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Oct10

When given a pay cut and reduced hours, can employees file for partial unemployment?

Our company has just closed our 401K, is ending our insurance stipend Jan/09, eliminated parking, imposed a 10% pay cut and reduced some employees to three days a week.
Many of our employees work a base salary plus commission position. Their pay has now been cut by approx. 45%. Yet the employer continues to designate which days they must be present and wants them to work non-paid days to finish projects etc. The company also wants to erase vacation days earned. They will not lay the employees off, they want them to quit. OUCH!!!

To answer your first question, yes, in almost every state, an employee whose hours have been cut significantly, can collect partial unemployment benefits. Employees who quit because their working conditions, hours or salary have changed significantly are often eligible for unemployment, as well.

Everything was kosher in your post until we got to the non-paid work days. Oops! As the economy tanks, many companies are implementing some of the measures you discuss. They are reducing hours worked, salaries and benefits. Employers can certainly still schedule workers at the employes convenience — even though the employees are working fewer hours than before.

However, it is a violation of the federal FLSA, the Fair Labor Standards Act, for an employer to require employees to work on unpaid days. To put it another way, employers must pay workers for all time worked. This means if the employee is hourly, he or she must be paid for all hours worked. If the employee is salaried, he or she must be paid the full salary for every day in which they perform any work at all.

One easy way for this employer to save money would be to cut commissions. It appears that the employer has not done so, which indicates they are trying to do the right thing by their employees.

Many employees would percieve this as an attempt to get them to quit — but it is probably not. Employers facing an economic crunch are simply trying to stay in business until times get better. Any employee who is considering quitting should send out resumes instead. The employee may find that there are few jobs available that are better than the one they have.

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This entry was posted on Friday, October 10th, 2008 at 7:08 am and is filed under
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65 Responses to “When given a pay cut and reduced hours, can employees file for partial unemployment?”

  1. Jill Lehrer Says:

    I have worked 25-30 hours regularly for the past 5 years. I am paid hourly plus retention pay. My empolyer has stopped paying the retention part of my pay which impacts my pay about 30%. Can I collect partial unemployment for the reduction in pay?

  2. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Jill! No, simply earning a lower salary while working the same hours does not qualify an employee for unemployment. From a legal perspective, the employee has not lost work, she has simply accepted a lower salary. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  3. anita Says:

    i have a similar question
    i am now working part time after coming in from maternity leave because i am breast feeding and i ask my employer to give me part time work
    3 weeks after i had part time they called me and told me that since my hours available changed and i was no longer full time i was going to have to get paid part time pay which is 2 dollars less an hour than my regular pay
    now i want to know if i refuse the pay cut and apply for unemployment can i collect
    i will really like just to stay home for a couple of more month taking care of my baby even though i know that unemployment money is not a lot i rather stay home and get unemployment than work and have all the responsibilities and get paid less money

  4. Caitlin Says:

    Hi anita! Many new mothers face this challenge. It is much more difficult to return to work full-time with a tiny baby, than anticipated. Unfortunately, you probably will not qualify for unemployment benefits. This is because you are the one changing the working arrangement (by requesting part-time work), not the employer. Apparently, if you were willing to return to work full time at your full wage, they have a job for you.

    Your employer is actually trying to be generous. They could simply tell you that you must return to work full-time, or be fired.

    If you were terminated from your job due to poor attendance because you had no child care (or another reason not under your control) you might qualify for unemployment benefits. But when you quit, or choose to work part-time, you do not qualify for unemployment. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  5. Odette Says:

    i have been working for a retail store for two years, i started as a sales associate after 8 months promoted to keyholder, then a new store manager took my store and with new team she did give my position to one of her friends, she never told me anything about my situation, i used to work between 30 to 40 hours per week as a part time then with the new manager i just work 15 or less hours per week and now im paying for college. Can i apply for partial unemployment??

