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.


  • Elliot Marshall

    Hello, My 7 months of unemployment has expired. Despite my intense and constant search for comparable work, I have not found a new job yet. However, I did temp for three days in CA and took on one freelance job in Chicago. Combined, they paid me more than $2000 in one quarter. Does this qualify for me a new claim>

    • Not in CA until your current benefit year expires and only if you were paid W-2. If you were paid on 1099, those are not bona fide wages for unemployment benefit purposes.

      If you were paid W-2, the first week in October you could try applying in Illinois on the basis of the Chicago wages when wages through 9/30/2017 can be included in IL’s alternate base period. Ask for a combined wage claim to include CA. No guarantees, but that’s your only chance for another claim at this time. You may need to provide paystubs because IL’s earnings database probably won’t be up to date.

  • Lauren

    Hi Daphne,
    I was hired for a full time temp. non benefited job that started August 2016, I went on maternity leave the first week of June 2017 and received benefit money from EDD. HR contacted me last week to confirm my date of return (August 13) and then I contacted my manager to let her know too. While i was on the phone with HR, I asked about baby bonding and FMLA. He stated that I would have to reach the minimum hours of work (which is 1000 something) and my one year anniversary to take FMLA. I responded by saying yes I met the hours, I just need to wait about a week and half to reach my one year (August 22). He was okay with the conversation, no sign of anything leading me to think I’d loose my job. THEN I received an email from my manager yesterday stating that she is no longer able to take me back and that my job is no longer available.

    How is it that HR is confirming my return, then all of a sudden I no longer have my job!?

    Anyways, EDD online has sent me online paperwork to file for FMLA baby bonding, am I still able to take FMLA when i no longer have a job???

    And if not, do you think I can get unemployment from what I just told you?

    And my last question, If i am still allowed to take FMLA with no job, can I take FMLA then still be qualified for unemployment after the 12 weeks baby bonding is up??

    And if not, should i file unemployment right now?

    • Fortunately for you, you are in CA which has UI, Paid Family Leave and SDI benefits. You are eligible for all three. Yes, apply for PFL (bonding) when you are no longer eligible for SDI. Then apply for unemployment benefits. Know that it is VERY common for employers to discharge people immediately after FMLA or while out on maternity leave. Seems having a baby is a routine trigger for a discharge. Common, common story.

      • Lauren

        Okay, will do.
        I also spoke to someone on the phone today and they told me that it was my fault that I lost my job because I didn’t return to work on the 13th, and that I should’ve at least went to HR (but note: the 13th is a sunday and HR isn’t open on weekends) or call staffing to put me on the schedule. This is my first time having a baby, so is it true I can loose my job if i don’t return the exact date my OB signed me off?

        • Who, exactly, told you this? It is Baloney. No ALJ (on appeal) will rule you need to have reported on a Sunday or called your employer in advance.

          • Lauren

            It was someone who represents the union I am part of.
            Update: Today I called staffing to see what my status is on their side if I’m still on the roster or what? But before I said anything, the lady asked if I wanted to work today. Then I explained the situation her and she said she couldn’t comment, and she transferred me to a guy in HR, that guy then transferred me to the first person I mentioned in my first message. Right when he got on the phone he was like oh now i finally hear back from you. Excuse me, but i never got a call from him or anything. He said he’s been calling multiple times and left three voicemails. I told him i only received one miss call and no voicemail and also said I DONT EVEN HAVE A VOICEMAIL because it doesn’t let me set it up so him “leaving voicemails” is total bs. He had nothing to say, so he says well since you don’t have a voicemail how are we suppose to communicate with you? Fast forward a little and he goes on to say that since i was hired in a temp position once i left on leave, i basically lost my job and since we are in california, my job was protected by law up until i come back (which is the last day my dr. signed me off for). Which basically means my job was protected but when i reach that last day i no longer have a job so what was the point of even “protecting” it. Then he gave me some bull saying I didn’t reach out to them. So i asked him, okay scenario change for a second.. if i were to answer the call would i still have a job? He said no. So if i wouldn’t have a job regardless of if i picked up or reached out, then why does timing matter sooo much to them!? Then he stated my manager told me before i went on leave that i wouldn’t have a job if tried to return . WHICH SHE DIDNT. Then he also said that along with him, the absence management, my manager, and a couple other people have been trying to contact me with no response. Which is bullshit because i only got the one call i mentioned before. then he started talking about emails I’ve been sent and if I’ve read them. I told him no because I’m completely locked out of all the systems. Then he goes “well yeah when you go on leave, you get locked out of the programs” . so why the heck would all you people try contacting me though a work email that i can’t even access, then say that i never reply to you? NO COMMON SENSE. While i was on the phone, union called me so i hung up on HR. Union told me that she talked to HR and my manager and found out i was in a temp position, she said “temp means i use you till i don’t want you anymore” and that my manager didn’t have a problem with me, i always came to work and did by job so there was no reason to get rid of me “but once you left, you left on your own” and that it was my fault i got pregnant. (i can’t quote her exact words but she said IT WAS MY FAULT I GOT PREGNANT basically and that its my fault i lost my job) .. what kind of union representation is that smh. I then asked if i’d at least get paid out on my PTO hours and sick hours and she said I’m not even allowed to have those since I’m not benefited and to call HR. So i called HR, the same guy from before said i don’t have hours basically arguing with me on the phone and he looked it up in the system and saw that i have accumulated a lot within my year. But then says its hospital policy that temp and casual employees don’t get to have PTO. I told him i was using it when i started calling in not feeling well. THEN he asked me how much did i use. why does it matter!??!?!?!? They don’t want to cash me out and I’m beyond pissed.

