How Long Do I Have to Work For to Collect Unemployment in California?

California defines what qualifies as an employer as paying more than $100 in any quarter.

California has two different methods that can be used in determining eligibility for unemployment compensation.

The first one is a simple flat qualifying amount (FQA) of a $1,300 HQW, which necessitates working during at least one quarter in the base period.

The second one is a $900 HQW with the total earning in the base period being at least 1.25 times the HQW (which amounts to $1,125), which necessitates working during at least 2 quarters of the base period.


 

To determine your eligibility, follow this model:

For the first method:

  1. Did you earn at least $1,300 within a single quarter?

■        your HQW > $1,300

  1. Did you work during at least one quarter of the base period?

If you answered yes to both questions, you qualify for unemployment insurance in California.

 

For the second method:

  1. Did you earn at least $900 within a single quarter?

■        your HQW > $900

  1. Did you earn at least 1.25 times your HQW within the entire base period?

■        your total BP earnings > $1,125

■        your total BP earnings > 1.25 x HQW

  1. Did you work during at least 2 quarters of the base period?

If you answered yes to all three questions, you qualify for unemployment insurance in California.

 

California does not offer an extended base period; however, an alternate base period is available, but only if you are not first qualified for benefits using  the standard base period.  In that event, CA will use the alternate base period which includes the last four completed calendar quarters.