  6. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Odette! Yes, you can apply for unemployment based on the fact that you were working 30 -40 hours per week and now you are working 15 hours per week. If the employer tries to deny it, appeal that decision and you will probably win.

    Unfortunately, the fact that you are now paying for college has nothing to do with your eligibility for unemployment. But kudos to you for going to school! It will pay off in the long run. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  7. Odette Says:

    thanks Caitlin very helpful information but now what is my next step shoul i apply online or do i need to go to the unemployment office here, im from el paso texas, there are many unemployment webpages and i dont know which to seltc to apply can you help me please??

  8. Caitlin Says:

    Hi again Odette! You can apply for unemployment online at http://www.twc.state.tx.us/ui/uiclaim.html or, go to the nearest office in person. It is a fairly painless experience. Again, if you are denied benefits, appeal that decision. More info on appeals at: http://www.twc.state.tx.us/ui/appl/at_main.html HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

    Read more at: http://www.twc.state.tx.us/

  9. Janet Says:

    Catlin,
    I have been on salary for several years, working above the required 45 hours a week for several of those years without compensation. About 3 months ago I began college. I still work the required 45 hour weeks, 5 – 9 hour days, but because I no longer have 24/7 availability, my owner is telling me I have to take a pretty big pay cut and go down to an hourly manager. The responsibilities will remain the same, but the pay will not. Can I file for partial unemployment. I have tried to work my schedule around the job and I have not asked for a reduction in hours. If I quit college, then I remain on salary. Can you please steer me in the right direction. Thank you a head of time. Janet

  10. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Janet! Unfortunately, there is no perfect solution here. The employer is not very enlightened — many employers would be happy to see an employee going to school. In this case, the employer can require a manager to be available 24/7, or to work more than 45 hours per week. In fact, an exempt employee can be required to work 80, 100 or more hours per week without additional compensation. Unfortunately, the schedule you worked in the past is now the minimum the employer expects. For them, 45 hours is no longer enough.

    Sadly, you will not qualify for unemployment if you accept the hourly position with lower pay. Nor will you qualify for unemployment if you quit rather than accept the position, because your old exempt position is still available. You will have to decide if you will stay in school and become an hourly employee, or quit school and remain exempt. If there are good employment prospects in the field you are studying, and you can get by on the hourly wage, you may be better off staying in school. (Besides, we hate to see you work for this draconian employer forever.) HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  11. Pete Says:

    Caitlin,
    I am in a sales position with base plus commission. My employer just informed me that they are changing the compensation structure by reducing my base pay by 50% immediately and eliminating my base pay next year. They have also asked me to sign a rather broad non-compete agreement at the same time. If I do not want to work under these conditions, would I be able to collect unemployment in Pennsylvania while I find new employment? Thanks for your time !!

  12. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Pete! We cannot comment specifically on your situation because we do not know all the details. But generally speaking, an employee who quits due to a 50% reduction in pay, would qualify for benefits. Assuming he has worked long enough, earned enough money to qualify, etc. The situation would be more complicated if the commission rate were increased and expected to make up for the difference in base salary, based on sales in the previous year or two. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  13. rudy Says:

    my wifes hours wre reduced from 37 to 29 with a pay cut as well..No one else in her office took a pay cut.
    Is she eligible for unemployment benefits.She told her boss that a pay cut was unacceptable.Last year another employeee who was fired collected unemployment. my wifes Boss said he would not pay unemployment again. I think he just wanted her to quit which she did because of the reduced hours and being the only one to take a pay cut. Can she collect unemployment??

  14. Caitlin Says:

    Hi rudy! The only way your wife will know for sure if she qualifies for unemployment is to file a claim. However, many times when an employee quits rather than accept a significant reduction in hours or salary, she qualifies for unemployment benefits.

    No employer likes to pay unemployment benefits — but it is really not up to the employer. If your wife is denied unemployment benefits, she should appeal.

