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

Massachusetts defines an employer as having paid at least $1,500 in wages during any quarter of the base period or having had an employee/employees for at least 13 weeks out of the base period.

Massachusetts requires you to have earned at least 30 times the WBA within the entire base period. You also must have earned a minimum of $3,500 within the total base period.

MA computes the WBA by taking 50% of the Annual Weekly Wages (AWW) of the state. You are able to add $25 to this for each dependent you claim for up to ½ of your WBA.

Massachusetts offers both an extended base period and an alternate base period. The alternate base period considers the last three completed calendar quarters of the base period (instead of the first four) as well as any weeks you spent working during the quarter in which you filed for unemployment insurance (a typical base period excludes the quarter in which you file for unemployment) if you are otherwise ineligible for unemployment using the regular base period. You may also choose to use the alternate base period over the regular base period if it results in an at least 10% increase of your WBA. The extended base period is available to those who qualify. To qualify, you must have received worker’s compensation [due to being disabled] for at least seven weeks. If you meet this requirement, your base period may be extended up to 52 more weeks.


  • Amanda Hurley

    I justbstarted working at a job that went out of business after working there for 3 weeks. They laid everyone off and gabe information for unemployment. Do i qualify? Some people have said you have to be with the company for a certain amount of time.

    • Earnings history going back to 15 months is what matters, not length of time on the job. If you have other employment history in MA, you may qualify. Apply for benefits and let MA determine your eligibility.

  • Matt

    I’m about to work at least 60 hours a week for 3 weeks making $40 an hour and was just curious if that might qualify

  • Philip J. Locigno jr.

    I worked from August to December 2016. I work construction. Union laborer. I made over 11 thousand but when I tried to open a claim the recording said need more info. I did receive one check and been out of work since December 5 2016. I have enough to collect. Why is there a problem.

    • Many possible reasons for the suspension of benefits. You need to reach MA somehow. Visit an office if there is one near you if you are unsuccessful by phone. Otherwise – do not hesitate to email your state representative. Find yours, here:

      He will respond immediately and get someone at MA to contact you. Definitely email him before too much time goes by. If you don’t, the black hole of no ability to contact MA/no communication from MA will go on for months – with no benefits paid.

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