Unemployment Rules for Seasonal Workers

Not everyone fits the traditional, eight-to-five, year-round job scenario. Seasonal employees work for defined, often short periods of time during specific times of the year. This phenomenon is created by variations in certain industries that are affected by seasonal shifts in demand or weather-related impediments.

Seasonal unemployment is most commonly associated with the tourist and seasonal-recreation industries (ski resorts, amusement parks, etc.) as well as weather-related jobs (landscaping, construction, lifeguarding, etc.). The phenomenon can also apply to sporadic, but predictable employment areas like certain types of farming, working for a theatre company, or employment structured around an academic calendar (this one is special, we’ll cover it below).

Seasonal Unemployment Requirements

Seasonal unemployment can get a little complicated, because it is a subcategory of structural unemployment. In the latter, qualifying for unemployment is a matter of meeting two simple criteria factors: 1) being unemployed through no fault of your own and 2) meeting your state’s requirements for wages earned.

Seasonal unemployment is unique in that lack of work is caused by a trend that is predictable of a particular industry. This unique trend means that seasonal workers are not considered “unemployed” in the traditional sense and many states act on that view by denying seasonal workers unemployment benefits outright.

Since a seasonal worker technically has a job to return to, collecting unemployment benefits during their “break” is not something certain states are willing to fund. Unemployment benefits for seasonal workers are determined state by state, however states that do provide seasonal unemployment benefits do so on the basis of wages earned during the base period.

The base period is a one year period sectioned off into five quarters and most states require that applicants earn a minimum amount of wages during this time as a qualification for unemployment benefits.

Note that states that rely on a tourist-based economy are generally more generous to the seasonal worker.

Understanding Independent Contractors

The first thing you need to know about seasonal unemployment is whether or not your employer is required to provide you with benefits.

Independent contractors are defined by the U.S. Small Business Administration as self-employed individuals and as such, they hire seasonal and part-time workers, they don’t employ them. It is a one-word difference, but understand that only an employee can claim unemployment benefits.

Find out whether you are working for an independent contractor right off the bat, this will help you prepare better for a period of unemployment.

Weather Related Unemployment: What’s the Difference?

First thing’s first: do not confuse seasonal unemployment with a weather-related job disruption. While there are jobs that entail seasonal unemployment caused by weather (snow doesn’t make a beach very appealing), these should be viewed as seasons, therefore the layoffs are due to seasonal demands.

Weather-related unemployment only becomes valid when a weather-induced disruption causes loss in wages or outright unemployment. A lifeguard who goes home for the winter is not the same as a construction worker laid off for a few weeks because of snow. In this scenario, the construction worker would qualify for unemployment benefits, but not the lifeguard.

Seasonal and Tourism-Related Unemployment

True seasonal unemployment is not technically unemployment at all. Rather, it is a gap between work commitments. While most seasonal workers are not receiving a paycheck in between working seasons, states do not readily classify them as “unemployed” because they technically have a job pending. The reason collecting unemployment benefits has become difficult for such workers is that states do not want to be responsible for giving workers with a job a paid break.

States whose primary economy relies on the tourist industry however, have higher percentages of seasonal unemployment and in addition to unemployment benefits (or as an alternative), may provide other resources to ensure that their employees return to them during peak season.

Seasonal Unemployment Alternatives

Given recent changes in state unemployment laws, many seasonal workers find it hard to collect unemployment benefits; actually, only construction workers and agricultural workers seem to qualify for what was once a wider pool of unemployed seasonal workers. That being said, many employers are providing their workers with alternate benefits in hope that they will serve as incentive for their workers to return during peak season.

One of the arguments against providing seasonal unemployment benefits is that a seasonal worker is self-aware and knows that a period of unemployment is on the horizon. This is partly true, so if you’re a seasonal worker that does not qualify for unemployment benefits, below are some things you can look for to cushion lost wages.

Part-time Job Opportunities

Many seasonally operating companies are willing to employ their workers part-time in order to help them keep a source of income during off-season. As an employee, this will initially seem like a cut in wages, but given that collecting unemployment benefits may be out of the question, it is your company’s way of providing you with some semblance of income between peak seasons.

Employer-Aided Job Placement

Other companies are implementing post-season job placement programs to ensure that their employees have a job when the season ends. This aid may come in the form of networking or providing a great recommendation. This type of collaboration is also convenient because the process is cooperative; it takes competition away from the picture and ensures risk-free employment year-round.

