Can a employer deny unemployment benefits in Alabama when you quit to care for an ill family member.

by Marcia
(Montgomery, Alabama)

I recently quit my job to take care of my mother she had triple bypass surgery. My employer knew of my situation and wanted me to return to work I informed her that I had to stay home and take care of her. She also said that she will fight anyone who tries to file for benefits. Also I haven't received my last check . Please help.


Hi Marcia,

It is never the employer that denies unemployment benefits...it is the State.

The following is from Alabama's unemployment code (section 25-4-78)

(2) VOLUNTARILY QUITTING WORK. If he has left his most recent bona fide work voluntarily without good cause connected with such work.

a.1. However, he shall not be disqualified if he was forced to leave work because he was sick or disabled, notified his employer of the fact as soon as it was reasonably practicable so to do, and returned to that employer and offered himself for work as soon as he was again able to work; provided, however, this exception shall not apply if the employer had an established leave-of-absence policy covering sickness or disability and:

(i) The individual fails to comply with same as soon as it is reasonably practicable so to do; or

(ii) Upon the expiration of a leave of absence shall fail to return to said employer and offer himself for work, if he shall then be able to work, or if he is not then able to work, he fails to so notify his employer of that fact and request an extension of his said leave of absence as soon as it is reasonably practicable so to do.

2. In case of doubt that an individual was sick or disabled, or as to the duration of any such sickness or disability, the director may, or if the employer requests it, the director shall require a doctor's certificate to establish the fact or facts in doubt.

3. An established leave-of-absence policy shall be any leave-of-absence policy covering sickness and disability communicated to the employee by the customary means used by the employer for communicating with his employees.

4. Nothing herein shall be construed or interpreted as authorizing the payment of benefits to any person during, or for, unemployment due to sickness or disability or during any period in which he is on a leave of absence granted in accordance with an established leave-of-absence policy, the duration of which leave was set in accordance with his request or in accordance with a collective bargaining agreement; except, that if such leave of absence is on account of pregnancy and extends beyond the tenth week following termination of such pregnancy, the individual shall not be denied benefits under the provisions of this subdivision (2) beyond such tenth week if she has given the employer three weeks notice of her desire to return to work, is then able to work and has not refused reinstatement to a job which under the provisions of subdivision (5) of this section would be deemed suitable for her.



b. When an individual is disqualified under this subdivision (2):

1. He shall not be entitled to benefits for the week in which the disqualifying event occurs or for any week thereafter until:

(i) He has reentered insured employment or employment of the nature described in subdivisions (5), (6), (7), (8), (9), (10) or (18) of subsection (b) of Section 25-4-10; and

(ii) For which employment he has earned wages equal to at least 10 times his weekly benefit amount for the benefit year in which such disqualification is assessed; and

(iii) He has been separated from such employment under nondisqualifying conditions.

There is a couple questions I'd ask though to understand your situation better.

1. Is you employer covered under the Family Medical Leave Act?

2. If not, did the employer have an existing personal leave policy in place and if so, did you request a personal leave....or FML if the employer is required to comply with the FMLA?

Fact Sheet #28 says a covered employer is:


FMLA applies to all public agencies, including state, local and federal employers, local education agencies (schools), and private-sector employers who employed 50 or more employees in 20 or more workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year, including joint employers and successors of covered employers.

Marcia, all of the above will only be relevant if you are now able and available for work, which is a basic immutable fact for receipt of unemployment benefits.

Regarding the last check which was not received, visit this page at Alabama Dept. of Labor.



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