Employee Quits – Can they Collect Unemployment Benefits?

people-312122_1280A former employee quit their job voluntarily and then you receive a notice of an unemployment claim.  Can they collect unemployment benefits after quitting their job?

Generally, employees who voluntarily quit must prove that the reason was “with good cause attributable to the employer” in order to be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Based on the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA)’s Employer Handbook:

“Good cause attributable to the employer includes reasons that would cause a reasonable person to leave his or her job, but does not include personal reasons such as babysitting problems.  Good cause attributable to the employer could include such things as safety hazards on the job or job discrimination the employer allows to continue.

Before a worker quits a job, he or she must bring to the employer’s attention the situation the worker feels needs correction, and the employer must be given adequate time to correct the problem.  In most cases, an employee who quits a job without giving such opportunity for the employer to correct the problem will be considered to have quit without good cause attributable to the employer.”

What if the former employee resigned to accept a job with a different company?

“…if a worker quits a job after accepting permanent, full-time work with a new employer, and the worker actually goes to work for the new employer, then the worker will not be disqualified for leaving the former employer to accept the new work.  All of the wages earned with the former employer will transfer to the new employer and can be used to pay benefits charged to the new employer.”

If the former employee quit for any personal reason other than the working conditions at the company or to accept another employment opportunity, they will likely be disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits if a timely response/protest is sent to the UIA.  In Michigan, the response time is 10 days from the date the original notification as mailed (not received).

“The first thing that must be proved in a case involving voluntary leaving is that the unemployed worker left the job and was not fired.  The employer must prove that.” It’s good practice to have all employees sign a voluntary resignation letter as documentation that the reason for separation was voluntary.  If you do not have a signed resignation from the employee, you should send a written notice to the employee stating that they voluntarily resigned and to respond in writing if they do not agree.

“Then, the requirement to prove the case shifts to the unemployed worker.  To avoid disqualification, the unemployed worker must show either that he/she left the job involuntarily, or that he/she left with good cause (that is, with good reason) attributable to the employer.  A good personal reason for leaving a job will not prevent a disqualification.  The claimant’s good cause for leaving the job must, in some way, be attributable to the employer. “

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