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Can You Get Unemployment If You Quit Your Job?

People  leave their jobs voluntarily all the time and for many different reasons they believe should be good cause to get unemployment benefits even when the quit is by job abandonment.  But, whether they apply for unemployment benefits and collect initially, or are denied, many never see the burden of proof, or the extent they may have to go to meet that burden before the first unemployment appeal hearing.

Employers appeal voluntary quits often.  Sometimes only because they know employees are rarely prepared to actually meet the burden unemployment insurance law insist they must prove.

The burden in a nutshell is being able to show good cause existed at the time you resigned from a job.   And that the cause for quitting was reasonable and attributable to the work, or the employer.

But, to prove this attribution of fault to the work, or the employer many state unemployment laws mention exhausting all other alternatives to quitting a job before you decide your only option is to voluntarily resign. This is often the case, even in states that make benefits possible for personal good cause reasons to quit a job.

So, do I think you can collect unemployment benefits if quit your job?

I know it's possible from my own personal experience, but I also know you have this burden to prove to the unemployment department and fulfilling from my perspective is often nothing less than recognition of it while still an employee to the the importance of trying to work with an employer to first try to resolve a problem with the work, or a boss, because that is what shows you made efforts to preserve the job.

Efforts to preserve a job show a desire to retain your job and also show when an employer may be leass than reasonable to help you with that .. for purposes of unemployment insurance law interpretations.

And this is the hang up for many people denied benefits who might of actually had a good reason to quit;   They simply can't fulfill the burden and show proof of these efforts, because they assumed any effort would of been futile in the first place.

But that's the point of quasi-legally proving a burden instead of just expecting you will be believed because you're telling the truth.  

How do employees prove the point when a working at-will employment relationship became futile and that their choice to quit was caused by none other than their employer who is telling the state you  quit your job for personal reasons unknown to them, and failed to give them a opportunity to help you try to preserve your job?

You document a problem, or conflict to show your reasonable efforts to make continuing in the job work.

Q&A - Quitting and Unemployment Benefits

Personal Good Cause to Quit Your Job

There are about twelve states who have constructed their unemployment statutes to say you might have good cause to quit your job due to personal reasons.  

The provision might coin personal reasons as being compelling and necessitous circumstances.

But as many have learned who quit to follow a spouse, or for personal illness, or physical inability to do a job.. even good personal cause can require constructing proof of efforts that might of preserved the working relationship.

The states below require attribution to the work, or employer for the cause of voluntarily quitting.

The chart was found in one of those other unemployment law resources  Namely the USDOL's State Unemployment Law Comparison Non-Monetary Eligibility Chartbook.

Before you get excited because your state is not included in the chart above, know it is prefaced by the following information:

In many states, good cause is explicitly restricted to good cause connected with the work, attributable to the employer, or involving fault on the part of the employer. However, in a state where good cause is not explicitly linked to the work, the state may interpret its law to include good personal cause or it may limit it to good cause related to work. Since a state law limiting good cause to the work is more restrictive, it may contain specific exceptions that are not necessary in states recognizing good personal cause. (For example, an explicit provision not disqualifying an individual who quits to accompany a spouse to a new job might not be necessary in a state that recognizes good personal cause; it would be necessary in a state restricting good cause to that related to the work.)

But this still does not explain that good personal cause also carries a burden to prove something .. often nothing less than attribution to the work, or employer.

How might the scenario of quitting for a personal good cause reason to follow a spouse not work out well for you? By ignoring your burden to prove good cause for the personal reason to quit.

So, let's look at Pennsylvania.  The state does not require attribution for a voluntary quit to be connected to the employment.  Here's there information about meeting the burden of a voluntary quit to follow a spouse.

Even if you wouldn't be collecting PA unemployment compensation you should see that fulfilling a burden of for good personal reasons often leads the state back to investigate if you, or your spouse in this case, had good cause to leave their employment in the first place.

Questions and Answers About Quitting

The Burden of Proving Misconduct

Appeal Coaching & Representation