Can I negotiate pay with employer who pays into my unemployment insurance?
January 27, 2009 7:05 PM   Subscribe

How much leeway do I have in negotiating the pay rate of an assignment from an employer that pays into my unemployment benefits (under Oregon laws)?

I got laid off by an employer. Right now I'm on unemployment holding out for a pay rate that I'll call $X/hour, from any company in the field. The last rate this employer paid me was $X-7/hour. Being that they're one of the companies that pays into my unemployment insurance, and, AFAIK, I lose UI benefits if I refuse a re-hire offer from them, how much negotiation power do I have to demand a higher rate were they to offer to re-hire me? Is it even possible? Or do I have to take what they give me, even if it's rate $X, which was less than what I'm worth? Oregon law applies here.
posted by wastelands to Work & Money (5 answers total)
I'd think you'd find your answer somewhere here:

They may also have a phone hotline. I don't know Oregon law. I know that in Vermont you need to accept (X-7)*90% or lose benefits and after (a month I think) you need to accept (X-7)*80%. Both cases assuming you were offered comparable work.

Bottom line: if I were your former employer, offered you your job back at the same rate of pay you had been working for, and you refused - I'd definitely challenge your taking benefits (which increases the tax rate I need to pay).

Now, it may be that you were underpaid and they now realize that they want you back. If that is the case, you may be able to negotiate something better. But it should be based on the actual value you can sell to them, don't use the unemployment benefits to hold out for trading up.
posted by meinvt at 7:37 PM on January 27, 2009

(Also, if you can really get a job for $X, why not do the work for now anyway, even if it is at $X-7? It should beat the income from UI, and you can be clear with them from the re-start that when a better offer comes along you'll vamoose. Even if you gave two week's notice in the long picture it wouldn't impact much.)
posted by meinvt at 7:40 PM on January 27, 2009

Response by poster: Yes, I was being vastly underpaid, which is why it'd be so crappy to have to accept work from them again. This company's notorious for underpaying employees. But that's a good point about taking it anyway until something better comes along.
posted by wastelands at 8:39 PM on January 27, 2009

If you're "worth" $X, why not go and get a job for $X with some other employer? If there is nobody who's actually willing to hire you for $X, you may need to rethink your assumption.
posted by jon1270 at 2:24 AM on January 28, 2009

Mod note: a few comments removed - don't insult everyone, thanks
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:56 AM on January 28, 2009

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