            An RN i work with finds the whole situation super shady and finds lots of loops in the story and thinks I can sue them because they said it’s my fault i got pregnant and lost my job myself. Is this true.. do you happen to know?

            p.s. sorry for the long story and stuff, just gotta get it out and figure out my options if i should really get a lawyer.. and since hospitals don’t like dealing with lawsuits and all they’d probably pay me something .. but i don’t know if my case would be strong enough… suggestions?

          • Consult the EEOC. Comment on pregnancy is discriminatory and within their purview. As I said, discharges are VERY common in and around FMLA/maternity leave. You aren’t the first.

  • Dani

    My job will be coming to end as of December 31st as the business owner is retiring, and the doors will close on the business. I work from home 10 hours a week/$18 an hour and have done so for two years. Do you think I will qualify for Unemployment? And how will the state of California verify my eligibility if the business is closed?

    • You qualify for unemployment. Your wages should have been reported to the State of California for tax purposes over the past two years and will appear in EDD’s database. CA will pay benefits even without an employer response should the mail somehow not reach the employer.

  • Whyleila

    Hi Daphne,
    I have learned much about unemployment from this informational thread alone. I’m in a bit of a pickle and don’t know what to do.

    I am a server at a Hawaiian restaurant in downtown HB in CA. It’s a small mom and pop, family owned. I feel terrible wanting to try to collect unemployment from a small business but at the same time, I feel like there’s maybe something off about the owner. The owner does not make a schedule and I wasn’t informed of this upon hire. He tried to have me come in on Saturday morning at 9am by texting me (yes, texting) at 730am that same morning. I was still asleep. I woke up around 1130am and told him I was asleep when he messaged me (and apparently he was spreading rumors to the other servers who were at work that Saturday morning that I just didn’t show up to my shift and that he messaged me Friday night to tell me when to come in for the weekend). I have the text messages to show what time he sent his message. I woke up, and replied to him saying I can still come in if he needs me. He says no, come in tomorrow. He messaged me later that same Saturday afternoon asking me to come in for the night shift and at that point I am so tired of his “way of scheduling” because I made plans with my family that night since he told me to just come in on Sunday. So I come into my shift on Sunday and neither of us say a word to each other about Saturday. I message him after my shift asking when he would like me to work next but still no word back from him. He has a reputation for “punishing” servers by not telling them when to come in so they’re constantly just waiting to hear when he wants them to come in to work. Upon hire, I was under the impression that he made consistent weekly schedules. I have only been working here for a month. I left Olive Garden (worked there for a year) and transitioned to the Hawaiian restaurant right away. When I first started at the Hawaiian restaurant, I clocked in 62 hours my first two weeks, then 35 hours for these past two weeks. I feel like my hours are slowly getting cut and it’s weird that he isn’t scheduling me during the US Open of Surfing, which is taking place until Aug. 6th and is supposed to bring in a bunch of customers to the restaurant.

    I wonder if my manager is trying to force me to quit by not scheduling me and by keeping me “on-call.” I am a hard worker and always show up to my shifts (when he tells me to come in with a reasonable time notice). I have no beef with my coworkers and am always willing to help everyone. I want to also mention that I’m pretty sure they violate rest/meal breaks over there. They didn’t tell me this upon hire but apparently no one takes a break in that place. I’ve worked over 8 hours on Independence Day without a single break in that restaurant. They make you sign a 30-min meal waiver that basically says I elected to waive but I’ve only been signing them cause they hand you that form when they hand you your check and you can’t get your check unless you sign the meal break waiver form. The form also says that each employee is allowed to eat while “on duty” if they sign the form and waive the meal break but I’ve never used it. Is this practice legal? I have kept all my time slips and multiple show that I’ve worked 6+ hours without a single break.

    I know that one must have earned at least $1300 in a quarter to be eligible for unemployment. My net pay is less than that but as a server I get gratuities and with the tip earnings on my check, I made over $1400 during my time at the Hawaiian restaurant. I’m still an employee there but I would like to know if I quit, would I be eligible for unemployment?

    • Your past wages at Olive Garden will be included in your benefit determination, so you do have enough wages to support a claim.

      That said, you have two good cause issues here.

      First, is your good cause reason for quitting this job. In what way was the job misrepresented to you? Did employer promise you a certain number of hours and now has reneged? 35 hours a week is considered full-time, so the fact you aren’t getting 60 hours isn’t a valid reason. The erratic scheduling/last minute notice may be considered good cause – i.e., what would any reasonable person do under the circumstances. It isn’t reasonable to expect an employee to turn up at a moment’s notice. Most businesses do not operate that way.

      Second, because you quit the Olive Garden (unless you can prove good cause) you need to have worked and earned 5x your weekly benefit amount in gross wages at the new job before CA can pay you if it determines you have quit this most recent job with good cause. In other words, if your weekly benefit amount is determined to be $300, you need GROSS (before deductions) earnings of $1,500 at the Hawaiian restaurant. Unless you have proof of tip income and it has been reported to CA, you can’t include tips in that figure.

      CA is very claimant-friendly, but know that if you quit – no matter what you tell the interviewer – you will be denied and need to appeal before CA can pay you. Interviewers have very limited latitude on subjective issues in the initial stages of a claim and would not have the authority to decide if yours, in particular, is a good cause quit.

