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California Partial unemployment benefits when hours are reduced from 40 to 36?

Are you able to get unemployment if your hours are reduced to 36 from 40. And if you collect and get laid off in the future will that count against you as far as your entitlement month wise


Another subject I need to write a main page about .. partial unemployment benefits.

Unless an employer opts (if available in their state) to institute a work share or short time compensation program .. entitlement to partial unemployment benefits is determined on the wages you earn each week and how much less you are earning. Whereas work share or short tiime is based upon the hours you work.

When an employer opts to handle a reduction in hours this way it enables the employee to receive .. basically .. fifty percent of the money they are missing out on due to the reductions.

With regular partial unemployment benefits everything is dependent upon how much you are still earning.

When we establish a claim they determine the amount you would be entitled to if totally unemployed. Although it varies from state to state it is generally fifty percent of what you made per week up to the maximum benefit amount in the specific state. We can also estimate the amount of you are entitled to for that claim or benefit year by taking the WBA times 26, which is the usual duration of benefits. That is the amount of money they will pay you in that benefit year, so when that runs out in 6 months (or 26 weeks) there is nothing available to you for the remaining 6 months of your benefit

In your case, you would never get the partial benefits, because the definition of partial benefits is when less than full-time work brings in wages less than your WBA for total unemployment. You are still working 36 hours .. not going to happen.

California is one of the seventeen states that does have a work sharing program, but like I said it is an option for an employer .. not a requirement.

But the real issue your question raises is one of "what will my base period wages look like if six or nine months down the road if things don't get better and I get laid off.

Basically, if an employer does not provide you with the ability to establish a claim on your full-time wages now the end result will be a smaller weekly benefit amount.

So can you see the possibility for an employer anticipating a lay-off by using this technique to lower their overall liability when they do layoff?

It's a small rock and a hard place because a reduction of 4 hours a week is probably not a great enough of a reduction in hours or pay to be considered good cause to quit. Some states have established a percentage of wage loss at which good cause begins to exist, other states .. like Indiana have a court decision which said a 33 percent reduction isn't enough because employer was still providing health benefits.

If I were the claimant in that Indiana case, I'd be thinking to myself, "US Supreme Court, here I come."

Thanks to all who made it to the bottom of my ramblings:)


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Sep 17, 2019
2nd job and hours cut
by: Anonymous


I worked 40hrs a week at a retail store and requested a reduced to 8hrs because I got a contract job for 6months(I wanted to try something different) When my contact job ended and requested 40hrs. It's been 2 months and I'm still only at 8hrs. They said it's cause it's summer so everyone hrs cut. Can I file for unemployment for the 2 months that passed or at all?

Thank you

My opinion is there's very little, to prevent anyone from filing an unemployment claim, but after a claim is opened, there's a lot that may prevent, or negate eligibility in the circumstances surrounding the reason(s) they are now partially, or fully unemployed.

Here's what I think I know about your situation to offer an answer. There's little chance the state will find any good cause to backdate your claim two months, or the period you've been waiting for your employer to give you back the 32 hours you voluntarily gave up to try something new as a contract employee .. which is not to say I'm ruling out the possibility you might have a path to being found eligible .. moving forward from the date you file your claim .. or until you are finally employed full-time again.

May 20, 2012
employer cutting hours
by: Anonymous

I'm here in CA working 32.5 hours a week as a full time and now that the business is slow my employer is cutting 5 hours a week. He gives more hours to the part times than the full time workers. Can I file for partial unemployment?


Yes you can file, however, whether you'd qualify to receive any partial benefits is doubtful due to the formula used.

Click here to find CA's partial unemployment formula at

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