    If the employer took this action to get rid of her, she may also have a discrimination case that she could report to the EEOC at http://www.eeoc.gov. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  15. Christopher Says:

    Similar question here: I work for minimum wage plus commissions and last year I made about $40K. This year my commission plan has changed for the worse and the environment of our market has been thrown off by some new technology which my company offers and I am required to sell. However the commission rates for the new technology are near zero and the sales from the other products we sell are suffering. I am performing as well as last year as a salesperson but as a result of the aforementioned changes I am trending to make less than $20K this year and I have to do something about it. I need to be able to support my family. Any advice?

  16. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Christopher! Unfortunately, neither your hours nor your base pay has been reduced, so you do now qualify for unemployment benfits. You are still employed full time, you are just expecting to earn less this year than last year.
    The only solutions we can suggest are that you look for a better job, take a second job, or start your own business (perhaps part-time.) Unfortunately, there is no safety net in place to guarantee that you will earn the same amount you did last year. It may be possible to find a commissioned sales job in another field, or with another company that has a better commission structure. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  17. Rich Klein Says:

    My salary has been reduced by 40% but not my hours, If I quite can I collect unemployent due to the substancial pay reduction.

  18. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Rich! Because you are still employed full time, you do not qualify for partial unemployment while working. When an employee quits rather than accept a significant reduction in wages, usually the employee qualifies for unemployment benefits. However, if you work even one day under the new arrangement, you have accepted it and no longer qualify. In this economy, you are probably better off with a job, while you look for something better. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  19. Steven Says:

    Recently my employer merged two companies together and my hours were reduced from 60-65 hours a week to 35-40 hours a week which resulted in a 30 to 35 thousand dollar pay cut. I was bumped by seniority of merged employees. The job I lost was a guaranteed 90 to 95 thousand $ a year job to a 55 to 60 thousand dollar a year guaranteed job. Can I get partial unemployment or is there any goverment assistance. I tried taking a 401k hardship withdrwal but it was recomended that i didnt do this because i dont fit IRS criteria.

  20. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Steven! If you were an hourly employee working 65 hours of week and being paid overtime, you may be able to collect partial unemployment benefits because your hours have been cut.

    However, if you were a salaried exempt employee, you will not qualify for unemployment benefits. From their point of view, you are still employed full time — you are just working for a lower salary. (The employer could have reduced your salary but left your hours the same.) Unfortunately, there is no government assistance available for someone who makes $55,000 per year. Even with a family of 10, you would exceed the federal income guidelines for assistance. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  21. brian Says:

    i work for a retail manager full time 40 plus hours aweek. i rescently filed a harassment claim issue with our HR department, and now my boss wants me to work hours i am unable to work, and is trying to force me to step down, so i would go from 40 hours a week to 20 hours and go from $14.00 an hour to min wage $8.50, so if i take the demotion can i file unemployeement for the difference? i know the harassment peice has nothing to do with the question however its is a true part of the story. thank you

  22. Caitlin Says:

    hi brian! Actualy, the harrassment piece may havwe a lot to do with the story. If the regional manager is taking this action partly because you filed a complaint with HR, that is illegal retaliation. Retaliation is a separate type of illegal discrimination, and you would be within your rights to file a complaint with HR or the EEOC over it.
    To answer your question, no, if you accept a demotion at a lower rate you will not qualify for unemployment. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~Caitlin

  23. abdi Says:

    I have been working my company for 16 yrs , 14 of those yrs I was truck driver making $46000 a year with same truck which had bad clutch last few yrs. I got hurt my left foot and my doctor said it was cause from driving.
    My truck and could not drive again truck with clutch. Company put me in different position while I was going treatment and sent me to their own doctor which at end said the injury was medical disease not work related injury. L& I dined my claim.

    I was doing supervisory position for last year and half and I was told that I have to take 3 dollars pay cut per hour what can I do ? Help

  24. Caitlin Says:

    Hi abdi! You can find a personal injury lawyer and sue the company, claiming the bad clutch caused your medical condition. Or, you can simply accept the salary reduction. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~Caitlin

  25. Tamara Says:

    Hi
    I was working as a manager at a retail store, but due to other new management and alot of other things, I decided I had to leave. I have found another job, but the hours are alot less than at my previous job. What are the chances I can still get even partial unemployment?
    Thank You!