      That said, more California appeals have been won, than lost. It is always worth appealing in California. Plan for two months at least without benefits.

      You should read this:
      with particular attention to this:

  • prettylady

    Hi Daphne,
    I was employed by my last employer as a full time worker. my gross is 1800 every 2 weeks. I was there for 10 months. Prior to that, I worked for a company for 4 weeks (gross is more than 2k bi weekly) and before that worked for another company for 2 years (gross 1200 bi weekly). I was laid off at my last company. Do I qualify for EDD benefits?

    • In CA, to be monetarily eligible all you need to have earned is $1,300 in one quarter – as outlined at the top of this page. You are fine.

      • prettylady

        Hi Daphne,
        To follow-up, my employer didn’t give me a laid-off paper work. She said she will not contest the EDD claim when I asked for a written laid off notice. Is that heard of? Thank you for your time.

        • “Contest” is meaningless. What matters is the reason she gives for your discharge in her response to EDD. If the reason causes EDD to question the circumstances, you’ll know soon enough. You say layoff, she says layoff, there’s no problem. You say layoff, she says discharged because you weren’t meeting performance standards, then EDD has to determine why.

  • Manny Sanchez

    Hello. I started a job on May 4 and was laid off July 7th. The job was in california. Do I qualify for unemployment. I haven’t worked a full three months short by a few weeks but did gross over 6,000 during my short time there. It was a high salary job.

    • In CA, all that matters is that you’ve earned at least $1,300 in a quarter. You’ve earned enough to qualify for a small benefit – possibly more if you have other work history prior to this. When you apply, CA will review all earnings either 4/2016-3/2017 or 7/2016-6/2017.

  • In the state of California. When unemployment benefits have run out/been used up. How long does one need to work before being eligible for unemployment benefits again. Weekly gross income being $1,632.54

    • You are eligible for another claim when the first benefit year has expired and you have earned at least $1,300 in one quarter, or at least $900 in one quarter and another $225 outside that quarter. In your case one week of earnings is enough to create eligibility – provided first benefit year has expired.

      • Marco

        I was working and just got notice yesterday that I got layoff I started work in May 22 at 10.5 an hour full time am I eligible for unemployment??? Prior to that I was was unemployed for more then a year do to family medical problem.

        • If you earned at least $1,300 in GROSS wages (before deductions) by June 30, 2017, CA should grant benefits for about 12 weeks. The weekly benefit amount won’t be much. If you didn’t earn at least $1,300 gross before 6/30, then you are ineligible.

  • Michelle Brown

    I have an employee that filed for unemployment after she voluntarily quit. She text me to give her 2 weeks notice. I gave her hours up until the last day of her 2 week notice. In her Declaration she stated that she started out working 20-30 hours per week & ended with 12-20 hours per week with minimum promotions and maximum stress. She was never promised hours or a promotions & the job is far from stressful. She was aware this was a part time job, She worked days with no customers & still got paid. How should I respond to EDD & does she qualify for unemployment if she quit without any reason.

    • She needs a good cause reason for the quit. If there was never a promise of a set number of hours and she knew she couldn’t depend on a minimum number of hours of work a week, CA may not grant the claim, initially. When you are interviewed, you tell CA exactly what you have posted here. Chances are she’ll be denied. Quits are always problematic for the claimant.

      She may then appeal that decision. Both of you will appear at this hearing. CA ALJs are very claimant-friendly, so if there is any appearance that she had good reason to expect more hours – such as she had worked the longer hours for many months with the cutback being a recent development – there is a good chance she may have the denial overturned at appeal.

  • Brittini

    Hello, I am currently working for a temp agency in CA. I have been notified my last day is next week (6/16/17) and I am curious on how to go about applying for unemployment. I have always has the understanding that you had to work a specific number of hours and/or pay into Unemployment in order to receive it if applied.

    Is this true? Based off of the comments, it seems like a no, but I am only curious. I worked consistently for 2 years up until 12/16 of last year, and then I was employed again in February. (longest 2 months of my life) I really do hate being out of work, but unfortunately it happens. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

    If it helps, my weekly gross is $760.00, and monthly $3040.00.

    • Some states require minimum earnings in a week and a certain number of weeks worked. CA is not one of those states. CA only requires you earn at least $1,300 in one quarter, or $900 in a high quarter and $225 outside that quarter. If you apply now, CA will look at wages Jan-Dec. 2016. Because of your work history in 2016, you will have no monetary issues qualifying. Apply immediately when the job ends.

      Also, be sure to contact temp agency immediately for other work – and continue to do so a couple of times a week going forward, or the agency will say you “quit” when in fact the assignment ended. Keep copies of emails and phone logs to refute this claim, if necessary.

  • Nikki G.

    First, let me say, that you’re obviously the expert to ask on this specific topic.

    I have a couple of questions for you. Let me Begin by giving you a brief history. I started this job in California last September 2016 and have been working all the way through the end of April . I have been gone from my job for almost a month due to a serious emergency illness with a family member across country that resulted in death. I initially told my employer that I would be gone for an indefinite amount of time, in which he responded that I shouldn’t worry about it, that I would have a job when I came back. Since being here, I mentioned to the general manager that I would try to get back by May 23rd. I wrote them today and told them I would try to be back at work for June 12th . They responded by saying I was fired.

    My two questions are as follows:
    1. Do I still qualify for unemployment since I was not available to work, and,
    2. Since my two quarters were split up between two years, will that my unemployment eligibility?