Competitive Wages

Actors, musicians, performers, and athletes are a great example of seasonal workers armed with competitive wages. Good wages allow employees to save for that period of unemployment between peak seasons, ensuring that they will have enough to survive on and that being a seasonal worker will be a sustainable lifestyle.

Off-season Housing Benefits

Another great perk to look for, especially for employees in the tourist industry, are off-season housing benefits such as free or reduced rent. Many employees in this area may already receive such benefits during peak season, but many employers have started to extend it during off-season as a way to keep their seasonal employees. Since rent is an employees main monthly expense, providing off-season housing benefits has both reduced the need for employees to claim unemployment benefits (or seek work elsewhere) and increased the number of employees returning for the peak season.

101 comments

  • Clay

    I resigned from a position because it was too far away and I have kids in daycare that closes by 6:00 pm but the store where I worked closed at 10:00. I was initially hired on for temporary / seasonal work lasting 2 to 3 months. 3 months passed and they asked me to resign “for any reason” to look better as job reference.
    So I wrote something like personal family reasons – then filed claim to reopen unemployment benefits I was receiving from a company that Laid me off. Could EDD consider this refusal of work?
    (even though I will most likely find another job within a month)

    • “Personal” is an automatic disqualifier. “Family reasons” may be your escape. Never listen to an employer when they ask you to resign. Hopefully, your resignation letter stated the job was unsuitable and not as represented and that long-term it was not economically feasible for you to work that distance, nor did the hours and length of contract comport with your original employment contract. When you apply, those are your reasons for the quit. Expect a denial and a need to appeal. Because you are in California – the most claimant-friendly state in the country – you should win at appeal.

      Prep by reading this – especially the chapters on domestic and travel/time/distance.

      http://www.edd.ca.gov/UIBDG/Voluntary_Quit_-_Table_of_Contents.htm

      • Clay

        I actually stated “child care” was unsuitable (which it was / is) … But what’s the problem when I already have an existing unemployment claim from the previous employer – I only collected 4 weeks out of $7155 ?

        • This is a new separation and must be investigated in the same manner relative to “good cause” as though you are filing a brand new claim. When the investigation is complete, assuming it finds no issues, CA can resume benefits on the existing claim. Quitting to care for an ill child is one thing. Lack of child care or suitable childcare is personal and not qualifying. How did you deal with child care when you worked this job? Were the hours different? If so, the new hours render the job unsuitable. Time/distance can also be good cause. Again, you’re in CA. You should prevail on appeal, but probably not immediately because interviewers do not have the authority to approve anything but the most clear cut of separations.

      • Clay

        Just to follow up, should I tell the EDD interviewer that my last company asked me to resign, when the job ended? and will that help or hurt the chance to qualify for benefits? Thanks for any advice.

        • Yes, absolutely disclose that. If, on the other hand, company replies you quit, the interviewer will go with that. Employers can allege all manner of things. Interviewers accept employer statements as fact, deny, and leave the matter for the appeals court to decide. As I’ve said, you should win on appeal.

  • Gayle

    I was laid off in March, and started collecting benefits, then was hired in April someplace else.
    The first 2 paychecks I continued file with EDD along with my earnings, stating this work was temporary or seasonal. EDD paid me $19.00 the first week then $2.00 the next. So after that I stopped filing because I was working plenty of hours.
    Now I am no longer working but was not “laid off” because I understood this was not permanent work that would end. Do I qualify to reopen my previous claim? Since I only collected a few checks totaling $1,100 out of the benefit amount $7,500 for my claim.
    What is my best chance to continue receiving weekly benefits, until I start work again in CALIFORNIA?

    • Yes, you qualify to reopen the claim which does not expire until March 2018. Try to speak to a rep. CA will want to know why you stopped claiming and may need to schedule an interview before it will resume benefits.

      • Gayle

        A telephone interview is scheduled Aug. 21 and my concern is what will they ask me in order to qualify to resume collecting Unemployment?

  • Maria

    I will be leaving my job for a management position that is seasonal. The season goes from the middle of March to the Middle of November. If I would start this coming September would I be eligible for unemployment during the layoff? I live in PA.