  26. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Tamara! The chances are pretty much zero that you will qualify for unemployment benefits after quitting your job.
    Here is how the unemployment agency will look at it: You are not unemployed. You chose to leave your former job for a job with shorter hours and a lower salary. They will see this as something that you had control over. Unemployment is only for rpeople who are out of work through no fault of their own. Unless there are other details you have not mentioned, you will not qualify for unemployment.
    If your curent employer promised you 40 hours per week and is not giving you only 25 or 30 hours per week, you may qualify for unemployment from your curent employer. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  27. lisa Says:

    Please help! I have worked at my workplace for the last 11 years and earn 46,000 salaried per year working full time 42 hours per week. They are having major budget problems and I have heard my job may be cut part-time to 20-25 hours per week. This would reduce my monthly/yearly salary approx in half. Would I be eligible to collect part-time unemployment benefits while I search for a new full time position? What would be the maximum amount of time I could collect benefits before the money runs out?

  28. Caitlin Says:

    Hi lisa! If your salary is cut with no corresponding reduction in hours, you would not qualify for unemployment. If your hours are reduced to part-time, in most cases you would qualify for partial unemployment benefits. Your unemployment benefits would be about half of the full benefit. If the full benefit in your area is $500 per week, you might receive $250 per week. In most cases, you can collect that $250 twice as long, until your entire benefit runs out.
    It is very important to remember this: If you quit rather than accept a significant change in wages or working conditions, you will qualify for (full) unemployment benefits. However, if you work even one day under the new arrangement and then quit, you will not qualify for unemployment. Still, you are better off working part-time if that is available. Currently unemployment benefits run up to 52 weeks in most states. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  29. Cheryl Says:

    I work fulltime/40hrs a week. I have recently been advised that I will be going parttime/20hrs a week. I make 75000 a year. I am not eligible for unemployment for the hours not worked as I still make more money than the maximum benefit. Unfortunately, I will not be able to afford my living expenses and will not have a place to live after I get evicted and a car after it gets repossessed. I want to quit my job instead of working parttime. I am all alone in this state and I have no one to help me out. If I move back to my home state then I can move in with family until I find a job. That is why I need to quit my job and collect unemployment as opposed to working parttime/20 hours.

  30. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Cheryl! We wish we could wave a magic wand and make you eligible for unemployment. Unfortunately, that is not possible if you do not meet the other criteria. You did not actually ask a question, but here are some issues for you to consider:
    If you have not yet begun to work part-time, you can quit rather than accept the new arrangement. You will qualify for unemployment benefits (assuming that you meet the other criteria) because the employer has made significant changes in your working conditions.You can then move back to your hometown and collect unemployment there. However, that may not be a rosy scenario — many adults are finding that unlike a short-term visit, living with relatives long-term is an awkward situation. And of course, you are currently earning more than you would receive on unemployment.
    However, if you work even one day under the new part-time arrangement, you have accepted it. If you quit after that point, you will not qualify for unemployment benefits. Sadly, unemployment only provides benefits when someone is out of work through no fault of their own.
    Before you decide to quit, though, consider this: It is much, much easier to find a job when you already have a job. That has always been true, but the EEOC reports a huge rise in discrimination against the unemployed in the current recession. So you may be shooting yourself in the foot by quitting your job.
    Our recommendation would be that you continue to work 20 hours per week for about $37,000 per year. Spend 20 hours per week looking for a better job, or even a similar job in your old hometown where you have a better support system in place. You could also use that time to do freelance work or start your own business, if you have ever wished to do so. Any of these strategies will likely be more effective long-term, rather than simply quitting.
    You might want to look at this a different way. The solution might be to reduce your expenses, rather than quitting your job. There are people who live on $37,000 per year — in fact, there are single parents who raise one or two children successfully on that income. You are an intelligent, resourceful woman. If they can live on that, you can live on that. If you have a mortgage, you may have to sell your house or find a roommate to share expenses. You may need to sell your car and buy a cheaper, used model.Contact creditors, explain the situation to them and see if they will work with you. Find creative ways to reduce expenses. (Consider buying private health insurance at ehealthinsurance.com rather than paying for COBRA, which can be more expensive. But only decline COBRA after you have been approved for other insurance.) If you find a better job or are returned to full-time, you will be able to put 50% of your earnings in the bank or use it to pay off debt. Ultimately, you may be able to turn this setback into a positive experience. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~Caitlin