    I’d really appreciate your assistance with this. Thanks in advance for your help.

    • Normally, being fired during an LOA would create eligibility for benefits. Not returning on 5/23 – even though an indefinite date – will present a problem, at least initially. Expect a denial and need to appeal. Interviewers have no latitude on subjective approvals. CA ALJ’s are very claimant-friendly and will try to approve you if they can.

      At the appeal, you need to provide compelling family reasons for not returning on 5/23 and be able to document the fluidity of your return date. You need to read these:

      Relative to the two quarters worked, it doesn’t matter in which calendar year they appear – only that the quarters are part of the base period used by CA. If you have a strong work history prior to this recent job, apply now. If not, wait until July for the best possible CA claim.

      If you apply now, CA will look at ALL earnings Jan-Dec. 2016. If you apply July 2nd or later, CA will look at ALL earnings April 1, 2016-March 31, 2017.

      CA determines weekly benefit amount by high quarter, and number of weeks paid by dividing 50% of total base period wages by the weekly benefit amount – explained, here:

  • Ryan


    Quick question. I started a job in April at $12/hour full time (with lots of O.T) and was told today our contract ends in September or October. Will I be eligible for unemployment come that time?

    • Yes. You only need earnings of $900 in one quarter and $225 outside that quarter. In October, CA will look at earnings through June 30, 2017 or September 30, 2017 if you don’t qualify on earnings through 9/30. You would have a much better claim if you could wait to January to apply. Chances are your earnings through 6/30 will qualify you. If you have no other earnings prior to this job, then your claim will be for about 13 weeks.

      • Ryan

        Ok, thanks. Glad I’m asked I was under the impression as long as I cleared $1300 in a quater I would he eligible no matter how long I worked.

        • Well, that’s true, too – provided that quarter appears in the base period when you apply. It’s either $1,300 quarter or a high quarter of $900 + $225 outside that high quarter.

  • GH

    HI Daphne, In Nov. 2015, I moved from AZ to CA and was able to work remotely for the company I worked for in AZ. In June, 2016 I quit the AZ company (working remotely in CA) and got a job in CA. I worked there from June, 2016 thru Nov. 2016. I moved back to AZ in March 2017 (this year) and the same AZ company I worked for re-hired me back and then let me go 1 week later for no reason given. I filed unemployment in AZ and was approved for $240 per week and have been receiving it since April. If I don’t find work after my 26 weeks is exhausted in AZ, can I then file in CA for wages earned there? I was told by someone that I have to exhaust my AZ benefits first and then file in CA. How does that work since I wasn’t dismissed from my job in CA while earning wages there? Thank you so much for your expertise and assistance with questions.

    • Yes, you must exhaust the AZ claim first. If you are still unemployed in Oct., assuming this is a 26-week claim, you can then apply in CA. CA will look at wages July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017. Since you have earnings July-November 2016 in CA, you should have claim eligibility.

      In your case, with earnings in both states, you were not required to apply first in AZ and would have been eligible for a CA claim after the AZ discharge and could have applied in CA first. CA’s benefit is much better than AZ’s – max $450/wk. When you exhausted the CA claim, had you remained unemployed, then you could have applied in AZ. Since you seem to toggle between the two states, remember this for the future so you don’t have eligible earnings aging out of any potential base period.

      • GH

        Hi Daphne,
        Thank you so much for your kind and most informative reply on 5/23/17.
        I am still collecting my 26 weeks of AZ unemployment (which ends at the end of Sept. 2017) @$240.00/wk. I am currently residing in AZ. If I am not employed at the end of that time, how do I go about filing for CA unemployment that I qualify for since I didn’t get dismissed from my job in CA? I mean I want to let CA know that my AZ benefits have been exhausted and I’m seeking CA benefits due to not finding employment yet. Applying for benefits in CA has nothing to do with any problems with my prior employer. I’m wondering if there is a box to check (or something like that) to inform CA Unemployment that my claim isn’t “against” my former CA employer, but is instead, due to my AZ unemployment benefits being exhausted and still being unemployed (if that’s still the case at the time, come the end of Sept.).
        Thank you in advance for your knowledge and assistance with my question(s) and everyone else’s. It’s very much appreciated.

        • You do not determine who pays your benefits. CA does that. It is not necessary to inform CA about the exhausted AZ claim. CA is able to determine that on its own and will check whether you have unexhausted claims in other states before approving a CA claim.

          Your process is very simple. You file a new CA claim online when the time comes, complete the requested information, let CA do the rest.

          • GH

            9-17-17: HI Daphne, my AZ benefits will be exhausted next week and I will be filing a CA claim online. Since all my CA wages are from one employer, will CA Unemployment contact that employer & inform them of my unemployment “draw” from them? There is a future opportunity for employment with them if we move back to CA and I don’t want to create confusion with them as to why I’m filing unemployment (when in fact, I left them on great terms to move back to AZ) last Nov. 2016.

            Thank you so much for your knowledge & help!

          • Yes, of course, CA will contact that employer – on your separation and to inform them that benefits are being paid from their reserve account. There’s no way around that when you apply for benefits no matter which state you apply. The states investigate all separations by contacting former employers and notify employers when benefits are being paid.

  • Jennamarie Carballo

    Hi i would like to know how many hrs i can work and get my EDD benefits??