    • You will need to earn at least six times your weekly benefit amount at this new job between September-November to purge the penalty for the quit from the other job. Your weekly benefit will be 1/25 of your high quarter earnings between July 1, 2016-June 30, 2017. PA’s maximum benefit is $573/week. So, if you qualify for that, your earnings at the seasonal job would need to be gross $3,438 before you are laid off. You may need to provide proof of earnings to PA when you apply as its database may not be current.

  • Houston

    Question:
    We are an employer that uses a group of seasonal workers for cleaning and mowing the city for approximately 9 months and off approximately 3. Typically, we don’t bring in the same group a people. We are in the state of KY. Are they able to collect unemployment benefits during those 3 months?

    • Nine months work doing landscaping is not exempt from benefits and requires payment of appropriate unemployment insurance tax to the State of KY. The employer pays this tax.

      This pdf should answer your questions – or at least give you a good starting point.

      http://kcc.ky.gov/career/If-you-are-an-Employer/Documents/EmployerGuide.pdf

      You will note, under certain circumstances, KY does exempt benefits for agricultural workers and casual laborers.

      In KY, two quarters of wages are required for benefits. Your employees will be earning three quarters of wages and will be monetarily eligible for benefits – provided they are legal workers, properly registered with USCIS and have appropriate work permits.

  • Ivelisse

    Good night:
    My concern is about my husband he is actually working for a Landscaping company in Texas but he is from Puerto Rico.His job is seasonal ( april-december) will he be able to apply for unemployment benefits once the season is over?

    • This is what Texas says about benefits for noncitizens:

      TWC can pay benefits to claimants who are noncitizens only if they are authorized to work in the United States. Noncitizens must give us their Alien Registration number so that we can verify their status with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If USCIS cannot verify that the claimant is currently authorized to work in the United States, we cannot pay benefits. TWC can only use wages earned legally to compute benefits.

      http://www.twc.state.tx.us/businesses/unemployment-benefits-basics-employers

      He needs two quarters of earnings in his base period to qualify. Unless he has other earnings prior to April, if he applies Dec 31-Jan. 6, or earlier, he will be denied because TX will only consider earnings for one quarter ending 6/30/17 at that time.

      Therefore, he should apply for benefits no earlier than January 7, 2018, when TX can consider earnings 10/1/16-9/30/2017. Two solid quarters of earnings should provide a fairly decent benefit.

  • walt

    hi,
    if i work for a swimming pool company that does construction and maintenance in New jersey will i be able to collect unemployment?
    season runs April (maybe March) to October (maybe november)
    i read somewhere that construction is not classified as seasonal so you can collect UE. Is this true?
    thanks

    • Generally, NJ only requires 20 weeks of work with earnings of at least $168/wk, or earnings of $8,400 to qualify for benefits. Thus, most seasonal people would qualify under the general rules.

      In NJ, seasonal employment is defined as work that is performed for 36 weeks or fewer, per calendar year, and is based on seasonal need or local draw – primarily hospitality, etc. NJ’s 20-wk rule contradicts the definition of “seasonal.” Further, your employment contract or info you received when hired should have told you if special seasonal rules apply to your position. To my knowledge, past attempts to limit benefits for seasonal employees in NJ have not been successful.

      Apply for benefits when you lose the job and let NJ determine your eligibility. Know that when you are laid off in October, NJ will review wages using one of the following base periods until you qualify – in the order given:

      (1) July 1, 2016-June 30, 2017,
      (2) October 1, 2016-Sept. 30, 2017, or
      (3) Jan 2017-date of layoff 2017.

      • walt

        hi,
        will they use the base period in NJ that gives me the highest benefit?
        thanks
        Walt

        • No. Per NJ:

          There are two alternate base years within the last 18 months that are checked to determine if you could have a valid claim. You cannot choose which alternate base year or which calendar quarters to use to qualify for a claim. Once your claim becomes valid, that is the base year you must use on your claim. If you still do not qualify for a claim using the first alternate base year, then a second alternate base year is reviewed.

          http://lwd.state.nj.us/labor/ui/calculate.html

  • Ann Fox

    I have been employed continuously for the past two years but am still considered a seasonal employee by my company. I work in tourism for a vacation rentals company, but I have not been laid off or anything during the entire time. Do they owe me full-time status and benefits?

