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Unemployment Post-Staffing Agency
March 23, 2011 2:35 PM   Subscribe

Am I likely to get unemployment from a staffing agency?

I've been working for a year for the same company as a contractor. I'm employed by a staffing agency. The contract expires in four weeks.

Yesterday, I was told that the company might extend the contract, which is not something I want. An FTE has left our group and since her departure, I've been doing two jobs, one of which entails the responsibilities of a position two pay grades above mine.

And I have a 30-mile commute in a state with NO public transit. I'm ashamed to say that car payment, gas, insurance and maint/repairs is eating up a little more than 1/4 of what I make right now.

The extension is also yet to be approved. (I'm in the unenviable position I have been for three months of taking time off work to interview, often traveling for this, and losing that income.)

I've spoken to the staffing agency about being paid for the work I'm doing and their attitude is, hey, if you want to negotiate a pay increase, good luck, but we're just interested in getting paid what we do now.

So two things: Can I turn down the new contract and be eligible for unemployment?

Presumably not.

If that contract is not approved, is there anything to prevent the agency from offering me a potentially lower-paying job and claiming that I've turned down employment?

Thanks so much for your help.
posted by brynnwood to Work & Money (7 answers total)
 
AFAIK, if you leave a job voluntarily in most states, you wouldn't be eligible for unemployment no matter who your employer was.
posted by empath at 2:40 PM on March 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yes, if you voluntarily turn down work (or quit a job because it doesn't fit your needs), you won't be eligible for unemployment.
If the contract is not renewed, file for unemployment the first day you are not working.
But if they offer you another job and you don't take it, that information usually gets to the unemployment investigators and you may not be eligible.

For reference if you find yourself between jobs with the same agency:
I am a government employee who is technically a "causal employee" which means I get different assignments... and sometimes none. I filed for unemployment in between my assignments for about a month until I started working there again.
posted by KogeLiz at 2:57 PM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


The requirements will vary where you are, but in my province, I was told I would not be cut off for turning down an offer that paid less than I made during the year preceding my unemployment, or for turning down work that was clearly outside the field I had been working in. (Though they used a pretty broad definition of what was in my field.)

I did once try to make the case that two jobs that both paid $X per hour weren't really equal if one was 10 minutes from my home by bike and the other was clear across the city, but the bureaucrat I was dealing with was not sympathetic to this line of reasoning.
posted by RobotHero at 4:05 PM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


To answer the basic question up top, yes, it is possible to get unemployment after working with a staffing agency. I did a couple years ago. As for your specific case, I don't know.
posted by wondermouse at 5:25 PM on March 23, 2011


>>If that contract is not approved, is there anything to prevent the agency from offering me a potentially lower-paying job and claiming that I've turned down employment?

In some places (not necessarily where you live... which is where?) that an employer's offer to slash your pay like that can be considered good cause to quit or an offer of unsuitable employment that you're not required to take in order to maintain eligibility to collect unemployment.
posted by J. Wilson at 5:09 AM on March 24, 2011


I was told I would not be cut off for turning down an offer that paid less than I made during the year preceding my unemployment,

Nice. I'm guessing you're in Canada.

Stupid U.S. ....
posted by KogeLiz at 8:24 AM on March 24, 2011


Thanks, I've made the jump or move anyway of asking not to have my contract renewed. Most of you can learn from my mistake, assuming it proves such.
posted by brynnwood at 3:13 PM on March 24, 2011


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