  • Marina

    Could you, please, clarify the meaning of “working during at least one quarter in the base period” – does it mean January-March, etc, or any three months? I`ve been working for exactly 3 months from February to May on w-2, previously working on 1099 for the same company. Would I qualify in California?

    • Quarters are calendar year quarters – Jan-Mar; Apr-June; etc. CA requires you have earned at least $1,300 in a quarter to be eligible for benefits or, in the alternative, your high quarter be at least $900 and you have earnings of eat least $225 outside that high quarter.

      • Marina

        Thanks a lot, Daphne! So, if I have earned way more than $1300 per quarter (and per month) from mid November 2016 to mid February 2017 on 1099 and mid-Feb to mid May 2017 I worked on w-2, and was laid off due to financial problems at the company. Am I eligible for unemployment benefits now? Or I should be employed on w-2 at least one full calendar quarter? Thanks a lot in advance!

        • Benefits in CA are determined by wages earned in the base period, not “how long” you have worked. You could earn $1,300 in one day and be eligible for benefits once the quarter in which that $1,300 was earned has turned.

          Apply now, base period is Jan-Dec. 2016. If you’ve earned at least $1,300 Oct.-Dec., you qualify. If you have earnings in quarters from another employer prior to Oct. 2016, those wages are included as well.

          Apply July 2, 2017, CA uses earnings Apr. 2016-Mar 2017.

          Weekly benefit is determined by high quarter, number of weeks paid is determined by dividing 50% of total base period wages by weekly benefit amount, explained here – beginning at p. 4, here:

          Two good quarters of earnings will usually provide a 26-week benefit. If your only wages in 2016 were those earned Oct-Dec. 2016, the number of weeks paid will be 13.

  • K Hoff

    I have worked at a teaching job for 5 months. It is part time $1340 a month. I was told the other day that they are not sure if they will have the hours in August nor if there will be a position in August for me. They would let me know in July. I must figure out my plan before this just in case. I had stated in writing I wanted to return. My professional review was completely acceptable, I was only out 2 sick days, on time , was at all meetings, and did good work. Am I eligible for unemployment in CA. Taxes have been taken from my check each pay period. Thank you

    • You are eligible for unemployment benefits. If you are discharged in July, CA will use a base period of April 1, 2016-Mar. 30, 2017. Assuming high quarter of GROSS wages (before taxes) of $4,020 ($1340×3), your weekly benefit will be $155/wk. Number of weeks paid will 13 unless you have other wages in your base period in addition to those beginning in January. If the $1,340/mo. is net after taxes, then your benefit will be higher. The benefits schedule is on page 7, here:

    • K Hoff

      Thank you for the reply. School is out near the end of June. The administration said they would call me sometime in July when they figured out if there was a position for me again. When should I start the unemployment process? How do I start it? Thank you

      • You start the process when you are discharged. Unless you’ve signed a contract to return, you are eligible for benefits. If you agree to return in August/September, you are ineligible.

        • K Hoff

          Thank you for the information. Helpful to be able to talk to someone about this. The director said that she was NOT ABLE to offer me a position in Aug until she figures out the scheduling and then would call me in July. She was vague as to when or IF I would be called. I did not get contract from the school when I started in Jan. She said she could not give an answer whether I would have a position.
          Thank you

          • K Hoff

            I am not sure when or if I am discharged.? It was left vague for her. Would it be in July if she does not call?
            Then I would start the process? I was not promised a position, though I did not deserve this treatment . When I was hired, I replaced someone who left suddenly. I was not told it was a temporary position nor there was an evaluation period before the hire. All this seems underhanded on some level to me.

          • If you have no contract at the end of the school term, you are eligible for benefits. Apply in July if you have not heard. At that time, the director will either offer you a position for the fall or she won’t.

          • K Hoff

            Thank you so much. Very helpful.
            Be well

  • Tricia

    I have an employee who was terminated 04/25/17 and he found another job right away. He was just let go from the new job (worked about 1 week at new job), can he file for unemployment? If so, which company, our company or his newest employer, will be responsible for the discharges and assessments against the UI reserve account

    • CA will review wages Jan-Dec. 2016, or Apr 2015-Mar 2016. Your wages may not be in the base period for his claim, but CA will nonetheless assess your account in a small way for this claim. States have varying formulas.

  • Bailey

    I worked for a company for 13 years and quit in February of 2017. I started a new job the end of March making less money per hour which was fine because it is a lot less stress. Business is really slow and It is looking like I may be laid off in May. Would I qualify for unemployment if in fact I am laid off since I quit the other job?

    • CA requires that you have earned 5x your weekly benefit at the new job after a quit before it will pay benefits if you lose that new job. Sounds like you’ve been at the latest job long enough to have done that. Max benefit in CA is $450/wk. $450×5=$2,250. You should be fine. By all means apply.

  • Nancy

    I started work Jan 23, 2017, on my 88th day of my probationary period I was placed on an administrative leave. Have not been formally terminated, but will be 5/2/2017. Can I collect all unemployment benefits after working these 88 days?

    • Yes. Length of time at this employer doesn’t matter. Earnings in your base period do. CA will look at earnings either Jan-Dec. 2016, or Apr 2016-Mar 2017. If you’ve earned $1,300 in any quarter during either of those periods, you are monetarily qualified for benefits.

  • Jeanette k

    Hello, I’m in .ca. I’m working full time and making 12.58 an hour. It’s a temp job for 6 months. After that 6 months will I be eligible for unemployment or no?

