Qualifying for Partial Unemployment in California

Unemployment insurance offers a type of financial benefit that may be available to an employee who loses his or her job or has a reduction in pay or hours. In California, an employee may file a claim for unemployment benefits in certain situations, such as if the worker loses his or her job in a company layoff. With COVID-19, the number of unemployment insurance claims in California has skyrocketed. One type of benefit you may qualify for as an employee is partial unemployment.

What if My Hours Have Been Cut?

Unemployment benefits and partial unemployment benefits can pay a worker for the amount of money he or she normally would have made had the person not lost his or her job. They are not available to someone who quits or gets fired. They are only available if a person loses the ability to work due to circumstances outside of his or her control, such as a company layoff. They are meant to help a worker avoid financial stress while he or she looks for another job.

Unemployment insurance benefits are not only available to someone who lost his or her job entirely. They may also apply to a worker who is still working part-time but whose hours have been cut due to circumstances such as COVID-19. Many insurance programs in California offer partial unemployment benefits to workers in these situations. Partial unemployment could reimburse part of an employee’s regular wages—the amount he or she has lost due to a change in hours or wages.

If COVID-19 or different circumstances outside of your control led to your employer cutting your hours, you may qualify for partial unemployment benefits. To qualify, you must be unemployed or partially unemployed. Your regular wages, minus either 25% or $25 (whichever is greater), must be less than you would earn weekly in unemployment benefits. If you qualify, you could receive a check covering the difference between your regular wages and what you make now. The amount in unemployment benefits you could receive depends on how much you earned in the base period of the claim.

What if I Have Been Furloughed?

An employer might furlough an employee, or temporarily lay him or her off, if the business needs a short-term solution to financial problems. Most furloughed employees can eventually return. Furloughs have greatly increased since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic as nonessential businesses temporarily shut down. If your employer furloughed you, you may or may not qualify for unemployment benefits in California based on the situation. These cases are complex, with each dependent on the unique circumstances.

What is a Work Sharing Program?

The Unemployment Insurance Work Sharing Program is a solution in California that provides temporary relief to an employer that is suffering a loss or reduction in production, services or sales. This program aims to ease things financially for an employer to reduce the need to layoff employees. This program provides unemployment benefits to employees who have their hours or wages cut so they can keep their current positions and avoid financial hardship. It also helps employers by allowing them to keep their existing employees and avoid the costs of hiring and training new people. An employer must apply for the Work Sharing Program to find out if the company is eligible for this type of insurance coverage.

When to Contact an LA Employment Lawyer

Unemployment benefits or partial unemployment benefits can save you a great deal of stress during tough times. While the COVID-19 pandemic is still affecting workplaces and employees, learn your rights in terms of unemployment benefits with help from an employment lawyer in Los Angeles. Contact a lawyer if you are curious about your eligibility or need assistance filing your initial claim. If the Employment Development Department (EDD) denies your claim to benefits, speak to a lawyer about appealing the decision. A lawyer could also help you obtain answers if the EDD approved your request but you have yet to receive a check.