  31. Kate Says:

    My employer went bankrupt recently, but the grant my program runs through is still intact. The program will now be run by the school district, but they are insisting we take a pay cut and reapply for our jobs. I have already been cut hours this year, by my previous employer (getting paid less than half, until I started this program only 2 months ago). I cannot make my bills under the new cut anymore than I could the last. To make matters worse, I will have to go on Maternity leave in two months. What is the best option for my family? Do I reapply only to not make ends meet or file for unemployment?

  32. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Kate! You have to assess what is best in your situation. However, many people find they are better off working at any job, rather than going on unemployment. Remember that you may have to pay more for health insurance if you are no longer employed. Either way, you are likely to be laid off when you go on maternity leave, and can collect unemployment once you are physically able to return to work. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~Caitlin

  33. Jason Says:

    Hi Caitlin, this is my question:

    I have been working in this place for about 3 months, I was offered a full time position earning $25 an hour, since I started to work however I could accumulate at best 50 hours every two weeks.

    Today my supervisor told me that my salary is going to be reduced from $25 to $17, and they cannot do anything about the 40 hours. They also had me sign the agreement for this reducction.

    Before this job I have been working uninterrupted for the past 2 years.

    If I quit because of these new parameters can I be eligible for unemployment compensation?

  34. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Jason!
    Unfortunately, you probably will not be eligible for unemployment if you quit at this point, because of the agreement that you signed.
    An employer has the right to make a significant change in working conditions or wages, without the employees agreement. The employer simply has to tell the worker — which your employer has done. If you had quit without signing the agreement, you would have qualified for unemployment benefits. However, if you had worked even one day under the new arrangement, you have accepted them and would not qualify for unemployment if you quit. By the same token, in signing the agreement, you agreed to the new terms of employment.
    You can certainly apply for partial unemployment based upon the fact that you are not working full time, but our best bet is that it will be denied because you signed this agreement.
    This may be a blessing in disguise. You are better off working part-time than not working at all, in this economy. Your best bet is to use the extra time each week to look for a new, full-time job. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  35. Teri Says:

    My company hired me on at $48,000+ commission a year. Since then my position has changed 7 times. My most recent position no longer exists. They offered me a lesser position, the company changed its name, and lowered my pay to $14,400 +commission. Do I qualify for underemployment or unemployment?

  36. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Teri! Unfortunately, if you are currently working full-time for $14,400, you do not qualify for unemployment or underemployment benefits.
    An employee is entitled to partial unemployment, also called “underemployment benefits” when the employer schedules her for fewer hours in the week. If you were an hourly employee whose schedule was suddenly changed from 40 hours per week to 20 hours per week, you would qualify for these benefits. You do not qualify for these benefits when you accept a full-time job at a lower salary.
    Because you are still employed, you also do not qualify for unemployment benefits. Each time the company significantly changes your salary or working conditions,you have the option to decline the new arrangement. When you do so, you have quit your job, due to the new conditions. Because you have quit due to a change the employer made, you qualify for unemployment benefits. However, if you work even one day under the new arrangement, you have accepted the new job. If you quit after that point, you do not qualify for unemployment benefits.
    If you have not yet worked one day at the $14,400 salary, you can decline that job and will probably qualify for unemployment benefits. However, if you have worked at least one day, that option is not available. Because the economy is still soft, you may be better off working at the lower salary while you look for a better job. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  37. terri heaton Says:

    hi, my husband is a town marshall in a very small indiana town, his pay was cut by 15 percent last wk, his PERF (retirement) has also been stopped.He is salary, his pay was cut but not his hrs of 40. He is the head of his dept ( the only person) his pay is budgeted by the state, with his wages going into the general fund ( is this legal). Other empoyees took cuts also, but thier PERF retirment was not stopped and thier paycuts were NOT 15 percent. He has more job time with the town, than any other empoyee (17 yrs). Is an of this legal? could you tell me who we should contact? thank you

  38. hrlady Says:

    Hi Terri,

    I would have your husband contact the person in charge of human resources and discuss his situation. A company can reduce a salary, that is legal.
    Sometimes, when a pay is cut substantially, you can collect unemployment, however, in this situation a 15% salary reduction would probably not constitute a substantial reduction. But he can certainty contact unemployment about a partial benefit.

    Thank You for reading the HumanResourceblog.com

  39. Brandy Says:

    My husband works at a manufacturing plant. He started at 12.95 plus 1 dollar an hour per time on the forklift. 8 months into the job they cut his pay to 10 dollars an hour. He was given about a 2 week notice of the pay cut and when he recieved it he notified his HR that the day they cut his pay he was done. He quit the day the pay cut went into effect. Will he be eligible for unemployment?

  40. hrlady Says:

    Hi Brandy,

    Normally, if you quit your job you are not eligible for unemployment benefits. Your husband may want to check with the unemployment office for your state. For example, in Illinois if your employer significantly reduced your pay, you may have a claim. In Illinois they evaluate each case to determine whether a reduced wage was enough to warrant an unemployment claim. Typically, it must be a significant amount of a reduction.

    It is usually not a good idea to quit a job unless you have another job waiting. A company can reduce an employee’s salary with proper notification.

    Thank you for reading the Humanresourceblog.com

  41. Patricia Says:

    Hello would I qualify for unemloyment? I work 40 hrs a week and my employer is now looking into cutting back on employee compensation during certain (basically now putting me on as seasonal)and is looking to cut my hrs down from 40 hrs a week to 12 hrs a week? First can they cut back that much? second would I qualify to receive unemployment to make up for the lost hrs? Ive worked for them for 8yrs.

  42. hrlady Says:

    Hi Patricia,

    Yes, your employer can reduce your hours legally. You should ask your employer for the reason for the reduction.

    Each state determines the amount of partial unemployment benefits for a work week of less than full-time work if earning is less than a certain amount. Depending on which state you live in, it does appear that you would be eligible for partial unemployment benefits based on a 70% reduction of hours.

    You should contact your local unemployment office for eligibility requirements.

    Thank you for reading the humanresourceblog.com

  43. Annette Johnson Says:

    An employee has requested a position with less responsibilities and she no longer wishes to be responsible to handle a book of business. Currently to perform her job she must be licensed and has a book of business that she is responsible to handle. One of the factors in her current salary relates to what she is responsible to handle. If she has less responsibilities, can her salary be reduced accordingly? If her salary is reduced, can she qualify for unemployment since she is the one to request less work responsibilities? If her salary may be reduced, is there a limit/percentage in Texas that her salary may be reduced?

  44. hrlady Says:

    Hi Annette,
    If you have another position which the employee can either bid on or be placed in, then yes you can reduce her salary. If the employee has an agreement or contract, you should change the agreement or contract to reflect the new position, duties and salary.
    It appears that this new position, with less responsibilities is a lower job grade, you should discuss with the employee the salary reduction, when it will become effective, and when she will start in this new position. If the employee is currently exempt and will stay exempt she must not earn less than $455.00 per week. If her salary falls below this threshold then the position is probably non-exempt.
    As far as collecting unemployment, the employee will probably not be eligible for benefits. In Texas, an individual is not considered unemployed and is not eligible to receive benefits for any benefit period during which the individual works the individual’s customary full time hours, regardless of the amount of wages the individual earns during the benefit period. She should contact the unemployment office directly for more information.
    Thank you for reading the Humanresourceblog.com

