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Does my employee qualify for unemployment benefits?

Provided by:  Jennifer Kirschenbaum, Esq.

May 18, 2017


Question:

Hi Jennifer, 

What are unemployment responsibilities would we have?  I have two part-time employees; if I fire either one for insubordination, are they still eligible for unemployment benefits?  Or if either quit, do they forfeit rights to collect unemployment?
 
Best,
Dr. V


Answer: 

Dr. V, totally depends on your fact set for each employee.  Each State sets its unemployment insurance policies.  I asked Taryn to pull NY's for you.  

Here is some information Taryn Crimi located from the New York State Department of Labor website to help with your question:

https://www.labor.ny.gov/ui/claimantinfo/beforeyouapplyfaq.shtm

Q: What employment do I need to qualify for benefits? 

A: You must have worked and been paid wages for work in at least two calendar quarters in your base period,
     AND
You must have been paid at least $2,100 in wages in one of the calendar quarters in your base period, 
     AND
The total wages paid to you in your base period must be one and one-half times your high quarter wages.

We use no more than $9,460 of your high quarter earnings to determine if you qualify. You must have earned at least half that amount ($4,730) in the other base period quarters. 

If you qualify using the Basic base period, we use that period to establish your claim.

  1. If you do not qualify in the Basic base period, we will calculate using the Alternate base period. 
  2. If you qualify under the Basic base period, you may think that using the Alternate base period would give you a higher benefit rate. You can ask us to recalculate your rate using the Alternate base period. You have 10 days from the date of the initial notice to make the request.
  3. If you do not qualify using either base period
         AND
    You received Workers' Compensation payments
         OR
    Volunteer Firefighters' benefits during the Basic base period,
         THEN
    We may extend the Basic base period back up to 2 calendar quarters. This will depend on how many base period quarters you received these benefits.
  4. If you do not qualify in any of these base periods, 
         AND
    You worked for pay in the calendar quarter when you filed,
         AND
    You are still unemployed after that quarter ends,
         AND
    You think that you may qualify using the latest work,
         THEN
    You should apply again for benefits after this calendar quarter ends.

Please note:

  1. Once you use wages to establish a claim, they are void for the next claim. You cannot use them again. This may affect your entitlement to a later claim.
  2. If you were fired for misconduct or a criminal act, you may not use any wages paid to you for that work to establish a claim or to calculate your benefit rate.
  3. If you are filing a repeat unemployment insurance claim, you must have earned new wages of at least ten times your benefit rate in the benefit year to qualify for a new claim.

 
Q: How is my weekly benefit rate determined? 

A: We calculate your original benefit rate based on your actual high calendar quarter* wages. Your weekly benefit rate is 1/26 of the high quarter wages paid to you in your base period.
 
Exception: if your high quarter wages are $3,575 or less, your weekly benefit rate is 1/25 of your high quarter wages. For claims effective 1/6/14 and later, if you only have two or three quarters of earnings in your base period and your high quarter is greater than $4,000, your high quarter wages will be calculated based on the average of your two highest quarters. 
 
The rate applies wages to the quarter when your former employer paid them (not when you earned them). The current maximum weekly benefit rate is $430.
We establish your entitlement and benefit rate with information that your employers report to the New York State Wage Reporting system. We will send you an initial Monetary Determination based on this.
 
If you qualify, the Monetary Determination will show your weekly benefit rate.
If you do not qualify, the Monetary Determination will explain why. It will also tell you what to do if the wages on the form are wrong or if your employment and earnings are missing.
 
We must reduce your weekly benefit payment by one-quarter for each day you work or are not eligible. If you earn over $430 in any week, no matter how many days you worked, you cannot receive benefits for that week.
 
* A calendar quarter is the 3 month period beginning with January, April, July, and October.
1st calendar quarter: January 1 through March 31
2nd calendar quarter: April 1 through June 30
3rd calendar quarter: July 1 through September 30
4th calendar quarter: October 1 through December 31 


Hope this helps! 


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