  • Lost & don't know where to start!

    Work in CO at tax firm (Jan- Apr). The company was going to give me 15 hours a week working under a different position after July 4th. On July 5th, I was told that the position was eliminated. I didn’t apply for other employment because I was told that I had employment after a certain date. I don’t want to lose the chance of coming back to work for them in January and I’m actively looking for work elsewhere. Would I qualify for benefits until I find my next job? How does filing an unemployment claim typically impact the chances of working for the company again?

    • Apply for benefits. CO will examine all earnings Apr 2016-Mar 2017 or July 2016-June 2017. You only need to have earned $2,500. A tax firm should be well-accustomed to people applying for benefits during its off-season. If the employer has any common sense, employees applying for benefits shouldn’t negatively affect future employment.

  • Wanda

    Hi! My questions isn’t for myself, but for the workers at the business that I work for. We are a lawn care business in Michigan, and we do snow plowing in the winter. Our workers will be laid off at the end of our lawn care season (probably November) and will be employed on an on-call basis depending on the snow fall. Would they still fit the unemployment guidelines?

  • Kendal

    Hi, my husband works for a seasonal restaurant in Texas. He will be without work and pay for 4 months of the year, would he qualify for unemployment during those months? This is his first year working for them and it would be the only time he would have to collect, because they are going to put him on full year salary next year. Thank you.

    • Whether or not he qualifies monetarily will depend on ALL wages in his base period when he is laid off – wages going back up to 18 months, not just his restaurant wages.

      He will be expected to search for and accept other work during those four months. Many states will waive a work search with a 28-day return to work date, but four months is too long.

  • Hi I worked as part time for four days in the florist business. Was call by company to say
    My service is not longer needed. They only need one florist. I worked in the hotel industry over 20 yes never filed for unemployment. Did not work for 4yrs. Can I draw
    Unemployment. Thank you

  • Tricia Farley

    I work a seasonal job starting the beginning of May until the end of September.and will return the following year. Am I able to collect unemployment for the months that I worked.

  • Wondering if you can collect unemployment for a paraprofessional job in a school in Indiana that is part time but permanent but off for the summer?

  • Steph

    I work at an arena complex which is driven by events only. The heaviest season typically goes from Oct-June. This is a part time job and this is my 11th season. However, Sept of 2017 I left my full time job to come here on a full time bases although its still considered seasonal-part time work. The money was definitely worth it but the season is coming to an end. Can I collect benefits in Pa for this reason?

    • If you meet PA’s qualifying requirements, yes. PA recently relaxed its law so more seasonal workers qualify for benefits. Under the new guidelines, you need to have earned 37% of your total base period earnings outside your high quarter between the Jan-Dec. 2016 base period. Previously, that number had been 49.5%. Wages from ALL employment are included in the base period, not just those from your most recent employer.

  • Colleen

    I work for a private college in Massachusetts. My position runs September to June. Am I eligible for unemployment for the summer months?

  • Helene Rodgers

    Was wondering if you can collect unemployment in Indiana for a seasonal school cafeteria job that is part time and permanent but off for summer?

  • margaret anolfo

    I was working two part time jobs, and was just laid off from the one that provides the majority of my earnings.

    The emplpoyer themselves did not want to let me go as they said I am an exemplary employee, but the state contracted nurse that visits the home, said I did not pass the nursing delegation for diabeites treatment, so they are required to let me go.

    So, I believe I should be able to file an unemploymt claim, since I was laid off and have lost my main source of income. Is there some way to explain the details as in it isn’t exactly a layoff or a firing technically just a one thing they are required to let me go for. They aren’t sure if they can keep me on as on call that’s what they would like to do.

    I had just accepted a full time seasonal summer job that begins in about six weeks. Is there some exception to the job seeking thing since I know I have a job and have signed the paperwork and accepted it but it does not begin until june 15?

    my other part time job is at a school district on a grant position, and is only 230 dollars per month).

    Also I earned very little wages last year, so what time period is unemploymenbt based on. I’ve only worked in the caregiving job since September. And since my wages were only about six thoiusand dollars, I took out some of my husbands retirement to live on. Do I have to claim that or report it?

    • I’ve edited your post down to the salient points.

      Inability to provide the required certifications for a position is automatically disqualifying if a condition of your employment when you were hired required this certification within a certain time period. You can file a claim, of course. If your employer states lack certification was the reason for the discharge, you will be denied.

