Do You Qualify for Unemployment If Your Job Is Switched From Full to Part Time?


Most unemplyoment recipients are completely out of work and lost their jobs through no fault of their own. However, people whose hours are drastically cut, such as full-time workers who suddenly find themselves with only a part-time job, can qualify for partial unemployment benefits in most states.

Partial Unemployment

In most states, you qualify for partial unemployment if your hours are drastically cut. You must have earned enough money in the base period -- usually the first four out of the last five quarters -- to qualify for unemployment. The unemployment office then gives you a percentage of your full benefits each week, based on how much you work during the week. You must report your earnings each week to qualify for partial unemployment.

Work Search Requirement

If you qualify for full unemployment, you usually must search for a new full-time job each week you continue to receive unemployment. You may not have to meet this requirement if you reeive only partial unemployment, however, because you are already employed even though you are not receiving enough hours. Check with your unemployment representative about work search requirements when you apply for partial unemployment.

Involuntary Nature

Your boss must have cut your hours without your consent (for example, because of lack of work or lack of resources to pay full-time workers.) You cannot get partial unemployment if you agreed to have your hours cut back or if they were cut as a disciplinary measure because of poor work habits, chronic lateness or other workplace behavior issues. The cuts must be expected to be permanent; if your boss intends to cut your hours for only a few weeks, you do not qualify.


Although you may not be required to look for work if you apply for partial unemployment, you may want to look for full-time employment. Partial unemployment benefits are usually not as high as full-time benefits and may not be enough to cover the loss of hours. Do not quit your job until you find full-time work, however, because you will usually not qualify for unemployment if you quit.

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