  45. debbie Says:

    I have been a salaried employee for the past 10 years with my present employer. I originally worked 8 days a week/40 plus hrs. 3 years ago I was reduced to 4 days a week/32 hrs. I recently found out that beginning Jan 1 I would no longer be salaried but instead commission only which will reduce my salary by 50 percent. They tell me I will still be an employee and not an independent contractor. Can I collect unemployment for the difference in pay or can I quit and collect unemployemnt. To add to this,the company is in very bad financial condition. my employer has bounced pay checks, and has done other illegal things with clients funds. Please advise.

  46. hrlady Says:

    Hi Debbie,

    Each state has their own rules regarding unemployment compensation. Typically however, you can’t collect unemployment if you quit your job. But if you quit for a “good cause” you may be able to collect. “Good Cause” is also determined by your state unemployment office. Before you decide to quit, check with your state’s unemployment office to determine your eligibility for unemployment benefits. If you decide to quit, and file for unemployment, you will be able to make a case for why you quit.

    As far as partial benefits, depending on the number of hours or pay that has been reduced you may be eligible. Again you should check with your states unemployment office.

    Thank you for reading the Humanresourceblog.com

  47. Mike Says:

    Hi, I was just laid off from my job for about a week. Now ive heard they are going to call me back to work with about a 22% pay cut and I will no longer be a manager. I will be an entry level person. If I dont accept the job will I still be able to collect unemploment? Im from PA.. thabks for your help

  48. Richard Says:

    Hi, my wife works for a company 5 days a week at $18/hour. Three days a week she works in the office, the other two days she works from home. She was hired under this condition, as we have 2 small children and can not afford full time daycare.

    Recently her company said she must either come into the office 5 days a week at her same pay OR she can work part time, 24 hours a week at a reduced pay ($14.00/hour).

    The full time 5 days in the office does not work with our childcare and makes childcare unaffordable. If she refuses the full time spot and accepts the part time job, would she qualify for UI?

    If she refused both jobs, and quit, would she be eligible for UI?

    Thanks…

  49. liz Says:

    hi am listed as a part time employee who worked fulltime hours and now my hours are getting cut from 40 to about 25 hours a week….am I eligible for unemployment.

  50. Dawn Says:

    My fiancé works 40 hrs a week and it drops down to 30 hrs a week due to their census. He makes 20 dollars an hr. Can he file for employment during those times his hrs are cut?

  51. hrlady Says:

    Hi Mike,

    In Pennsylvania, one of the reasons that may make you ineligible for benefits is if you fail, without good cause, to accept an offer of suitable work or refuse a referral to a job opportunity. Because you are refusing work you probably will not be able to collect.

    You should contact the unemployment office and discuss your situation; you may be eligible for partial benefits depending on the amount of a reduction in salary.

    Thank you for reading the Humanresourceblog.com.

  52. C Says:

    My employer cut my base pay by about $1800 per month knowing a slowdown in our business was coming over the winter months. Economy has been tough on our business the last few years and we have been scraping by, but we spend most of the year making up for the slowdown in the winter months. He did say that he would increase commissions but sales cycle is quite long so I am left with a big hole. Partial unemployment benefits?

  53. hrlady Says:

    Hi Richard,

    If your wife’s quits her job she would not be eligible for unemployment. However she can check with the unemployment office to see with a reduction of hours she would be eligible for partial benefits.

    If you are paying for part time child care, a good option for your wife may be to work from home the reduced hours, and then no childcare would be required.

    Thank you for reading the Humanresourceblog.com

  54. hrlady Says:

    Hi Liz,

    Each state determines the eligibility for unemployment benefits, including partial unemployment benefits. You should contact your state unemployment office and discuss your situation. You may be eligible for partial benefits.

