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Illinois Unemployment

How long does an employee have to be employed with a company in Illinois before he or she is eligible for unemployment benefits?

Generally an employee must have worked for at least 13 weeks in the past 2 quarters to collect unemployment in Illinois. The 13 weeks need not all have been for the same employer.Usually the most recent employer is the one who is “chargeable” for the Illinois unemployment claim, as long as the employee worked there for more than 4 weeks.

Unemployment rules are complex, and there are many exceptions.

This entry was posted on Thursday, May 22nd, 2008 at 7:48 am and is filed under
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45 Responses to “Illinois Unemployment”

  1. Barbara Benz Says:

    My daughter is currently unemployed in Chicago, Illinois. She was employed full time at a dermolotology clinic. They are now wanting to hire her back but only on a part time basis so she will be making less than her current unemployment. Will unemployment compensate her for the difference or will she lose her unemployment?

  2. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Barbara! We can’t make a determination on your daughter’s case without knowing all the details, but in most cases an employee who is working part-time can collect partial unemployment benefits. She may even qualify for unemployment longer, because she is collecting less per week.
    In any case, your daughter must absolutely report her earnings to the unemployment agency. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  3. Angie Says:

    My question is …I was about 3 months pregnant when I got laid off….I have been looking for work and collecting unemployment since then…I am close to having my baby now and am wondering if I will lose my benefits during my “maternity leave period”…even though I was already unemployed?

  4. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Angie! Unfortunately, yes, you will lose your unemployment benefits while you are recovering from childbirth.
    Under Illinois law, a worker must be willing and able to work, and actively looking for work, to collect unemployment. You will not be physically able to work for 4 to 6 weeks after delivery (longer if you have a c-section.)
    Once your doctor provides a release for you to return to work, you can resume the job hunt and collect unemployment again. This will not change the total number of weeks of unemployment benefits that you are entitled to — but it will put them on hold for a few weeks.
    Several states provide short term disability payments for all workers, even those who are currently unemployed. Sadly, Illinois does not. Sorry we cannot offer more help.~ Caitlin

  5. laura Says:

    My son was working in Chicago for a tanning salon chain as a full time manager. One month ago they restructured and changed his title, not manager, but sales associate and they reduced his pay by 50 cents per hour, but he was still full time.
    Today they told him he is now a partime employee 12-15 hours per week and told him his scheduled has changed in the next 2 days.
    He needs to meet the new schedule. He knows if he doesnt he is getting fired and is ineligable for unemployment benefits. My question is –
    Is he eligable for partial umemployment and when should he apply if so?
    thank you .

  6. Caitlin Says:

    Hi laura! Yes, your son is probably entitled to partial unemployment benefits because he has gone from working 40 hours per week to working 12 -15 hours per week at a lower salary. He should file for unemployment ASAP.
    Just so you know, often when an employee quits due to a demotion, reduction in salary or change in job conditions (such as a change from full-time to part-time) the employee qualifies for full unemployment in Illinois. However, once the employee begins working under the new conditions, he has accepted the “new” job and if he quits at that point, does not qualify for unemployment.
    Frankly, given the current economic conditions, your son is probably better off continuing to work part-time. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  7. LaVerne Alverio Says:

    Good Evening: I was recently laid off due to a restructure and am currently receiving unemployment benefits. I have been offered a part time position at a non profit, working 20 hrs per week and making considerably less than what I was making at my previous job of 22yrs. Yet, the amount of what I would be making is exactly what I am currently getting from unemployment. Combined together, it still would not equal to my earnings while I was employed. Can I still receive benefits? Please advise.

    Thank You!

  8. Mike Says:

    If I am part time and normally work 20-30 hrs a week and my work decides they can now only give me 10 hrs a week am I elgible for partial unemployment?

  9. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Mike! Yes, you may qualify for partial unemployment benefits. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  10. Mike Says:


    So even though I am part time I can still qualify for partial unemployment if my hrs get cut down to 10 a week from my normal 20-30 hrs a week. Do I have to fill out a certain form or how do I go about that?

  11. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Mike! Apply online at: or go to the nearest unemployment office. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  12. Al Says:

    In June 2009 I was laid off from a salaried position and filed a claim for unemployment. At the time of my layoff I also had a part-time job (commission based) with another company that paid little. I continued with the part-time job as I collected unemployment benefits from my salaried position. The part-time job payed monthly and I was told to report that income when I received it and my benefits for that week would be adjusted accordingly. I then had to re-file a claim to get back in the benefit system.

