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Temp job from out of state agency

by Bill Getting Old
(Dallas, Tx)

My old job (considering benefits and vacation) was about $50 per hour. I got the boot and a little severance after many years of service. No issues. I always go back to work quick. So I filed for UI and put the word out.

Lordy lordy. I didn't realize I had gotten old and those jobs that used to land in my lap no longer do. My resume gets me the interviews but my grey hair is an obstacle to the offers. They figure I am going to retire soon.

But my resume is really good and out of the blue I got a call from some guy in New York who just happened onto my resume and needed someone for an immediate temporary assignment at my same normal rate. It was in Dallas. You know I took it. But this guy is in New York. I asked about filling out paper work and he said not if the client didn't like my resume, could I send him a clean one. The client did like my resume, called me to interview, and I started the next day. And then the rush was on to get the paperwork filled out.

I filled out the job app and made some changes. It said if I didn't call for a new assignment they would consider me to have "quit". So I typed in and initialed that I was responding to an offer to do this one and only contract for $50 an hour. That's the only thing I was asked to do and that was the agreement. When it was over, the employment was over. I made it clear, signed it, sent in the I9 and the other things, printed the time sheet and headed to work the next day.

Now... in about a month this gig is done. I don't think my New York friends are going to have another $50 an hour contract but I am going to ask for one and document it. I have seen TWC documents to employers and those check boxes say "quit" or "fired" or "reduction in hours" but they don't say anything about employment contract expired.

Will I have a "quit" without cause issue or if they say, how about this $30 an hour job will I have a "Refusal of Suitable Work" issue if I don't accept it? What if it is in an unrelated field to my profession?

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Sep 27, 2014
Oh older and wiser one ...
by: Chris

Few things are confusing me, so if you don't mind, I'll start by clarifying my understanding of the sequence of event .. right after I ask you where the temp agency is located (meaning which state) because that's sort of important. And by the way did you do this work as a telecommuter, or did you have to go work in NY. (Also an important issue for telecommuters working for NY companies while located in other states with regard to UI benefits.)

1. You were contacted by a "recruiter" for a temp agency. From the sound of it, a temp agency who might specialize in finding people with certain skill sets that are a little hard to find , so employers tell us.

2. The temp agency's client liked you, so temp recruiter has you fill out all the pre-employment stuff and you actually read it and noticed an acknowledgement form you must contact the temp agency at the end of the assignment for a new assignment.

3. I'm assuming you spoke to the temp agency recruiter about not agreeing to this very typical requirement to work for a temp agency.

But, you didn't mention any other written agreement that altered, or replaced the typical conditions of being the employee of and through this temp agency.

Here's what I want to know, did you sign that 48 hour thing?
Did the temp agency write up another agreement that altered the terms and conditions of your employment?

My guess would be no, but then, I'd be curious to know if this discussion was held via phone, or preferably in a documented email conversation.


Sep 27, 2014
Sorry for the confusion
by: Bill Getting Old

1. Locations. I live in Dallas. So does the client. Why they are working with a staffing agency in New York, I have no idea. But through the magic of the internet, the temp agency found my resume on a job search site. I work in the clients office for about the next 30 days.

2. The verbal discussion. Initially, the discussion was just to ask if I would perform an assignment on a contract basis. Those were the words. And what did I think was a reasonable rate. I sent a clean resume. The client called me. Everyone agreed on the rate. The deal was done.

3. The paperwork. Prior to talking to the client I asked the staffing manager about paper work. I also told them I was happy to work on 1099 or W-2. They said W-2 but if the client didn't approve, no use in doing paper work. After the client approved, they sent me their standard job application. The job application had the words about calling in or I would have "quit". Now that I look at it again it says, I have to immediately notify the temp agency after completion of each assignment. Or notify them if my availability changes. If I fail to notify it will result in the temp agency determining that I have quit. Now immediately after that language, I typed that the term of employment was for one job only and ends with that job. And I initialed prominently beside the change.

But on the first page where is says Minimum Hourly rate, I typed "$50 for XYZ Company - Negotiated per assignment". And later where it ask how I found the temp agency, I put that I was contacted by them to fulfill a specific contract in Texas and that they had found my resume online and then they contacted me.

4. You say... "I'm assuming you spoke to the temp agency recruiter about not agreeing to this very typical requirement to work for a temp agency." Actually, I didn't. The deal with the Staffing Mgr and the Client was done before I got the paperwork. But my cover letter says I will show up at the client, complete the assignment, and let them know as soon as it is over and that will end our employment agreement.

5. The other thing the application says is that I can't work for the client for 3 months after I complete the assignment. I am good with that.

To me, those are the terms of the employment agreement. I can't imagine why a temp agency in New York would be worried about TWC when I am already drawing benefits from my old employer. But one never knows. My concern is TWC not understanding we have an employment agreement for a specific assignment at a specific rate that will expire. Or somehow the water getting muddied.