      Relative to the full-time summer job, you still need to search for work until that job begins. A promise of a job is not a job until you actually start work. Job offers are rescinded all the time. There are no waivers for a job search in this situation.

      Relative to earnings eligibility, you have three quarters of work history – quarters ending 09/30/2016, 12/31/2016 and 03/31/2017 – which is qualifying in most states. Without knowing your state, it is not possible to determine if $6,000 in earnings is qualifying or if the 03/31/2017 quarter can be used. In future, whenever querying on unemployment matters, provide your state. No two states are alike in its laws, base periods, monetary requirements, etc.

      No, you do not need to report monies withdrawn from your husband’s IRA. Your husband’s IRA has nothing to do with unemployment benefits paid to you.

  • Lawrence

    In Pennsylvania, I worked a seasonal job that began in March and ended at the end of December 2016. Qualified for unemployment because work stopped and I worked enough qualifying weeks during and before employment there with another company. Worked an additional day for company in January and reported that and another part time gig I did to unemployment. Started back at the original seasonal position in March 2017 part time for 2 weeks reported hours worked to unemployment and quit in April after 2 weeks. I received an advanced notice from pa unemployment saying that benefits may be permanently or temporarily terminated because voluntarily quit work without good cause. It also stated my last day worked was Dec. 31st of 2016. My question is my former employer and unemployment terminating me from benefits after my quit date or are they going to try and recover an overpayment for the entire 12 weeks I claimed do to me quitting employment even though the claim in December was qualifying due to layoff/end of season?

    • PA should stop benefits only beginning with the date of this latest quit. Benefits paid prior to this last quit are not affected. But, if PA has the quit date wrong and you are not interviewed to clear this up, PA may want its money all the way back to December. You will need to appeal if that happens. I hope they are scheduling an interview for you.

      • Lawrence

        They are not calling for a hearing. It was just a questionaire that left ample space to state everything. Which I clearly included all this information. I also reported every hour and dollar worked on those weeks I claimed. I also have pay statements that I worked there and was paid for them. I also stopped claiming for benefits before I got this notice in the mail. Hope I did everything correctly.
        Thank you for your help.

        • If you clearly stated your last day of work as the April quit, then you should be OK. All you can do now is wait for PA’s next communication.

          • Lawrence

            One final question. Can an employer in PA appeal a determination of benefits over 4 months later if they didn’t during the initial 15 days the law states that they have to appeal? It looks like that is what they are trying to do here.

          • Yes, they can and they do. Common occurrence. Often the initial claim falls between the cracks. The trigger occurs when they receive notices of benefits being paid and/or they are notified of an increase in their UI taxes because of claims against their account. Some employers appeal a year after the claim began – and are granted a hearing.

            PA doesn’t give employers as much latitude as some states, however. Four months after the fact is a bit late, but there is no assurance PA won’t revisit the decision if employer cites an acceptable, albeit obviously phony, reason. The states are generally very flexible with employers, whereas if claimant misses a filing date, they are totally out of luck.

  • Frank

    I work 2 jobs in Pennsylvania at the moment, both part time & seasonal but they are currently overlapping.

    Job #1 is at a college where I work 22.5 hrs/week & gross $235/week. It runs from Sep-May but I only started in January. It is ending in 3 weeks.

    Job #2 is a seasonal position at Lowe’s under a contractor company called Plant Essentials, from mid March-October with the peak season being May-July.. All in all I’m scheduled to work 860 hours over a 29 week span @ $10/hr. The hours vary weekly, but are steady around 35 hrs/week during the May-July time period. I started at Plant Essentials last year, but this is my first full season.

    Will I be able to collect seasonal unemployment from Plant Essentials during the winter even though I will be working at the College and grossing $235/week? And vice versa, next summer when the college lets out, will I be able to collect from them, even if I am working at Plant Essentials during the summer again?

    In summary –
    Job #1 Sep-May, 22.5 hrs/week, $235 gross/week
    Job #2 April-Oct, 860 hrs/29 weeks @ $10/hr. Peak hours being 35/week from May-July.

    Would I be able to collect anything from either job during their respective off-seasons? Thanks in advance for any reply.