  • Hi this is Kathy from California. I was employed for years but played off 8/16. I collected unemployment for 6 months – ending in February. I took a contracting job for my former employer (trough a contract company) this month (March). I recollect my original unemployment benefit is only good for 6 months during the one year period (which ends 8/17). My question is will I be eligible to file again for unemployment starting in September if I am layed off again but this time by the contracting company? If so for how many weeks can I collect again?

    • If you are being paid W-2 wages, you file a new claim when your current benefit year expires or when you are laid off, whichever occurs last. Because your previous employment had been long-term, the LAG (April 2016-Aug 2016) from the first claim will probably provide an equivalent weekly benefit amount. The length of the claim will depend on total earnings in the base period Apr 2016-Mar 2017. Divide 50% of total earnings in the base period by the weekly benefit amount to determine number of weeks paid.

  • Max


    We are an construction company in California, we fired an employee that he worked (16 days) from 3/13/17 to 4/3/17 and earned $4800.00 in total before tax,

    now he claimed for unemployment, does he qualify?


    • He does monetarily. CA will first look at wages either Jan-Dec. 2016, or Apr 1, 2016-Mar. 31, 2017. All he needs to earn in either of those periods is either (1) $1,300 in one quarter, or (2) $900 in one quarter and $225 outside that quarter. If his only wages were the $4,800 listed above, even in that short period, assuming he earned $4,500 through 3/31, with the $300 earned 4/3, he qualifies for a weekly benefit of $174/wk for about 13 weeks. It is also possible he is reopening an existing claim. CA always contacts the most recent employer before doing that.

  • Aniel

    I have an employee who is relocating to another city where we do not have a DC. Does she qualify for unemployment. She has been with me for 10 years and this is a personal move.

    • If her husband/fiance is moving there, yes. This is a state-mandated benefit paid for by California – NOT you. Your account will not be charged. Fyi – over 40 states pay for benefits under these circumstances. There may also be other acceptable personal reasons mandated under California law. Read this:

      • Aniel

        No she is single and has a young child but has no support system here to help her and she does in Ohio which is why she is leaving. This made me think she would not qualify for unemployment.

        • She will probably be initially denied as interviewers are not given much latitude in CA. Normally, child care is personal – but if she can connect this somehow to family reunification, compelling family circumstances, she would be on stronger ground. Interviewers initially issue denials and let the appeals court sort out the facts.

          There may be something on that CA page which fits her. She would need to appeal a denial in order to have the specific facts of her case examined. It always pays to apply and appeal in CA. CA ALJ’s are the most claimant-friendly in the US.

  • Kay Miller

    I quit my job of 12 years in California to work for another company in Texas. Long story short when I got there position was no longer available to me. Can I apply for unemployment?

    • Yes. Apply in California. Not all states will pay under these circumstances, but CA will. Be prepared to provide CA proof of this job offer and any ways in which it was materially better than the job you left. Expect a possible initial denial as interviewers are given limited latitude on decisions like these – and a need to appeal. These denials are routine. Ignore it, and file an appeal. Over 50% of appeals in California are won. It always pays to appeal in CA.

      See B.1., here:

  • Jennifer

    I work in California. If I worked from 2/21/17 to April 21, 2017 with weekends off, can I get unemployment?

    • If you earned $1,300 before 3/31/2017, you would qualify for a very small benefit if you lose this job. Otherwise, if you have other work history, CA will look at all earnings going back to January 1, 2016.

      • Jennifer

        I worked from another company for 15 and a half years. I quit that job on July 2016 and stopped working for at least 3 months. Got a temp job here and there. Then finally got this permanent job, the one for Feb 21-April 21 2017.
        So would they consider those earnings, even though I quit on that one?

        • CA will still use those earnings even though you’ve quit. The quit won’t matter anymore, because you’ve worked temp and other jobs since that quit. You’ve earned more than enough to purge any penalty.

          You’ve got plenty of earnings from that job in 2016 for a 26-week claim. CA will first look at earnings Jan-Dec. 2016. Only if you don’t qualify (which you will), will it look at earnings April 1, 2016-March 31, 2017. All you need in CA for a 26-week claim is 26 weeks’ earnings. You have that Jan-June 2016.

  • Chloe

    My husband and I are moving from California to Arizona in June. He works mostly remote, but does have an office he can work out of in Az if he needs to go into the office. His position is easily transferable in many states in the U.S. I cannot transfer with my employer. Am I able to collect unemployment once we get to Arizona if I haven’t found a new job? If so, do I file in California? Thank you.

  • Anna

    Hello I’ve worked in a transport company in the position of dispatcher and making all the invoices, payrolls and several things. I start in December of 2015 and all 2016 but with form 1099. In January the first I started with w2 form. My boss pushing me and stress me. He changed me to another position that I don’t have any knowledge. And cut me my full time to part time this week. I’m a single mother and today. Monday 17 abril 2017. He just fired me with no explanation at all. Can I get unemployment I was earning 600 per week. And also he fired me with no reason. Can I obtain some liquidation?
    Please help me

    • You can apply. W-2 wages Jan-Mar. will qualify you in California for about $300/wk. However, you won’t be able to collect for longer than 13 weeks.

      HOWEVER, you worked all of 2016 on 1099 – none of those wages are eligible unless you get them reclassified. If these wages are reclassified, you will qualify for a 26-week claim, not 13 weeks, plus you will have a good LAG for another second year claim should you get another job and be laid off again.

