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Can you get unemployment if you are let go from a job because you asked for a reduction in work hours? - Pennsylvania

by Anonymous
(Philadelphia, PA)

I was laid off at the end of October and collected unemployment till mid January when I took another job . I am an exempt at will employee. The hours of the job are unreasonable-I work 10-12 hours a day 5 days a week and often on weekends. My husband just got a new job after being unemployed for 6 months. He will also be working 10 hour days as well as away from home training for 3 months straight. I have a 2 year old daughter and cannot work unitl 8 or 9 every night, especially if he is not at home. I plan to talk with my employer about a reduction in my hours, no travel for three months,etc. I am even willing to take a cut in pay. However, I beleive that my employer will say that the nature of my job does not really allow for a reduction in hours or set hours ie 9-3. If I am not available then someone else will have to do my job. So, my question is if I ask my employer to work with me on this, but they come back and say that they can't do that and will have to let me go.....can I then get unemployment?

It's possible because you're in Pennsylvania. The statute for voluntary quitting says that a quit for this reason may be okay "if the reason was necessitous and compelling and claimant exhausted all alternatives
before quitting.

If your employer actually terminates you well .. that wouldn't be very smart. It's a better solution for them to let a claimant be the moving party and let them deal with proving they "exhausted" all alternatives before quitting.

You are doing what you have to do .. to build good cause.

An employer would probably focus upon facts like "these were the hours and conditions of employment when the job was accepted" and that you did not explore all possible alternatives .. like finding childcare to accommodate these changes.

I wish I could direct you to some reveling decisions that explain how the statute is applied, but PA does not have anything online for quick and easy reference. You might try here

Pennsylvania is one of few states that does not require the reason be attributable to the work .. but it definitely requires you to do your very best to try everything else first... so be careful.

By the way, if the employer actually "lets you go" because you asked for a temporary accommodation of hours .. that would be a good thing.

And finally, the one thing you are doing that could disqualify you without any help from the employer is that you gave the example of 9-3 as set hours .. that is limiting your availability for work and can disqualify you.

Generally, everyone must be able and available and actively seeking full-time work to collect unemployment.

Comments for Can you get unemployment if you are let go from a job because you asked for a reduction in work hours? - Pennsylvania

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Apr 15, 2009
More Information
by: Anonymous

Thank you. I will look at these decisions.
I just put hours in my question as an example....I am willing to work with my employer on the number of hours a week and also take a cut in pay.
I have another question...I live in PA but my employer is based in NY. If I do eventually have to file for unemployment, what state do I apply to?


You can file your claim in Pennsylvania. If the employer pays NY UI taxes on your wages it would be an interstate claim or if you want you can file in New York, but you'd still have to register for work and follow PA's job search requirement.

But it's always a good idea to read the instructions for filing .. because they do vary.

Jul 08, 2010
California and overtime
by: Anonymous

I'm also being required to work overtime 10-12 hours a day five days a week and most saturdays 4-5 hours. The 50-60 hours a week is draining and I want to leave the job. They don't allow us to say no to more hours. Would I be able to collect unemployment for not wanting to work overtime? No kids. Am I just being unreasonable? More importantly, and only thing that matters, can I collect ui if i quit or they let me go if I refuse to work any more overtime?

Hi there,

No, I doubt seriously, you would be able to collect. Being tired of working overtime itself is not good cause to quit and get unemployment.

And refusing may be seen as insubordination.

You can quit, or you can even refuse to work overtime .. but it would be your choice .. since you are the employee.

You need a compelling and "necessitous" reason to quit for personal reasons in PA and you had better be able to prove it.

Nov 10, 2010
Part time employee
by: Anonymous

About a yeat ago I asked my manager if I can work part time hours so that I can focus on my baby and also attend college. They agreed. Recently my deparments has been experiencing stafff issues. I have been asked several times my upper management to consider full time again. My production is excellent as far as my work is concerned. I currently attend college full time. My manager told me today that if i dont consider going back to full time that I will need to leave the company by January 1st. Can they do that to me? If so, can I qualify for any benefits? I live in Texas.

Hi Anonymous,

Did you happen to notice "Pennsylvania" after the title to this question.

Or that which state we are asking about as being a concern? There's quite a lot of differences between PA and TX.

Feel free to ask your own question on the main Q&A page and make sure to include "Texas" in your title because after a lot of thought, I've decided to categorize all future questions by state.

Your question really has two separate things to consider.

Whether one year ago, when the employer agreed to this change in the conditions of employment that substantially changed everything was a permanent change in the conditions. And whether now their insistence to change things back would constitute good cause to quit for you or not be seen as misconduct as long as you could prove all that went before and your current efforts to reason with the employer on this issue.

Secondly, if you did choose to quit, whether TX would allow you to collect benefits if found entitled because you are not available for full-time work.

And I suppose just to be on the safe side, I would advise you to investigate the issue of school attendance as well while collecting.

Generally speaking, there would need to be either a part-time worker provision or a precedent that has established that being able to work part-time only would not in itself exclude you from collecting because you are not "able and available.

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