  • Paul

    I work for a theatre company in KY and have employees that get laid off in the summer. If one of them chooses not to return, are they still eligible for unemployment? We have them state in writing that they choose not to return the following season, before they are actually laid off. Does this count as a refusal? Or would it count as a refusal when they would have returned to work?

    • Technically, KY should pay them benefits for the entire summer because they are unemployed regardless of potential work in the fall. If they are still unemployed in the fall and refuse to come back, only at that time do they lose their benefits, unless KY determines their job refusal was for good cause. They need to report this job refusal at the time the work is scheduled to resume.

      All that said, if you choose to contest because employee refuses to return, seeing as how this is KY – most southern states are very draconian on fairness issues – you would probably be successful in holding up their benefits for a good long while, possibly even get them a denial, which should be overturned on appeal. But many claimants never bother with an appeal.

  • James

    Maybe you can help. I just started a job that has a 4 month on 4 month off schedule. I live and pay taxes in Utah. During the off months I am essentially unemployed as I receive no pay or benefits from the company. Am I eligible to collect unemployment on my down time? I heard that is what some of my co-workers do. Is this a typical use of unemployment?

    • Absolutely. People subject to intermittent and/or seasonal employment receive benefits during these down times. They are required to search of other work, unless the state grants a waiver. Usually, if you have a fixed return date 28 days from day of layoff, waivers can be granted. Otherwise, you will need to perform work searches while you are collecting benefits.

  • Ryan

    I work for an accountant firm full-time during tax season (January to April). There are no available hours for me in the off-season and I qualify for unemployment benefits. I have done this the past three years.
    Would I still be able to collect benefits while working a part-time job from May to December and went back to my full-time job next January? Unemployment benefits not enough to live on. State of MN.

    • Certainly. You continue to file weekly claims and report your gross part-time earnings for each week worked – not when you are paid.

      MN will deduct 50% of your gross earnings from the benefit amount and pay the difference, provided your earnings do not exceed the weekly benefit amount.

  • Lola Brooke

    Hello I work for a seasonal swimming pool company in Pennsylvania. I have worked for this company for three years and during each winter I file for benefits. I was currently informed that a majority of obligations and job requirements are being switched around and I have less responsibility and less say in my schedule and overall duties. My title and pay will be the same, responsibilities have majorly changed. I am expecting to return back to work within the next week or two.

    My question is am I able to deny the opportunity to return to this company and position? With the current change in the position, I have decided to seek employment in Florida.

    Am I allowed to collect and claim that full amount, and explore my job opportunities for this full year before it runs out?

    Who is responsible for canceling my current benefits; My company who offered me the opportunity to return to work again? or the UC?

    Would it be an option to switch over my benefits from Pennsylvania to Florida before they offer me The opportunity to return to work?

    • I have reduced your post to the important issues.

      There is virtually no chance your employer will not contest continued payment of benefits if you choose not to return. That said, it isn’t the employer who makes the final decision, it is PA.

      If you choose not to return to your employer, you report this as a job refusal because of unsuitability as to job duties. PA will stop paying benefits until it conducts an investigation. Unless there is a glaring difference in your new job duties, initially PA will not view this a job refusal for good cause. Expect that PA will not resume benefits until you appeal and successfully demonstrate the unsuitability of this new position. The appeal process can take at least two months. That means no benefits until after the appeal hearing – and only if you win.

      You can’t switch your claim to FL. And, even if you could, you would still need to report the job refusal and need to undergo the same investigation.

      If PA does approve this job refusal, of course, you can move and search for work anywhere you wish. You continue to claim through PA and collect PA benefits until exhausted even while searching for work in FL.

      Just so you know for future reference, FL’s unemployment benefit is NOTHING like PA’s. Max benefit paid in FL is $275/wk for only 13 weeks. You are moving to a red state. Most southern coastal red states have terrible unemployment benefits in comparison to the northern blue states. If you have options on where to live, you might want to review this list so you know what to expect the next time you are unemployed outside PA:

      http://www.savingtoinvest.com/maximum-weekly-unemployment-benefits-by-state/

  • Ally Miller

    Hi, can you tell me if an employee hired as a seasonal part time employee is eligible to apply for separation pay/workers comp benefits in the State of Wyoming? Example: I am hired on as a snow plow driver (job completely dependant on the season and amount of snowfall). The job starts usually in October and ends usually in March. The employer does not lay us off. The job ends when the snow season is over. I was not guaranteed any hours. For one, two week period i had 40 hours, the rest of the season i had 10-25 hours per week. It is an on call when needed job. Do i have any options for unemploment?

