Why yes, I do want my UC cake.
July 12, 2010 10:16 AM   Subscribe

There are many askme questions where answers are given that say "Have you asked to be laid off?". Have you or anyone you know done this successfully? My company is not laying off - when people leave or are let go or retire, they are just redistributing duties and not rehiring.

I am preparing to leave my job (finally!). I have not given my two weeks' yet. I have a meeting on Thursday with the temp agency that got me this job. I'm going back to school (finally figured that out too.), so I'm just looking for some PT easy receptionist type stuff which they are happy to help with.

My boss already knows I'm unhappy here. I'm still doing the work and I'm not completely checked out, but he never expected me to stay either (he told me that after i started here - i was just the most capable person they were able to find after 6 months of searching). Working PT here is not an option. That has come up before. I need to be here "in case" something goes wrong so I can be the one to call in the ticket and be a sort of middle-man for the tech. I'm not really a tech of any sort.

I know that their UC insurance might go up if I file a claim, but I have no idea how that works. If I could get UC and go to school, that'd be great. But I'm not going to school for anything related to my job here, so I can't use that as an "excuse" for getting laid off.

I'm not trying to scam the system, but since it's been suggested and some people have said they've done it, I'd like to hear how it worked and what specifically you did/said/etc. How do I even know if my boss is the one I should ask? Since we were nationalized recently, my HR person isn't even in this state. Fun.

(i did search, but most answers were a few years old. i'm looking for anyone who has done this recently and anyone who has done this with a large nonprofit.)
posted by sio42 to Work & Money (13 answers total)
sio42: I'm not trying to scam the system

What, then, do you think you're doing? You're quitting your job for your own reasons (going back to school). You're not entitled to Unemployment Insurance, which is already a scarce resource in the U.S. among those who actually deserve it because they've been legitimately laid off.
posted by mkultra at 10:19 AM on July 12, 2010 [3 favorites]

I do legal compliance work for an insurance carrier which writes workers' compensation policies. Workers' comp. and unemployment aren't the same thing, but they go together often enough that I know a fair amount about both. IANYL, but I can give general information about the way the system works.

It does not appear that you would be eligible for unemployment benefits, for two if not three reasons:

1) You are leaving your employment voluntarily. Unemployment benefits are only available to those who have been involuntarily terminated for reasons unrelated to their performance. You are voluntarily leaving your employer and would thus not be eligible for benefits. Expect even a cursory investigation of your claim to reveal this immediately. The mere fact that you have arranged to go back to school before you left your employer is pretty strong evidence that you're leaving voluntarily.

2) You are going back to school. This is a categorical bar to benefits in most states, but it's also a de facto one, as to be eligible for benefits you need to be both actively looking and available for work. School would almost certainly preclude that.

3) You work for a non-profit. Depending on the nature of the non-profit, they may qualify for an exemption from unemployment insurance. This I'm a lot less confident about, as it would require a lot more information about your employer than I--or you--currently possess. The fact that your employer is organized on a national level may make it more likely that they participate in unemployment, but you should be aware that non-profits get treated a little differently than traditional businesses on this (among other) issues.

Tl;dr: I seriously doubt you can qualify for benefits.
posted by valkyryn at 10:26 AM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: as i said, it's been suggested on here in other answers. i'm curious about people WHO HAVE GONE THIS ROUTE to comment.

in my state, i would qualify for UC even while in school since that would count as being available. my nonprofit does participate in UC.

thank you valkyryn for the technical side. good to know.

i don't understand why 'i'm getting jumped all over when this is the very thing that has been suggested as answer in numerous other questions about jobs.

no one jumped all over the others who said they had worked it out with their boss or suggested that someone ask to be laid off.
posted by sio42 at 10:36 AM on July 12, 2010

Best answer: HR did agree to "lay me off" from a job once; but it was also a hellhole and they knew it. They'd "laid off" a few people who had quit for the sake of their mental health, and gave me the same as a sort of sympathetic farewell.
That said, it's not an easy thing for a company to fake. If they lay you off, it means that position should no longer exist, so they can't hire to replace you unless they redefine and rename the position. I only asked for it the once, and only because that company really, really owed me some peace of mind.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 10:46 AM on July 12, 2010

They have no incentive to offer this to you. Don't expect it.