    In November I quit the part time job to further concentrate on my job search seeing as it was rather time consuming for the amount of pay and the prospects of an increase client base were very poor due to the economy.

    There is now alot of confusion on whether I can continue to receive my benefits from my salaried position (laid off in June). I expect no benefits from my part-time work seeing as I voluntarily left it. Should this affect my initial benefits?

  13. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Al! This is a problem. Employees who quit their jobs are often not eligible for unemployment benefits, even from a previous job. If your benefits are denied, you should appeal that decision, but it is by no means certain that you will continue to collect unemployment. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  14. Lydia Says:

    I quit my job on 12/11/09 because I had a scheduled c-section for 12/15/09. I gave my employer notice of my last day a month or so in advance but was not offered a return date because I was only part time (30 hrs/week) and did not know how long my recovery time was going to be. My employer could not allow me to return if I was going to be out for longer than a 6 week time frame. Would I be eligible to file for unemployment benefits since I did voluntarily quit my job and am currently actively seeking other employment?

  15. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Lydia! This is a grey area. Usually people who quit their jobs do not qualify for unemployment. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  16. Angie Says:

    I have a p/t job with the census bureau. it is basicly 15 hrs MAYBE a week. How will this affect my benefits. If my benefits are 148 p/w and I get 132 or less after taxes for one week of wkng, will that cancel my total benefit. Also, I do not get paid for almost 2wks out. the last time I had this issue and told them I worked they stopped completely. I started not to take it for this very reason.

  17. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Angie! You must report this income to the unemployment agency. Not doing so is a crime. In most states, you must report the income during the week that you earned it. Your benefits for that week will be reduced or eliminated, but you should still qualify for benefits after this assignment ends. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  18. Mao Bierer Says:

    Remarkable Populace Statistics For FL With The Census

  19. Caitlin Says:

    Thanks for reading the blog, Mao!~ Caitlin

  20. renaissance dresses Says:

    insightful post

  21. Angie Says:

    Hi again, someone told me that the federal government has a different unemployment set up for federal employees. Is there a different unemployment program for federal employees? Just curious….

  22. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Angie! No, the person who told you that was mistaken. Over the past 2 years, the federal government has taken steps to extend unemployment benefits for everyone, not just federal employees. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  23. Caitlin Says:

    Thanks for reading, Renny!~ Caitlin

  24. Ranee Allmon Says:

    I have to say, I enjoy reading your blog. Maybe you could let me know how I can bookmark it ? Also just thought I would tell you I found this site through Bing.

  25. jerry Says:

    if i apply for social securtuity disable and still apply for work can i still collect unemployment benifits

  26. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Jerry! You would need an attorney to make a decision on your situation but generally speaking an employee who is unable to work does not qualify for unemployment. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~Caitlin

  27. john Says:

    I wa laid off in feb of 2009 and collected benefits until about march of 2010 because i could not find work. I finally got a job just as my benefits were due to expire and have been working for over 4 months, but it looks like i might get laid off now. How would that work for unemployment benefits in IL?

  28. Caitlin Says:

    Hi John! There have been several extensions of unemployment benefits, and if you have not exhausted all of them you might qualify for unemployment again. Unfortunately, if you did exhaust all the benefits, you may not have worked long enough to qualify again. HTH,and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  29. Sharon Says:

    I have been working part time teaching at a local college for the last semester collecting unemployment. When the semester ended I did some temporary contract labor so I did not have a break in work until now. There might be a class for me to teach this Spring but possibly not due to some scheduling conflicts I will have the nights of the class. If I now file not working what category would I choose – laid off? since there is so category for temporary work ending. And would I continue to receive my unemployment benefits while I am searching for a full time job. Thanks for your help

  30. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Sharon! The problem is that temporary workers do not qualify for unemployment when the job ends. You may qualify for unemployment benefits based on your previous employer, so try filing as “laid off.” Or, you may want to visit an unemployment office rather than file online. Either way, you must be honest about the work you did and the amounts you were paid, otherwise you are committing fraud. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  31. Nancy Says:

    I was just informed that the company I am (was) working for has closed. I am a part time employee wondering if I am eligible for unemployment?

