From Your Employment Attorney

Quitting a Low-Paying Job While Still Remaining Eligible for Unemployment Insurance Benefits

Quitting work without good cause may make you ineligible for unemployment insurance benefits. However, there may be times when continuing the employment just doesn’t make sense. This often occurs when a person, who has been unemployed for a long period of time, reluctantly accepts employment that is far below his usual pay scale, just in order to pay the bills.  After a while, it becomes apparent that the pay is so low and the cost of commuting to the job is so high that it’s just not cost effective to continue the employment. If this is your situation, and you have had to appeal the EDD’s determination denying you benefits because you quit a job like this, consider the following factors as you present your case to the Administrative Law Judge:

1. The amount of any change in wages, past or present;

2. The amount of any change in reasonable and necessary work-related expenses, such as an increase in your transportation costs or the costs of childcare ;

3. How recent and how rapid any changes in wages or reasonable and necessary work-related expenses have been;

4. Whether any change in expenses was foreseeable or unexpected;

5. The value of fringe benefits;

6. Your prospects for reemployment;

7. Whether any increased work-related expenses might decline with alternative employment;

8. Whether leaving is necessary to protect access to necessities or to discretionary items, such as access to medical treatment or care of a relative;

9. The consequences to you and your family of not leaving work;

10. The availability of alternatives to leaving work such as using existing resources, reducing other expenses, obtaining supplementary employment, or increasing or restructuring hours or pay;

11. The extent of your exploration of available alternatives;

12. Whether you gave the employer notice of the problem and an opportunity to ameliorate the situation by increasing or restructuring pay, increasing or rescheduling hours, promoting or transferring you, or offering real alternatives which would ultimately increase your remaining wages and which you may not have considered.

Carefully consider ahead of time how each of these factors applies to your case.  Make notes and get someone else’s opinion or thoughts.  By doing so, you will be ready at the hearing to answer the Judge’s questions and you’ll have a far better chance of winning your appeal!

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