
Unemployment Compensation (UC) is a program that provides income to an employee who loses his/her job when it is not the employee's fault. The amount of weekly benefits depends upon the employee's weekly pay before the employee loses his/her job.
HOW IS ELIGIBILITY DETERMINED?
There are 3 basic steps to determine eligibility:
- Financial Eligibility Whether the claimant (employee who lost his/her job) earned sufficient wages from an employer covered by the UC Law. Generally, this requirement is satisfied if an employee worked for a sufficient period of time.
- Benefit Eligibility This step considers whether the claimant is out of work without fault. Generally, this requirement is satisfied as long as the employee does not engage in "Willful Misconduct" defined as an act of willful disregard of the employer's interests, deliberate rule violations, disregarding standards of behavior which can rightfully be expected, or other workplace conduct which involves evil design, wrongful intent, or substantial and intentional disregard of the employer's interests or of the employee's obligations and duties. An employee who voluntarily leaves resigns may be eligible for UC, if there was a necessitous and compelling nature for leaving work, which was real and substantial, leaving no other alternative.
- Maintaining Eligibility and Requalifying for Benefits To maintain eligibility on a weekly basis, a claimant must be able and available to accept suitable work and not refuse work when offered without good cause.
HOW DOES THE APPLICATION PROCESS WORK?
- Initial Determination: A claimant files an application for benefits (at www.dli.state.pa.us, keyword: unemployment) or by phone. After the employer provides a response, an Initial Determination concerning UC eligibility is issued.
- Appeals to an Unemployment Referee Hearing. Either the employer or the claimant may request a hearing before a UC Appeals Referee by appealing an Initial Determination within fifteen days. A Referee hearing is a mini-trial in which each sides presents its evidence (witnesses and documents). Employers frequently hire attorneys or other representatives to present the employer's case at the Referee's Hearing. We strongly encourage legal representation at the Referee's Hearing so that a claimant is able to present the best-case possible case by someone trained in the law with experience representing employees who have been terminated.
- Appeals Beyond Referee's Hearing: A Referee's decision may be appealed within 15 days to the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review.
Andrew S. Abramson is frequently retained to represent claimants at Referee's hearings. Clients have found our representation extremely helpful in protecting claims for UC benefits, and many times reversing an Initial Determination denying benefits. If you are required to attend a Referee's hearing we strongly encourage you to contact our firm to review the situation and retain our services so that you have someone on your side looking out for your interests.
KEY POINTS CONCERNING UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS:
- Legal Representation helps you protect your rights at an Unemployment Referee's Hearing.
- Severance Pay - We are frequently asked if the fact that a former employee is receiving severance pay makes a claimant ineligible for UC benefits. Depending upon the amount of severance pay you receive, you may still collect UC benefits at the same time.
- Definition of "Unemployed"- A claimant is unemployed when he/she is not working because of a temporary or permanent layoff caused by no fault of his/her own. In addition, a claimant may be considered unemployed and eligible for full or partial benefits if working fewer hours than normal due to a lack of work; or after losing a job, working fewer hours; or after losing one job, continuing to work part-time for another employer.
- File Biweekly Claims for Benefits - After filing an initial application, a claimant must continue to file claims usually, 2 weeks at a time.
Call us today at 267-470-4742 or contact us online to discuss your legal options.