  32. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Nancy! Many states offer unemployment benefits to part-time workers under some circumstances. It never hurts to apply!~Caitlin

  33. Angi Says:


    currently i am receiving U.I benefits, i was wondering if i take a part time job will i be eligible for partial benefits or do i lose my U. I benefits compeletly. and if i do receive partial benefits for how long will i receive it for, and will i also receive depend allowance in the partial benefits. my weekly benfits are 385 and if i work for 15 hrs my earrings will be around 165 and if i take a 30hrs job it will be around 330. please let me know how much benefits i will be receing for 15hr and 30 hr job.
    Thank you for your time

  34. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Angi! We do not have enough info to tell you exactly what your benefits will be if you take a part-time job. However, you are generally better off with the part-time job than with unemployment alone. You can earn up to 50% of your base benefit without it affecting your unemployment. Over 50%, for every $2 you earn, your benefit is decreased by $1. However, your total benefit amount is still the same, meaning you can collect a smaller amount for longer by working part-time. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  35. Tina Says:

    I have worked for my company for 16yrs full time(40hrs
    a week) As of January 10,they dropped our hrs to 30 hrs
    a week can I collect partial unemployment in the state
    of Illinois?

  36. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Tina! It never hurts to apply, but often an employees income has to be reduced by 50% in order for her to collect unemployment benefits. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  37. LeAndra Grant Says:

    Hi LaVerne, were you a recruiter for a large cable company?

  38. Nell Abram Says:

    I am collecting unemployment after being laid off from my full time job. I am a single mother with dependents. I occasionally earn money from freelance work that is less than my weekly benefit. When I receive partial unemployment — does the amount deducted get tacked on at the end of my eligibility and extend by benefit duration accordingly?

  39. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Nell! Basically the answer is yes. Think of unemployment benefits like a bank account. If you are eligible for $10,000 in benefits this year, and you only use $100 this week, you have $9,900 in benefits left to use. So it is actually in your best interest to earn money while on unemployment, if you can.

    By the way, have you tried Its our favorite freelance website. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  40. Alison Says:

    I am a paraprofessional in a public school district, I am only paid 9 months out of the year. Am I eligable for unemployement the three months out of the year I am not paid?

  41. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Alison! You may be eligible for unemployment benefits. It depends upon the terms of your contract. The only way to find out for sure is to apply for benefits. It is not a painful process, and you should have an answer within a week. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  42. Liz? Says:

    I am a hourly + commission employee- and have not been paid my commission for 2 1/2 months. Would I be able to receive partial unemployment benefits and if I were to quit- because of unpaid wages would I be eligible

  43. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Liz! The answer is a qualified yes. If the employer owes you commission, but has not paid them, and it is a significant amount of money, you would be justified in quitting. The employer is not living up to their end of the bargain when they do not pay you.

    If the employer paid commissions only every 3 months, or your commissions were only $10 total, or the employer said they did not owe you any commission, that would be a different story. But when an Illinois employee quits due to nonpayment, usually they qualify for unemployment. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  44. Jeff Says:

    I have a small electrical company and have 2 employees. One hired end of Oct. He is not really working out and have had several conversations with him. If I fire him, do I owe unemployment benefits to him?

  45. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Jeff! If you simply let this employee go at this time, yes, you will probably end up paying unemployment benefits.
    When an employee loses his job through no fault of his own, he qualifies for unemployment benefits. When an employee quits or is fired for misconduct, generally he does not qualify for unemployment benefits.
    In order to deny unemployment benefits, the IDES usually likes to see at least 3 written warnings to the employee, on the same topic. These warnings should be signed by the employee. They should also relate to an issue the employee has control over. A “personality conflict” or “just not working out” would not qualify, because the employee cannot control these issues. Tardiness or not following established lock-out procedures, or not doing his assigned work would likely qualify as issues the employee had control over. Therefore, if you had 3 warnings for one of these issues, the employee could likely be denied unemployment.
    You have a couple of options. You can terminate the employee now, deny unemployment based on misconduct (poor performance) and hope that he does not appeal it. Or, you can continue to counsel this employee on his performance problems and document each discussion with a written warning, signed by the employee. Each written warning should focus on a specific, objective behavior. Unfortunately, while “he just is not working out” is a valid reason to let an employee go, it is subjective and will result in him collecting unemployment benefits. This is a complex issue, so feel free to post additional questions. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

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