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Do 'mutual agreements' always pay out?

by Cyril
(New York, NY, USA)

I really did leave my job due to a 'mutual agreement.' The company told me that they will not contest my claim for unemployment. So, fine... what do I put on the form under 'reason for leaving'? Should I check the 'other' box and write 'mutual agreement'? And should my employer, assuming they want to cooperate, do the same?

I see a lot of discussion online about what happens in situations where the employer and the employee are at odds. But there is no conflict here. They want me to get the benefits. I want the benefits. But my fear is that, if we both write "mutual agreement" on the form, someone in the government will disqualify me anyway. Am I being totally irrational? Does the government have an interest in denying me the benefits?

This is in New York.

Hi Cyril,

I can count on all my fingers and toes, the number of times I have seen an employer response say the separation was mutually agreed upon.

Now there may be a few logical reasons for this.

1. The claimants do not apply for unemployment often.

2. That employer's may more often say it is a voluntary quit.

3. If the state doesn't require a response from the employer .. they don't.

What I have heard though is an employer asking what they can do to help a claimant get unemployment because of this situation. It eventually comes out that the claimant "self disqualified" them self. A mutual agreement can usually be backed up by an "employment contract" with a specific agreed upon date. This is what I understand to be a mutual agreement.

The basis of the system is that you must have lost your job through no fault of your own. States feel compelled by this requirement to assign fault.

If you put voluntary quit .. they'll want to know why. They want details and if you want a better answer than this one .. I need details.

You can call me a cynic if you want, but I would not trust the employer to "do the right thing" ever. Unless there is an employment contract with a specific end date of employment .. there is always an underlying reason for the departure from the employment.

Comments for Do 'mutual agreements' always pay out?

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May 13, 2009
a few details
by: Cyril

There was actually a contract with an end date on it, although it was not signed by either party. The agreement was mainly verbal, but it was clear. I would leave the company on X date, and the company would support me in my claim for unemployment benefits. Exactly what the details of how that worked were, were never discussed.

I know I'm addressing a cynical crowd, but in the bigger picture, I do trust the company to keep their word on this. We have other associations besides my past employment there. I left in good standing, and am on good terms with everyone involved. They are a progressive, image-conscious company, and they have bigger fish to fry than quibbling over unemployment benefits.

My question might be put most concisely like this: If I put "mutual agreement," and the company also puts "mutual agreement," and neither of us offer additional info, then will I get the benefits? Or does the government have their own agenda to keep the benefits from being granted, even in the face of no opposition from the employer?


No, no agenda, but they can be confused and if they adjudicated every claim correctly .. there would never be appeal decisions reversing or amending initial determinations.

Given your situation and the fact that you do trust the employer to be above board .. I'd check the other box and enter mutual agreement.

Jun 24, 2016
Did it work?
by: Anonymous

Hi, I have a similar situation... Can you please update whether you put in "mutual separation" and whether it worked?



It's quite an old comment. I wouldn't count on a response from Cyril.


Jun 25, 2016
no, it didn't work
by: Cyril

Hey... this was a long time ago. So much has happened since then.

But no, it didn't work. I filed for unemployment (I think I chose "Quit" but don't remember for sure), got declined, emailed the HR person I had made the agreement with for help, and never got an answer. I think they just wanted to wash their hands of it. I believe I tried to provide an explanation to the unemployment people, but I didn't get anywhere, and gave up.

Anyway, I recommend not trying to do what I tried to do. The way to "make a deal" with your employer, and still get unemployment, is to get them to lay you off.

Jun 25, 2016
Wow. Thanks Cyril
by: Chris -

I about fell off my chair when I saw you posted an answer!!

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