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by Mrs. Jay
(New Jersey)

I recently applied to Nursing School, I work full time at a small office in NJ (2 employees including me). I gave my boss a letter asking to change my schedule so I can attend classes. I am still willing to still work 37.5hrs a week, by adding an hr or two at the end of other days.

My boss told me he could not change my schedule and said he will place an add in the local paper for my position. I have not resigned in writing or verbally. Will I be able to collect unemployment??

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Oct 03, 2014
Changing Terms and Conditions of Employment
by: CK

I don't know if you will, or not, but right now, I'm leaning toward an answer in the negative.

Quitting a job to go to school is a quit without good cause because it's often specifically mentioned in a state's UI laws as good personal cause, but not rising to a level of being attributable to the work, or employment.

In general, you may be asking a lot then to have that burden shifted to the employer when they refuse, or simply can't reasonably find a way to work with you and your school schedule.

Even people who have maintained school and a job concurrently, and lose their job due to a layoff, must look to a specific state law for it's treatment of students. And they must stay on their toes in case approved benefits come under scrutiny of conditional eligibility requirements .. like a question of whether they really are able and available for full-time work, or intentionally restricting their A&A to go to school.

In states that allow for the fact a full time employee is not automatically disqualified conditionally for attending school, they still ask questions about what you would choose if a scheduling conflict arose that required a choice between school, or employment.

However, you've told me you have spoken to your employer to alter the original terms and conditions of your employment to accommodate both work and school and he has refused and is apparently waiting on you to make a decision to give up on the idea of school, or quit and pursue school.

The question I think you should ask yourself is whether changing your hours is a reasonable and workable solution that will also work for the employer who really has no vested interest in whether you go to school, or not, but whether you are able to fulfill the terms and conditions he refuses to alter for you and a personal good cause goal not connected to your employment.

Does he accommodate other employees when they want to go to school? In other words, has he set some sort of expectation in the past that now his refusal to work things out for you, might also stand out as a non-uniform and unilateral decision that applies just to you?

I think your goal of going to nursing school is great, but it's a goal that will eventually require you to leave the work anyway to complete your training and degree and when it comes to unemployment benefits vs. working, or going to school .. the needs of the job schedule will usually trump the personal needs of the school schedule .. because of who is charged for benefits.

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