The most common question surrounding unemployment is how to claim the benefits when an employee quits. Well, first you have to know if you are quitting your job for a “good cause” because if not, you might encounter some problems collecting your benefits.
Getting unemployment after you quit can be confusing especially in cases where you are forced to leave or that you don’t have any options left. While the recognition of these benefits is unclear to many, we have to first look into the definition of unemployment itself and its essence in the issue.
Are you really unemployed?
In economics, unemployment is defined as a situation that occurs when a person who is actively searching for employment is unable to find work. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a person is unemployed if they don't have a job but have actively looked for work in the past four weeks and are available for work.
In this short film by Mint.com, they explained why the unemployment rate is lower than the actual number of jobless Americans. It clearly states that a jobless person has to be actively looking for work (even if they're just looking in the classifieds) to be considered "officially unemployed". Thus, making it harder for claimants to get their benefits if they quit.
This, alone, deprives a jobless individual of their chance to be given proper attention. How can they find a job if the state denies there is a need for more? What options do these former employees have when their unemployment claim is denied?
Why is unemployment being denied from employees who quit?
For a system as broken as this, the laws that govern such benefits do not necessarily protect the rights of the workers. Let alone give them insurance and benefits once they quit their job. Instead, they are expected to serve the interest of the employers and the image of the State. They manipulate the unemployment rate because it reflects the nation’s economy; and for a country, its economy is its trophy. So why would they waste money for people who are a liability to the State? They need a workforce, not dependents.
Generally, to be eligible for unemployment benefits, one must be out of work through no fault of their own. This means you will not qualify if you quit your job without a “good cause”. Good cause quits vary in some states and depend on how the state's laws define it.
But before you go ahead and quit your job, you need to know how this works or you’ll get caught up in a long, huge drama. Since unemployment and unemployment insurance are directly connected, you are only qualified to receive unemployment if you are in the Labor Market.
Let us quickly identify the rules when getting unemployment if an employee quits.
Reasons for quitting your job that MAY entitle you to claim unemployment:
- Medical reasons. An employee who quits because of medical concerns such as disability, injury, or illness related to work may be eligible to get their unemployment benefits. To claim, you should include medical statements proving the presence of a health issue as well as some documentation stating that your employer was unable to accommodate your condition. Claimants must also be physically able and available to search for and accept another work.
- Getting a new job. To qualify for unemployment if you quit under this reason, you have to provide a proof. It can be an email, a letter, or any message that states you were offered a better job by another firm or company. Though, this typically doesn't cover an employee who quits solely to find another job. (Ironic, isn’t it?)
- Constructive dismissal. This happens when an employee was forced to quit their job as a result of working conditions or environment becoming unbearable. In most cases, employees who experience discrimination, harassment, violence or those who are forced to commit illegal acts fall under this circumstance. As this sometimes requires a hearing, you will need an experienced employment lawyer to discuss your claim.
- Domestic violence. Many states allow employees to claim their benefits if they quit work for cases relating to domestic violence. This may need some supporting documents such as medical statements. In some conditions, employees may be asked to return to work once the issue has been resolved.
- Resigning in Lieu of Termination. In this case, an employee is asked to file a resignation in lieu of discharge and is given a chance to quit to obtain good reference or severance. Downsizing often results to this circumstance.
Subtly, all these qualifications are subject to one fact — you must be able to find another job after quitting regardless of the reason.
In some instance, the employee may be subject to a disqualification period where there is a stretch of time during which benefits are not available before becoming eligible. This adds to the burden that the claimants have to face when filing for unemployment benefits. For someone who is struggling to get by, this isn’t fair at all.
If you were forced to quit, you have legal grounds for a lawsuit. If your employer denies your benefits, don’t be afraid to speak and seek legal help. You have every right to claim what you are entitled to. What are these companies without workers to fill their pockets?