Monday, December 21, 2015

Unemployment Compensation: Late Paychecks a Good Reason to Quit

Under Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation law, employees who quit their jobs are generally ineligible for UC benefits - unless the employee has a "necessitous and compelling" reason to quit.

Today, the Commonwealth Court issued an opinion on this issue in Jacobs v. UCBR (opinion here). The employee claimed he was supposed to get paid on the 15th and the last day of each month. The employer had trouble paying him on time:
Judge Anne Covey, Commonwealth Court
He was not paid on August 15, 2014 and, due to concern about his finances, he brought the matter to Employer’s attention. Employer issued Claimant a check outside the payroll system. The same situation occurred when he was not paid on August 30, 2014. Employer informed Claimant that he would have to wait 30 days for the next check. On September 18, 2014, Claimant notified Employer that unless he received his overdue pay by September 21, 2014, he would not report to work and he would consider the Agreement terminated due to Employer’s breach. By September 29, 2014 letter, Employer notified Claimant that the Agreement was terminated effective September 26, 2014.
So, what do you think? Is that a "necessitous and compelling" reason to quit? The Commonwealth Court thinks so.

The Court emphasized that the payroll problems were recurring. It relied on past precedent where "repeat occurrences" justified  quitting. And, in it's conclusion, the Court noted "Claimant twice notified Employer and accepted non-payroll checks in an effort to preserve his employment. It was not until Employer notified Claimant that he would have to wait yet another 30 days for his pay that Claimant voluntarily quit."

HT: Court: Worker who wasn't paid on time had good reason to quit on PennLive, which provides more UC coverage than any general news site I've ever read.