      From your job description, it is clear you should never have been a 1099 worker. Read this fact sheet:

      Employers routinely violate the law on 1099 workers in order to avoid taxes.

      CA investigates and reclassifies 1099 wages to W-2 wages all the time. Therefore, apply for benefits. Talk to a rep if possible. Tell that rep you worked all of 2016 on 1099 and those should not have been 1099 wages and you want an investigation and reclassification done.

      Might take a few more weeks to get benefits, but the payoff is worth it.

      One more thing, chances are your employer will lie and accuse you of misconduct and you may be initially denied. IGNORE THAT and file an appeal if that happens. Appeals are won in CA all the time. It ALWAYS pays to appeal in CA.

  • annie

    I am currently collecting unemployment. If I were to get hired, but fired after a few months, would I be able to collect unemployment again? Is there a specific amount of weeks/months I need to work to collect?

    • You do not need to work a set number of weeks/hours, etc. to reopen an existing claim. In your case, assuming the claim had not yet expired, you would REOPEN your existing claim and continue collecting those benefits until exhausted or the benefit year expires, whichever occurs first.

      If you are still unemployed at the end of the benefit year, you would reapply for a new claim. The fact that you have worked during your current benefit year will qualify you for a new claim at that time if you are still unemployed.

  • skm

    I did not work in 2016 from Jan 1st-Oct 2nd. I started my current job October 3rd 2016 and plan on staying here until August 2017.

    I have some medical issues which cause me to miss work sometimes and the employers attendance policy is very strict. I already have 5 points and I can only have up to 7 before getting let go. The points do not come off a year from the missed day.

    If I were to get let go or fired in August 2017 for attendance reasons would I be eligible for unemployment?

    Thank you.

    • Yes, you are eligible. Medical reasons are not disqualifying. Keep documentation of your notices to employer and medical reasons for absences.

      Monetarily you are already eligible. CA only requires earnings in one quarter of $1,300. Six months, or two quarters, usually will provide a 26 week claim.

      If you are discharged in August, CA will review wages October 2016-March 2017. Weekly benefit is based on high quarter earnings, number of weeks paid is determined by dividing the weekly benefit into 50% of the total wages in the base period. More info here, on pp. 6-7:

  • Caitlin Trudgian

    I started working a new job two weeks ago and got let go today. I asked for an explanation and she refused to give one. I know I didn’t do anything wrong. I only made a total of $310, however, I have earnings in prior base periods from previous recent work. Will I qualify for UI if I file? Or did I not make enough money from this last job?

    • If you already have a claim, REOPEN that claim. If you do not have a claim, file an application for benefits. What matters is $$ in the base period, not how long you’ve been on the job.

      CA has a very low bar for qualifying. You earn either $1,300 in a quarter, or $900 in one quarter and $225 outside that quarter. If you meet either of those earnings requirements, you have monetary eligibility for a claim.

  • Tina B

    Hello- my husband had not worked since April 2012 (stay-at-home-father). He started with a construction company on 2/23/2017 and today (3/23/2017) was his last day. He earned well over the $1,300. Am I understanding correctly that if he waits until after 4/2/2017 to file a claim with unemployment benefits in CA, that he may be eligible for benefits? Thank you!

  • MT

    I have worked since feb 15 2017 and will likely be let go in the next month. The last full time W-2 salary I got ended in October. I worked contract 1099 wages oct nov dec. will I be eligible for unemployment? Should I wait to file if that makes a difference? Thanks

    • File immediately upon discharge. When you apply, CA will look at wages Jan.-Dec. 2016. You only need to have earned $1,300 in that period to qualify for a claim. Since this last job is W-2, CA should have no problem finding eligibility.

      Your weekly benefit will be determined by your high quarter wages in that period. The total number of weeks paid will be determined by dividing 50% of total wages by the weekly benefit. With 9-10 months wages, you will have no problem qualifying for a 26-week claim.

      If you want to determine your weekly benefit, that information is here, beginning on p.7:

  • Joseph

    I have been working since march 2016 and am being layed off in April 2017. I make 1200 a month. My question is would I be eligible for UI and for how long will I get benefits?

  • Eden Percy

    Hi, I worked for two months and they called and let me go. I asked why and the manager said I missed something on my application. This was a year ago still looking for work. Is it too late to apply? Can I?

    • The only condition of when you file for benefits is that there are enough wages in the base period to support a claim. If you apply now, CA will look at wages October 2015-September 2016, or Jan-Dec. 2016. You absolutely can apply now. If you have no other earlier earnings than two months Jan-Mar. 2016, all you needed to earn in that two months is $1,300. If you did, should qualify. If you have other work history, for sure you qualify. Apply immediately

  • Yesenia

    I worked for about a month at this job and was getting paid by weekly and he just completely from one day to another stopped giving my hours to work I reached out to him and asked why wasn’t i on the schedule he said he would call me never did . I reached out to him on several occasions via email via text and he ignored my calls my text and he still just completely basically fired me is there anyway I can do something about the situation??

    • You can’t do anything but apply for unemployment benefits because your employer has discharged you. If you have sufficient work history prior to this one month job, going back to October, CA should find enough earnings to grant a claim. There is no way to force an employer to give you hours.

      • Yesenia

        Okay I see but I can apply for unemployment even if I was only there for that amount of time ? I understand you can’t force them but wrongful termination no warning no nothing I was in shock .

        • To repeat, if you had sufficient earnings in the base period, you will get benefits. In California, there is no requirement you work at a job for x number of weeks. It’s all about earnings in the base period. Apply now, CA uses earnings either through October or December. Apply in April, CA uses earning either through December or March.

