would i be eligible for unemployment?
March 6, 2009 6:38 AM   Subscribe

i gave my two weeks notice at my job in january, and the 30th should have been my last day. still here a month later. question about my inevitable departure and unemployment benefits; more inside.

so in a whirlwind bout of bad judgement in january, i thought i had found a much better opportunity than the one i have now. i provided my two weeks notice in writing on january 16th, and technically the 30th should have been my last day. however, when i met with my boss (who i essentially get along fairly well with), i expressed that if this would leave them in a bad spot, i would be happy to stay onboard in a part time capacity or as needed indefinitely, until they find and train a replacement. my resignation itself (the letter, that is) simply indicated that my resignation would be effective as of the 30th.

my boss talked to HR and got approval for me to continue working part time. about a week and a half later, with the other opportunity having fallen through, i attempted to rescind my resignation, a request they denied.

there has been no further discussion as to when i should expect to not be needed, and i am still working approximately 35 hours a week. some things have gone awry with my work in the last week (not my fault, but i worry that others may not understand that), and while it's possible that i'm being overly paranoid, i worry that i may be let go in the near future. were this to happen, i have no idea how they might spin my dismissal. we have a volunteer working with us right now who i have trained quite a bit and who is currently job hunting (she had applied here and would have been hired, but the position she'd applied for was then relocated to an out-of-state office which she wasn't able to do), and i overhead my boss last week or maybe the week before that on the phone and gathered that they may be gearing up to offer this volunteer my job. i don't believe that offer has been made yet however. other than that, i have no idea how their search for my replacement is going at current.

what i'm wondering is whether i may be able to get unemployment when i'm let go, as technically it will not be voluntary. i understand that i was the one who resigned, and that they had every right to deny my request for a rescission of that resignation. i imagine that when they let me go, even if they were firing me for what they perceive to be incompetence, they might spin it to me as simply having found a replacement and no longer needing my services. no matter how that may inevitably go, if i apply for unemployment, how do you suppose it might pan out? my first thought is that they would immediately point to my letter of resignation, but as they have kept me on board for another month (and counting), how would that pan out between HR and the unemployment people?

thanks mefi!
posted by austere to Work & Money (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: having looked into this a bit, it seems that virginia requires that you be working 40 hours a week, and as i only work 35 at current, i guess that answers my question. thanks anyway!
posted by austere at 7:58 AM on March 6, 2009

Hmm this is sticky. I would say you likely don't qualify for unemployment based on the letter of resignation, though depending on what types of documentation exist for HR's approval of your part-time hours, you might get lucky. I think it is an odd enough situation that it will likely go to a hearing if it is contested on either side (if that's what your state does). If they do replace you and you are out of a job, absolutely apply for benefits and let the state verify the situation with your employer-you never know how it could turn out.

However, if I was in your situation, I'd be looking for a different job-even if you end up getting benefits, it could be a long wait before you see any money...Where I'm from, even very clear cut, no investigation needed claims are backed up pretty far just because of the volume of newly unemployed.
posted by mjcon at 8:04 AM on March 6, 2009

I would say it is worth a try and at least apply for unemployment. You meet with a person to defend why you need it and then the decision goes from there. However I would say expect to be denied. Even if you were working full time, most states require you to have been working a certain amount of time (usually a year) in a job in order to qualify. Since you quit your job and were hired back in a different position, you have only really been working there for a couple months. Also for this current position you are in, your employer is probably not contributing to unemployment insurance on your behalf (and it is probably not being deducted from your paycheck either).
posted by deebs at 9:55 AM on March 6, 2009

If you get laid off you definitely should apply for unemployment. And, while it does say that you need to be working 40, I would imagine that you would still be eligible, especially if you worked 40 hours per week through the last year.

Always, always apply for unemployment including if you think you got fired for specious reasons and especially if your employer did not give you an opportunity to rectify behavior. I say this not just for you but for anyone who reads this looking for advice on this arena.
posted by amanda at 2:39 PM on March 6, 2009

I believe it goes on a quarterly basis, so the hours is not the problem. Instead, it is the resignation. I suggest you apply and appeal and meanwhile keep searching for a new job.
posted by zia at 3:11 PM on March 6, 2009

You voluntarily quit, even if you left after you said you would. When you apply for benefits the state will contact your former employer and inquire about how you left. They will say you resigned, and you will be denied benefits.

In most, if not all states, an person must lose their employment "through no fault of his or her own." If you quit, or do something that causes you to not be able to do your work (i.e. show up drunk, steal form the company) you, in nearly all states, will not be able to collect unemployment insurance.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 5:37 PM on March 9, 2009

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