    Thank you for reading the Humanresourceblog.com

  55. hrlady Says:

    Hi Dawn,

    Each state determines the eligibility for unemployment benefits, including partial unemployment benefits. You should contact your state unemployment office and discuss your situation. Your fiance may be eligible for partial benefits.

    Thank you for reading the Humanresourceblog.com

  56. hrlady Says:

    Hi C,

    Each state determines the eligibility for unemployment benefits, including partial unemployment benefits. You should contact your state unemployment office and discuss your situation. You may be eligible for partial benefits.

    Thank you for reading the Humanresourceblog.com

  57. Jessica Says:

    Hi! I have been working for a hotel for 2.5 years now, just recently a new management group has taken over and I am wondering if they are allowed to cut my pay/salary? I have been on salary for over a year now and am the Front Office Manager. Is it possible for them to come in and reduce pay to min. wage and do away with salary?

    Thanks in advance!

  58. hrlady Says:

    Hi Jessica,

    Yes, the new employer can reduce your wages and change your title. If you refuse to agree to a reduction in salary, then the employer can terminate your employment.

    Thank you for reading the Humanresourceblog.com

  59. Mary Says:

    Hello,
    I was hired to work 5 days a week 26-28 hours. My boss reduced my hours to 18 due to “exessive” absenteeism. Can i refuse the change in hours? Are they onligated to give me this in writing or is simply informing me enough? I have been the only one whose hours have been reduced due to absenteeism do i qualify for unemployment or a discrimanation case?

  60. hrlady Says:

    HI Mary,

    Excessive absenteeism cost companies millions of dollars per year. Lost productivity, other employees have to pick up the slack increasing their workloads, customers are not satisfied, and it hurts the bottom line of a company.

    With that said, some employers will terminate employees for excessive absenteeism, reducing your hours was an advance notice of what can happen. If you refuse your change in hours, that is really a notice of resignation, and you probably will not be able to collect unemployment, since it was in effect, your fault for the reduction.

    Excessive absenteeism on the part of the employee is not discrimination. It is a disciplinary action, brought on by your absenteeism.

    In order to avoid any future problems with your employer, reduce your absenteeism.

    Thank you for reading the Humanresourceblog.com.

  61. Eloise Says:

    If someone has been given a 30 day notice of hourly rate decrease due to economy and they except, when would this notice go in affect if they work a Mon-Fri. schedule. Do you count the weekend in the 30 days or just the days that you work.

  62. hrlady Says:

    Hi Eloise,
    Typically, the decrease would start after 30 business days which is Monday through Friday. For clarification you should speak to your supervisor or Human Resource Department.
    Thank you for reading the Humanresourceblog.com

  63. rick m Says:

    Hello:
    My wife was just informed that her position , pay and hours would be cut. she was making $22 per hour basede on a 40 hour week. she was just offeres $14.50 per hour for a 36 hour work week,
    Is she now eligible for a underemployment benefit?
    We live in Ohio

  64. hrlady Says:

    Hi Rick,
    Your wife should contact the unemployment office in your area. Eligibility for partial benefits depends on a few factors, typically the amount of reduction in hours and pay. A reduction to 36 hours from 40 hours does not sound significant; however the unemployment office can offer additional information.
    Thank you for reading the Humanresourceblog.com

  65. AmyL Says:

    I was notified today that the childcare company I work for is considering to “not budget for (my) position for the next fiscal year due to low enrollment.” I am currently salaried at 32k working generally a 50-60 hr work week. If they offer me another position it will likely take me from a management position to a teachers position which is hourly and ranges $9-14/hr. additionally the max hrs weekly would be reduced to 40 hrs. On top of the above, I would experience a drop in my childcare discount benefit of 75% down to 50% (at $220/week for care this is a significant increase in expenditures.
    IF this were to actually occur would I qualify for unemployment should I refuse the position and not work under the prescribed changes?

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