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Able to draw unemployment after voluntary separation in WA state?

by Anonymous
(Washington State)

Because the economy is so bad, my current employer will not be offering the cost of living adjustment and step increase I was expecting in 2010. When I started in Feb of 09 I took a significant pay cut with the understanding I would be receiving these scheduled increases. Unfortunately I did not get anything in writing stating as much.

I am now going through a divorce and will not be financially able to keep the house. Because of these 2 factors I have decided to move to the other side of the state (300 miles). I have guaranteed housing there that I can afford and the job market is much better.

I plan on giving my current employer plenty of notice before I voluntarily terminate. Will I be able to draw Unemployment benefits while looking for another job in the new city?

Hi Anonymous,

A voluntary separation. Just a sidenote, but your use of the term separation is a rarity for an unemployment claimant.

This is not what I'd call a general question about unemployment as it requires me to draw a conclusion based on incomplete information.

Here's Washington's statute for voluntarily leaving work (please note the two links above (50.20.044 and 50.20.060) which became effective March of 2009)

Your two reasons for leaving .. going through a divorce, which makes you financially unable to keep your job makes me lean toward a negative response. Of these two reasons, divorce if due to domestic abuse or stalking could be a factor.

I have not made mention of anything in the first paragraph of your question because it appears irrelevant to the two reasons you said you are quitting for.

You did in fact accept the substantial pay cut to take the job and did so with only a verbal conversation about pay increases.

The statute also addresses this as an issue although non specifically. You should take note of the conditions that would be examined for this reason as well.

If the labor market is so much better 300 miles away .. why don't you take just a bit of time to find a job there before you quit?

Washington State's voluntary quit disqualification is for 7 weeks and to earn 7 times your weekly benefits amount before you can requalify should you happen to have another separation .. qualifying of course.

If you need more help, you are fortunate to have the following resource available to you in Washington.

Unemployment Law Project

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