    • Workers comp is paid to those injured on the job. Unemployment benefits are paid for to those laid off. In Wyoming, You must have earned at least $850 in one quarter. Apply for benefits and let WY figure it out.

  • Miguel

    I work in Ct in the lawn care industry each year we get laid off during winter and return date in spring, due to overwhelming bills i need to take a part time job to offset losses, my question is how long before i can quit the part time job before i get laid off from my main full time job and is this legal, thank you

    • If your question is can you quit the part time job, then work full-time at the seasonal job, and then apply for benefits when the full-time job ends, the answer is you need to earn ten times your weekly benefit amount at your full time job after the quit and before the next layoff from this seasonal job in order to qualify for benefits.

  • Tom

    I work full time for a farmer and have since 2003 can I be able to apply for benefits when I get old enough to to be put out to pasture? I don’t hardly see me working another year with the hours we put in my health just won’t allow it. 6 to 8 hours is about my limit it is just too painful. I started going to a chronic pain clinic hoping I could put in another ten years but they help me little if at all. I am just too used up from accidents, nany of them on the job accidents. But I do not have insurance. So it is paid out of my pocket.

    • Talk to your county social services people about programs available for someone in your situation. Unemployment benefits are paid to those who are able and available to search for and accept work. Whether or not you are entitled to benefits will depend on if your employer has been paying UI taxes for you and your fitness for work – not necessarily the type of work you have been doing, but something else.

  • Artee Clark

    I work during the baseball season am I eligible for umemployment during the off season?

  • Mindy McRae

    I am an landscape contractor in Utah. If I hire someone to work for me seasonally with a specific (agreed upon in writing) starting and ending date that goes for let’s say 7 months, can they file unemployment against me when their job is finished? If so, what can I do to hire someone seasonally to protect myself from this?

  • Jamie

    I am a w2 seasonal employee in Illinois, and at the end of 2016, received several weeks of work. But was told in January that they would not have any work for me until February, but now, not until April. The impression I got when hired was that I would be working 1000 hours for this company in 2017, but, at this rate, it doesn’t seem probable. They basically have me on call for when they have work, but, I was hired under the impression it would be pretty regular up to 1000 hours per year.

    Can I apply for unemployment while I’m waiting for them to call me back in? And how does it work if they call me back in for a week, and then don’t call me in for another 4 months? Do I have to reapply each time? (one week would be too much to still qualify for unemployment).

    • Apply for benefits now. The claim will remain in place for one year. File weekly claims – and report earnings when you work. You report gross earnings based on hours worked – whether or not paid – for each week worked. If your earnings are too high for IL to pay a benefit, IL will close the claim. You REOPEN the claim when your earnings fall off or are nonexistent.

  • Ann Smith

    Trying to find a straight answer, In Pennsylvania, can school bus drivers employed by a school district collect unemployment during the summer?

  • Gregory Perrigan

    I am currently unemployed and work for a seasonal motel, I have been drawing benefits and they are about to end, my job does not open back up until April 15,2017. If I do not get called back to this motel can i sign back up for unemployment as this is no fault of mine and this motel is under new owners.

    • You can file a new claim only when the current benefit year expires – one year from when you first filed for benefits. In other words, if you opened your claim last October, you are not eligible for a new claim until October 2017 – regardless if you have been paid all benefits due you under the existing claim.

  • Cecily

    I have been receiving unemployment for approximately 2 months. I just accepted a job offer(!), but the job doesn’t start for 3 weeks. Am I still illegible to receive unemployment over the course of the next 3 weeks while I wait for the job to commence?

  • Dina

    Hi, I had a part time job for 10 years, I quit on July 2016, I just started working on a seasonal job, feb.2017. I called edd, and the agent said, I needed to make at least $1260 at my new job to open unemployment. I am not sure if I will make that much, I made $500 so far, if I get laid off, will I be able to file for edd? Or not….
    State CA
    Worked for 10 years until July 2016, quit due to harrazment.
    Just started working at a seasonal job, field worker.
    Is it true I need to earn 1260 dlls at my new job to qualify? What if I make less?
    At my previous job I was part time but making over 10k a year.

