When Is An Employee Entitled to Unemployment Benefits in New York State?

When Is An Employee Entitled to Unemployment Benefits in New York State?

You may have heard that your employee is not entitled to unemployment benefits if such employee voluntarily quits their job.  However, that is not entirely true in New York State.  There are circumstances where, even if an employee voluntarily resigns, the employer may have to pay unemployment benefits to the resignee, if such resignation was based upon good cause. 

Statutory “Good Cause”

As previously mentioned, an employee may be able to qualify for unemployment insurance, even after voluntarily leaving a job, if the separation was for good cause.  There may be other circumstances that could be found to constitute good cause,  however, the law provides for the following specific circumstances: (1) where circumstances arise that would have allowed the employee to refuse employment when first offered, as provided for in New York Labor Law § 593.2; (2) a collective agreement or written employer plan which permits an employee to elect to take a temporary layoff when there is a slowdown in work and the employer consented to that election; (3) a compelling family reason; (4) jeopardy to their safety due to domestic violence; (5) to provide care to an ill or disabled immediate family member; (6) to accompany their spouse to a place where it would be impractical to commute due to a change in their spouse’s employment; and (7) to provide child care for their own child after making reasonable efforts and being unsuccessful.  In fact, the New York State Unemployment Division has found that leaving a stable job for another position may constitute good cause; hence, as an employer you may be responsible for this former employee’s unemployment benefits if that employee does not last at his new job.

If you are an employer, you must remember to stay up to date on changes in unemployment benefits because this may impact the manner in which you handle layoffs, reduction in hours or terminations.

Please note that this blog should be read for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice.  If you have any questions or require additional information, please contact our office. 

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