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CA: I was collecting unemployment, got a temporary job and the contract end date is approaching. Can my temp employer bar me from UI benefits?

by Kerry
(Los Angeles, CA)

I live in California and was laid off from a job that I worked at for 2 years and 2 months. I collected unemployment benefits until I accepted a freelance job on February 1, 2010. The new employer is paying the unemployment benefits although I am considered a temporary employee. My contract agreement shows an end date of June 4, 2010. No one has spoken to me about continuing with the company beyond this date (it is weeks away). But the woman that I am subbing for is not coming back from maternity leave until late June 2010. And I have shared that I have plans past June 4 (a trip planned as of June 8 due to the contract end date). My questions are:

1. Will I need to open a new unemployment claim or reopen my old one?

2. Can my temporary employer bar me from receiving unemployment by saying that I quit? If so, can I fight it since no one has asked me to stay beyond my original contract end date?

Hi Kerry,

1. I don't know if you will have to reopen or start a new claim because I don't know your BYB or BYE dates. (benefit year begin and benefit year end).

2. If you have an "employment contract". I suggest you read this information found in the CA benefit determination guide.

When it comes to how you could be barred from benefits .. the following paragraph is what I think you will need to be concerned about when the time comes.

In P-B-275, the claimant entered into a written contract under which the claimant would work for two Years in a foreign country. When the contract expired, the claimant refused to enter into a new contract, and returned home. The Board held that the claimant was involuntarily unemployed as of the time the contract expired. The fact that the employer wants to either extend the existing contract, or negotiate a second contract, does not modify the terms of the original contract unless the claimant agrees to the modification; if the claimant does not agree, there is no meeting of the minds and no contract (although there may be a suitable work issue for failure to enter into a second contract).

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May 07, 2010
Follow up
by: Kerry

Hi, I'm sorry...I had forgotten to list my lay off date. It was October 23, 2009 and the first day of my freelance gig was February 1, 2010. So I think I could reopen my previous claim?

As for #2, I may be incorrectly using the term contract. I received an temporary employment proposal that says, "Your assignment is expected to commence on February 1, 2010 and terminate on June 4, 2010." I'm assuming the word "expected" is the catch here, however the language that follows is about employment being voluntary and the assignment could end the relationship at any time.

Then yes, the employer could have the ability to stop you from collecting benefits for the claim you have already established .. because the separation from the last work is what always controls the decision even if you are just reopening a claim.

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