  • angie

    Hello so i worked at a job for 7 months started aug 2016 and last friday march 17.2017 got let go with no explanation he just said he didn’t need my services no more wanr to know will i get anything or can i file for unemployment? Please help

    • Absolutely. If you have a strong work history 10/2015-09/2016, apply now.

      Otherwise, wait until April 2nd to apply – less than two weeks away. At that time, CA will use earnings Jan-Dec. 2016. Five months earnings should provide a pretty decent claim even if you haven’t worked before August.

      Otherwise, if you apply now and have no earnings before August, your claim will be for a shorter period and may not provide as good a benefit.

      Waiting two weeks may make all the difference in the quality of your claim, so examine your earnings history before applying.

  • Janet

    I worked total 4 months in the year 2016, and was laid off by a company with the last day for work on March 31, 2017. However, the company offers me the work for 3 more months as the 1099 employee after I was laid off. The question is below

    1) Can I still apply and be qualified for the unemployment benefits after 3 months of 1099 employee?

    • Absolutely not. Benefit eligibility is determined by your last job. The 1099 is not eligible for benefits.

      The time to apply is immediately upon discharge from the W-2 job – DO NOT work on 1099 for any employer, especially the one which discharged you, until the claim is approved.

  • Chris

    I have an employee who started working for us on 12/29/2016 and her last day will be 03/10/2017. She has earned way over the threshold of $1300. Will she be eligible for benefits or does CA require that she work the entire 1st quarter to qualify, so through 3/31? Or is the fact that she hit the threshold within the 1st quarter enough?

    • She doesn’t need to work an entire quarter. Earnings in the base period are what matter – and when she files for benefits. If she has no other earnings in 2016, she doesn’t qualify now – but she will in April. Filing no earlier than April 2nd, CA will include earnings through 3/31/2017, if necessary. If she files now, CA will use either earnings 10/2015-9/2016 or Jan-Dec. 2016.

      Essentially, claim eligibility is determined by 12-month base period earnings. CA first uses a standard base period which excludes the quarter in which one files and the quarter preceding that. If claimant doesn’t qualify under the standard base period, CA then uses its alternate base period which includes twelve-month earnings through the most recently completed quarter.

  • Jim Gillespie

    I am purchasing an existing company. The company has approximately 50 employees. From the day I acquire the company, if I wait 2-3 weeks to determine who I want to keep, I am still responsible for their unemployment or is it reflected against the prior owner? Is there a grace period for me?

    • Once you own the company, you own any obligations of that company. You discharge employees, your future UI taxes will be affected. If you don’t want the responsibility, consult with an atty – possibly the sale contract can compensate you in some way for these future discharges and assessments against your UI reserve account.

  • John Daley

    Hello, any help would be appreciated. I started working for this company Dec 1, 2016 this week I found out that they are shutting down our office. I am the office manager / warehouse manager so of course I will be out of a job. I have earned 7996.37 since I started on Dec 1, will I qualify for unemployment? Does it reset after Jan 1? Or am I screwed.

    • Length of time at the job isn’t what matters – unless you quit your previous job without cause or were fired for misconduct and haven’t earned 5x your weekly benefit amount at the new job necessary to purge the VQ/MC.

      Otherwise, you qualify on total earnings in your base period. CA will look at all your earnings between 10/1/2015-09/30/2016, or Jan.-Dec. 2016, whichever base period qualifies you first. You need to have earned at least $1,300 in one quarter, or have a high quarter of $900 + $225 outside that high quarter to qualify. You probably earned $1,300 in the month of December, alone.

      Apply for benefits. You may need to provide CA proof of earnings through 12/31/2016 as employer may not have yet reported the December quarter to CA.

      CA bases your weekly benefit on high quarter earnings, then divides 50% of total base period wages by weekly benefit amount to determine number of weeks paid. WBA charts are in CA’s handbook, here:

  • Marlowe

    I have been on SDI since 12/2015. I thought I could go back to work and I tried but could only get through 2 months. I did make over 1300. between August 2016 thru October 2016. Then my Doctor put me back on Disability.
    I am ready to go back to work now, but have been unsuccessful in finding work. I do have Doctors correspondence when I was unable to work. Am I eligible for UI , with only working the 2 months in 2016?

  • Heidi

    Hi, this is Heidi again regarding transitioning from SDI to UI. I’m pretty sure you meant to say if I apply 3/26/2017 I’ll keep that quarter. (you said 2016 so just making sure). But anyway, I’ll just go ahead and apply for UI right away then as long as doing so won’t affect the SDI I’m receiving or lower the amount I’d potentially get on UI. So you’re saying it won’t right?
    You said “You won’t get 26 weeks because, generally, unless you are very highly paid, three months wages aren’t enough for a 26-week claim. CA bases the benefit on amount of high quarter, and then divides that benefit into 50% of total base period wages to determine number of weeks.”
    I’m really confused because if my base period is from Oct. 2015-Sept. 2016 like you said, then I would have six months of wages, not three, as I didn’t go on disability till April 1, 2016 and was working from Oct. 2015 – April 2016. I would guesstimate my total wages for those six months at about $14,000 and my highest quarter out of those two around $7500 so can you explain what you mean by them taking that $7500 and dividing into 50% of total base period wages to determine number of weeks? I’m sorry but I don’t understand. Thanks for all the help, I really appreciate it!

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