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What constitutes an employer?

by Stephanie
(San Diego, CA)

I have been filling out claim forms for a while and, if I had worked part time that week, have always listed my last employer as the company or person who paid me the money I was claiming for that period.


My benefits were stopped.

I contacted the office and they told me that the last employer I had reported was not my last employer. They informed me that the last person who paid me was not technically my employer if I didn't fill out a W-4. Is this correct? I thought you had to tell the Unemployment agency when you made money and who paid you. If you are supposed to only list the last employer for whom you filled out a W-4, then wouldn't you be reporting income incorrectly? If I say I made $200 the week of July 4th but my last "official W-4" employer stopped paying me in January, do I report the $200 as income attached to my last official W-4 employer from January and not report the actual company that paid me because I was on a W-9 (independent contractor form)? I hope you can answer my question.


Hi Stephanie,

Did they issue a determination to stop your benefits? Did they say anything about an interview to review the "issue".

I'm not quite sure what to tell you because you are the first person that has told me benefits were stopped for reporting earnings .. makes no sense as it would if you failed to report.

You need to call the EDD and ask them to clarify what an employer is and what wages you should be reporting.

For instance in some states they actually tell you that you must report any earnings .. even if the money was received for mowing your neighbors lawn or babysitting their kids for the afternoon.

Let me just make sure of one thing .. your contract work .. is it for a temp agency, or are you truly self-employed as an independent contractor? When you filed your claim did you assign the earnings to self employment?

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Jan 11, 2010
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Response to Chris
by: Stephanie

Hi Chris,

Thank you for your quick response.

Yes, there was an interview scheduled. They never called. Because there was no direct contact regarding the issue they contacted the employer I had last listed on my claim. Because I was not a W-4 full time employee, I was an independent contractor, they did not claim me as an employee and thus started the confusion on my claim.

I called the appeals office and they explained to me that my "last employer" would be the last employer with whom I filled out a W-4 and had taxes taken out, etc.

But my question still remains. I feel I should report earnings, should I have any, along with the correct payer of the earnings...but if they're telling me that the last person or company that paid me is not my "last employer" I don't know what to write down anymore. Do my new earnings need to be attached to my old employer? The earnings didn't come from my old "W-4" employer. Doesn't make any sense. My colleagues tell me that I shouldn't report any independent work or earnings so to avoid the hassle but I feel like that will also cause a problem.

I am not working through a temp agency. I work in theatre and pick up odd jobs here and there as well as real gigs so I bounce around a lot and hardly ever is it a full time, extended period sort of job. Usually, the jobs I have span 3 days to up to 6 weeks depending on the job. And seldom do I have a consistent employer for any duration of time.

I hope this clarifies things.

Thanks again!


Hi Stephanie,

I think what I need to know now is when you started collecting unemployment and if your WBA is based on a W-4 or "covered employment".

In other words I need to know what your benefit year is and if this benefit stoppage is because you do not qualify for an extension.

You mentioned January, but what might be helpful is to know the exact BYB and BYE dates on your claim.

I'm beginning to wonder if you're one of the many unlucky people who aren't going to be able to qualify for further extensions because you didn't have qualifying wages for a second benefit year.

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