    • When you quit your job last July, did you apply for benefits and did California approve the claim? If so, you are not eligible for another claim until this July/August and you need to earn either (1) $1,300 in one quarter or (2) have a high quarter of $900 + $225 in another quarter before next July to be eligible for another claim.

      If you never applied for benefits and/or or CA denied you at the time, assuming CA says your quit was not for good cause, you would be required to earn 5x your weekly benefit at any job after the quit before CA could pay you. This may be where the $1,260 figure comes from.

      Assuming you did not file when you first quit, you should file that claim now. There are still six months wages in your base period to provide an excellent claim. You will be denied at first, but have an excellent chance of winning your case at appeal if you can properly explain the harassment issue. CA looks for ways to find FOR the claimant. It always pays to appeal in California.

      So, did you file for benefits after that quit or not?

  • Cheryl

    I am in CT and will be working for a bus company soon as a part time school bus driver. When school ends, I am being told that I will be able to collect unemployment until the school year starts up again. Is this true? If so, how much can I expect to bring home on my off season? Ball park figure, of course. I should be starting this job within the next month or so, so I should have three months of working before the seasonal lay off.

    Thank you!

    • Ballpark figure? Without knowing your earnings, there’s no way to tell you that, but you can figure it out. Total your wages from what you anticipate will be your two highest quarters, divide by 2 to get the average, divide the average by 26 to get weekly benefit amount.

      In other words, if you earned a total of $11,000 in two quarters (6 months), average quarterly wage is $5,500/26 = $211 weekly unemployment benefit.

  • Mike

    Hello, I am employed in the HVAC(heating, ventilation, A/C) field, and from February till March is are slowest time of the year due to unknown weather conditions.
    I am full-time and put in atleast 40 hours a week during busy time.
    I have had some guys tell me I can claim unemployment to help.
    My question is, can I collect unemployment? Will I need my employer to provide proof of being laid off? Will i have to look for other work to be able to collect? How and where do I sign up for unemployment?
    I live in IL

  • Derek

    Hello, I work in the entertainment industry as a freelance employee. I recently was laid off from my main employer and have received no offers to work for other employers as it is our slow season. I potentially have a job lined up as a seasonal worker at a ski resort which will lay me off again on April 16. I currently have an active claim for the slow season of the entertainment industry which I periodically receive benefits from and will expire April 23.

    So here’s my question: I will be laid off again from the ski resort on April 16 will I be able to file a new claim even though my existing claim will terminate on April 22?

    PS: I’ll have remaining funds leftover in my existing claim and I’ll close it as soon as I start to work for the ski resort.

    • You REOPEN the existing claim immediately when you are laid off – either online or by phone call – and claim benefits for week ending 4/22. Any unpaid benefits under that claim are lost after 4/22. Because you have been working, you also qualify for a new claim.

      When you reopen the claim, ask to apply for a new claim at the same time. CA, for example, encourages people to reapply for a new claim a few days before the current claim expires.

      • Derek

        Derek
        February 16, 2017 at 5:55 pm
        Hi Daphne, so it turns out my job at the ski area is only part time. I am currently collecting partial benefits during this time. When the ski season is over and I get laid off from the ski resort on Alpril 16. Will I be able to file a new claim even though I’ve used all my benefits in my previous claim which expires on April 22??

        • Yes. Already answered. Here it is again:

          “When you reopen the claim, ask to apply for a new claim at the same time. “

          • Derek

            Even though used up all my benefits on my current claim. I am eligible to fill a new claim immediately after?

          • YES – (1) because your current benefit year will have expired and (2) because you have been working during your current benefit year which automatically creates eligibility and earnings to support a second claim when the first benefit year expires. Unless yours is a state which requires a high proportion of your base period earnings occur outside your high quarter, you should have claim eligibility.

            Seasonal workers routinely work part of the year and collect unemployment benefits part of the year. The current work provides benefits for a new claim when the current claim expires. This is a way of life for many people and they plan their finances around it.

          • Derek

            This year I will have worked in Ca and Mt. are those eligible states to file a new claim?

          • Every state pays benefits. Which of those two states is paying your benefits now? That is where you apply.

          • Derek

            I’m collecting benefits from CA right now

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