Can I Collect Unemployment If My Work Hours Are Cut in Florida?

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The Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation administers the Florida Unemployment Compensation Law. Unemployed workers and part-time employees who meet the state’s eligibility requirements can receive up to 26 weeks of benefits within one benefit year. The maximum amount available to claimants is $275 weekly as of June 2011. The Unemployment Compensation Program requires the agency to reduce an applicant’s weekly benefits for part-time work.

Eligibility Requirements

The Florida Unemployment Compensation Law requires that all applicants meet monetary and nonmonetary eligibility requirements. The agency will deny benefits to claimants who are not working because they were terminated for intentionally violating their employers’ established office policies, were excessively tardy or absent without good cause, or were terminated for grossly underperforming. Similarly, an employee who voluntarily quit without justifiable cause is ineligible for unemployment benefits. Justified reasons for quitting include illness or military spousal relocations. Additionally, claimants must look for work each week they file for benefits and accept all suitable job offers.

Short Time Compensation Program

The Florida Short Time Compensation Program (STC) allows employers to participate in a voluntary program if they experience temporary financial hardships. The program allows employers to avoid paying higher unemployment taxes by reducing the number of employees eligible to receive unemployment benefits. Instead of temporarily or permanently laying off their employees, employers can participate in the voluntary program to reduce their weekly payroll responsibilities. Under the program, employers must reduce their employees’ weekly hours for at least 10 percent of their staff, experience a temporary financial slowdown and submit a certification and plan application with the Agency for Workforce Innovation. An employer must reduce hours by 10 percent to 40 percent from each employee’s normally scheduled weekly hours.

STC Weekly Benefits

The state calculates an STC employee’s weekly benefits by totaling her benefits by the number of reduced hours on a weekly basis. For example, if she worked 40 hours before her employer’s participation in the STC program, and she is only working 32 hours after participation, then her weekly benefit allowance is multiplied by the reduction percentage on a prorated basis. STC claimants are also eligible for up to 26 weeks of benefits during one claim year. However, if her employer reduces her hours by more than the 40 percent limit, she qualifies for full or partial unemployment under the non-STC program, and she must register for available work.

Partial Unemployment

Claimants working part-time in Florida can continue receiving benefits while working for new employers, even when they are not participating in the STC program. The state limits them to part-time work where weekly wages are less than their weekly benefits. Full-time claimants are ineligible for unemployment benefits.

Considerations

Since Florida laws can frequently change, do not use this information as a substitute for legal advice. Seek advice through an attorney licensed to practice law in Florida.

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