Mrs. Plinth worked at a place wherein she was getting bullied and reported it and no actions were taken. She gave up and gave up talking to the owner. I met with him and suggested that he had lost her already (which he didn't fully realize) and that he could pick the manner in which she made her exit and that a layoff would be most beneficial for all involved so that she could collect unemployment while regaining her wits. He agreed as the incentive was there.
posted by plinth at 10:48 AM on July 12, 2010

The only person I know who asked to be laid off was the wife of one of our partners at work. Her employer was trying to reduce headcount significantly and as she'd just gone on maternity leave and had no intention to come back afterwards (as the other half had just made partner at my firm) she asked to be considered and got to leave with a nice bit of redudancy pay...however based on your description I wouldn't have thought anybody would make you redundant, why would they pay you to go if you are about to leave anyway?
posted by koahiatamadl at 11:00 AM on July 12, 2010

your company isn't presently laying anyone off. you want to get another job. you're going back to school. why do you feel they owe you a payout?

as to this: Have you or anyone you know done this successfully?

i've known quite a few people who have tried and they all failed except those at places who were already laying people off. some tried to reason with their boss/hr, some tried to scam the unemployment office directly.

ask yourself this : why would your company want to lay you off if they know you already have one foot out the door? if they aren't refilling positions, one would think they aren't excited about hikes to any of their rates, especially a national nonprofit - i mean, layoffs have to be reported as such and effect all sorts of things, an employee quitting has far less impact on them.
posted by nadawi at 11:03 AM on July 12, 2010

People have asked how to negotiate a package to their best advantage when leaving a company that is actively downsizing - e.g. "I know you're giving people 1 month's severance and 1 month's health insurance, but if I go now, would you give me more severance/health insurance/etc." That's a negotiated departure, not scamming the system. In that case, the job was eliminated due to Reduction In Force (RIF). It's to the company's advantage to do this because it *is* easier for them to let someone go than the whole negotiation that's involved every time a position is eliminated.

You just want to get a chunk of cash because you're quitting anyway. It's NOT the same thing. You will not qualify for UC. You are quitting voluntarily. If they don't offer this to you, nothing happens to them. You're still going to leave because you're going to school.

How on earth do you qualify for UC? When thousands and thousands of people are stranded right now because their UC is running out, you're damn right you're going to get attitude about scamming the system.
posted by micawber at 11:10 AM on July 12, 2010 [7 favorites]

For future readers, "2) You are going back to school. This is a categorical bar to benefits in most states, but it's also a de facto one, as to be eligible for benefits you need to be both actively looking and available for work. School would almost certainly preclude that."

In many states you are allowed to be in school while receiving unemployment benefits, usually as part of a retraining incentive, especially if you're coming out of an industry where jobs are disappearing (say, auto workers). I don't know a lot about the specifics of the program in my state, but I routinely sign these forms for students of mine at the community college, who have to prove they are attending X hours of classes and not skipping class to continue to receive their benefits. Generally I have to sign a biweekly form stating that they've been in class on whatever days.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:28 AM on July 12, 2010

Response by poster: thanks everyone.

i was trying to make my question as short as possible.

we've been going thru a lot of restructuring in the last several months and i can see the writing on the wall.

my job will be redundant very soon as the majority of my duties are taken over by other departments due to the way they nationalized our dept.

there's just this whole up in the air thing about it.

my position will most likely eliminated in the next year, no one can give me any yay or nay right now because it's all hush hush. i've just had numerous health and mental problems since starting here that i've asked about in other askemes. i was just trying to keep the post short but now see i probably should have put all that other info in.
posted by sio42 at 11:36 AM on July 12, 2010

Response by poster: also, i meant my title as tongue in cheek because it did seem a bit like this suggesting lay off thing was not quite legit.

but so many people had suggested (and not been jumped on) that it seemed like an ok thing to ask about.

apparently it's not ok and i'm really sorry i asked.
posted by sio42 at 11:49 AM on July 12, 2010

Well I'm glad you realize it's not really legit. I mean, the whole "I could be redundant soon" doesn't matter because you avoided it by leaving, going to school, and hell, even finding other work. You're lucky. Seriously lucky. I mean, you wouldn't get much even if everything went your way because you'd be working part time and that'd count against your benefits.

I probably am biased because I just got my benefits ended with no warning, and I've found nothing in the months I've been laid off (while on maternity leave, no less). I'm going back to school full time too, but it was something that happened after realizing I was never going to find work at anything remotely resembling my previous wage.

I literally have friends unable to pay their rent who have been forced into applying for food stamps because their benefits ended at the same time mine did. People who have worked their whole lives. Please don't give teabaggers and Republicans any anecdotal evidence to stack against lengthening benefits for people who really need it.
posted by kpht at 1:29 PM on July 12, 2010 [2 favorites]

"my position will most likely eliminated in the next year"

Well, you could certainly volunteer the information that, "If you're going to have to lay me off anyway, it would be best for me if you did so by X date so I could adjust my school credit load." Laying people off isn't fun and managers generally would prefer a win-win situation if possible.

I went through something similar recently at my job -- it was rapidly becoming apparent that funding for some of my duties probably wasn't going to be there for the next fiscal year. So I let that manager know that I was indifferent between working full-time/school half-time and working half-time/school full-time, I just needed to know by the week before the semester started so I could adjust my credit load. He was so relieved because he'd been fighting for funding and dreading having to let me know the bad news. End result was I got the news about being cut to half time a month earlier than I would have otherwise, and I was thus able to enroll in more credits this summer and thus make productive use of the time instead of being inconvenienced by the surprise.
posted by Jacqueline at 7:46 PM on July 12, 2010

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