To tell you the truth, I don't want people shopping my resume without contacting me first. It makes it difficult for me to apply to an employer if they already received my resume from some agency without me knowing. They think they are obligated to pay a fee. All my Texas contacts call me prior to submitting my resume to anyone else.

Your thoughts? If when I am done, Staffing Company has a similar assignment at the same rate, I will do another deal with them. I just don't think that is very likely. But I will call and ask.

Sep 28, 2014
I'm not so much confused as concerned about TX temp worker provision
by: Chris

I think any problem you may encounter will revolve in and around number three. The actual terms and condition of your employment for the temp agency. (And I will not delve into the special tax issue of where your wages are coming from and being taxed .. or not taxed for purposes of UI.)

I assume there are many big name temp agencies that operate on a multi-state basis and have a SUTA in each state, or they may just have multi-state clients concentrated in regions that have an abundance of jobs in particular occupational fields. But I will avoid the issue of a tax provision for NY companies and just center on whether you get your benefits back and are able to keep receiving them should the temp agency need to appeal.

Of course the TWC claim investigator should be concerned about this employment now that you're without employment again.

Non-monetary eligibility going forward from even a temp job, is relative to the "most recent separation from work", in most states.

And even when the work was located in New York, or any other state.

The reason I was confused is more because I might of been holding out hope you had something in place, more like a real employment contract with terms, conditions suspending the temp worker provision and that you were a 1099 single assignment independent contractor, but still as an employee working in covered employment.

That might eliminate the TWC from focusing heavily on the last separation which is something they are supposed to do when a claim is reopened.

No doubt, the TWC will want you to explain why you are no longer employed and from which company, which is the temp agency, not the client company.

Temp companies are notorious .. I repeat, notorious for objecting to just about everyone's benefits.

And not because they are currently being charged for your benefits, but because they could be charged if you find yourself in need of qualifying for a 2nd benefit year which would now have a lower monetary qualifying amount based upon a new base period which would include wages paid by the temp agency.

When long term benefits became an unprecedented norm many people ran afoul of the temporary worker provisions which temp agencies somehow managed to have injected in a number of state unemployment laws quite some time ago.. including Texas and it's usually about a voluntary quit being without good cause if you do not contact the temp agency within 48 hours of the end of an assignment to request a new one.

But people would call, be told there was nothing and lo and behold, were denied benefits because the temp agency (the employer) had a cost control company to protest benefits using that provision specifically.

That's why my basic advice to you now is have whatever documentation you think preempts that form (which is a signed acknowledgement of a specific term and condition of employer) ready to show the TWC that that condition was altered and agreed to by the temp agency when they didn't push for you to just follow along like the majority of the labor force who will sign without knowing what their signature proves.

And it might come in handy in case that document is altered and submitted to the TWC, who will care whether you quit the temp agency by not contacting them after this one month temp assignment.

The states with temp worker provisions are found in the Non-monetary Eligibility chartbook at the USDOL's UI Law Comparison Charts.

And TX appeal policy and precedent manual, I'm
certain will have some case law to shed light on your issue which will be a voluntary quit .. of "suitable work" if you didn't contact the temp agency again.

I link to both resources on the unemployment law page.

Sep 28, 2014
You are a jewel
by: Bill Getting Old

It is sad commentary that ordinary workers have to become lawyers just to negotiate employment agreements. I did everything I could to document the agreement through the job app and cover letter.

I have (through links from your site) gone through TWC precedent rulings. There is one on point where the employment agency is in another City, and it is deemed not reasonable to be available for work when the temp agency is not in the immediate area. Held then not to be a voluntary quit.

Hopefully this will be a non issue. I will stay in contact with this agency (by email) and you can bet if they can do this deal again, we will have a new agreement - provided I don't have some odd New York state income tax issue. I prefer the work to the benefit.

Knowing what is expected is a big help. I am a bit confused by the 3 day rule. According to the statue I found, I have to wait 3 days after completing my assignment to open a claim with TWC. Perhaps it is "re-open". I think some of the cases consider it a voluntary quit if you fail to wait 3 days. But the TWC has this on their website:

"Waiting three days does not apply if you have an active claim and are submitting payment requests."

Perhaps, I won't have an active claim at that point? Confusing. I thought I would continue to submit benefit request, search for work and just show the hours worked which will result in zero benefit.

Thanks for you help here. Great resource.

Sep 28, 2014
This whole unemployment claim thing can be confusing
by: Chris

But, your situation isn't as confusing as it may sound. It's just how I know unemployment to work from my experience as a hearing coordinator for a few cost control companies.

I know I am sometimes guilty of over analyzing because I do have a good base of information to work from and I can see how some more complicated issue (like temp employment) could serve to confuse someone more than they were before they asked a question.

But, I really do believe it is important to get people to think about this unemployment insurance as if it is law .. because it is .. even if it's just quasi administrative law.

If you have more questions, email me through the general contact form and identify this question as yours.

I'll be happy to send you my phone number so you can call me .. no charge for just talking to little OLD me.

It's the hearing reps I refer people to that charge for representation at appeal hearings.


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