The topic of unemployment compensation in California is important to you if you work and live in California, and you have been unfairly terminated, laid off or forced to quit. You or a friend or loved one may be in the middle of a dispute with their employer over unemployment compensation benefits at the present time.
You should remember what unemployment insurance is. Unemployment Insurance (UI) is an employer-paid insurance program that provides benefits to you if you become unemployed through no fault of your own. Unemployment compensation is temporary financial help if you qualify. This is given while you look for work. The amount is based on your previous earnings. Reimbursements and employer taxes support the Unemployment Trust Fund. Employers cannot deduct any money from your employee paychecks to pay for this program.
Unemployment compensation was begun to help able-bodied workers provide a minimal livelihood who had become involuntarily unemployed. It was designed to last until they were once again employed. Wisconsin signed the first unemployment compensation law in 1932.
The Social Security Act of 1935 contained national unemployment compensation provisions, along with other welfare programs. This was the first national unemployment compensation law. Since then, the act has been amended many times. More than 96% of all workers were covered by unemployment insurance by 1994. All of the states have their own unemployment insurance laws. Each state operates its own unemployment compensation program.
California was the fifth state to enact unemployment insurance laws. The California Legislature, in anticipation of what the United States Congress would do before the end of 1935, passed the Unemployment Reserves Act of 1935 (now called the California Unemployment Insurance Code) almost two months before Congress passed the Social Security Act of 1935. The payroll tax became effective January l, 1936. The safety net of unemployment insurance benefit payments became effective in California in 1938.
The California Department of Industrial Relations was established to improve working conditions for California’s wage earners, and to advance opportunities for profitable employment in the state. This agency oversees matters regarding labor and employment in California. The Division of Workers’ Compensation, which is a part of the Department of Industrial Relations, has the responsibility of administering the California workers’ compensation system.
The California Employment Development Department (EDD) administers the unemployment insurance program in California. It does so in accordance with Federal guidelines.
California, like other states, looks at unemployment compensation as a temporary help to workers who are searching for work, and who are able to work. You should bear in mind that it is for workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own.
The value of unemployment benefits in California is different from that of other states. The reason for this is because each state unemployment office applies its own limits and formulas when calculating the amount of unemployment compensation. The duration of unemployment benefits in California may also differ from that of other states.
Unemployment compensation in California may not cover those who are considered to be unemployed workers in an ordinary manner. If you quit your job or resign from your job voluntarily without good cause, you may also not be entitled to the benefits under the unemployment compensation program. You are also not entitled to unemployment compensation benefits if you have been fired from your job for misconduct or refused to carry out your job without sufficient cause.
In order to receive unemployment compensation benefits, generally, three things must be true. You have to be unemployed through no fault of your own, able to work and readily available for suitable work.
There are cases where resignation or quitting your job will not disqualify you from unemployment compensation benefits. For example, if you left your job because of your employer’s retaliation against you for whistle blowing against company executives, employer’s harassment, discrimination, violence or threat, these are things that will not disqualify you from receiving unemployment compensation benefits.
Aside from the things mentioned above, the California law provides the following basic requirements for collecting unemployment payments. These are:
- You must have been employed for a period of time called the “base period”.
- You have to be determined to be unemployed through no fault of your own as this
is defined by California law.
- You have to respond to questions concerning your continued eligibility and file ongoing claims. You also have to report any earnings from work and any refusal of work or during job any claim period.
- You have to meet any other unemployment eligibility requirements of California law.
In addition to these requirements, it is extremely important for you to file a claim and register for work at your local state employment office. It is also good if you continue to report to that office as you are directed.
After you file a claim for unemployment compensation in California there is a waiting period as you would suspect. If your local Employment Development Department (EDD) denies your claim, you have an opportunity to appeal that decision before the Administrative Judge of the Board of Appeal.
At the hearing, you will have an opportunity to explain to the judge why you should be entitled to unemployment benefits. Your employer will try to show why the decision by the Employment Development Department should be upheld.
This hearing is like a trial in court. Both parties have the opportunity to make opening statements, present relevant evidence (documents) , as well as direct and cross examine their own as well the opposing witnesses.
As you can see, if you or a friend or loved one is in a dispute and/or appealing a ruling, it is a good thing to have an attorney representing you. The important thing is to choose the right lawyer.
Family attorneys and lawyers with a general law practice are good. But, are they the right ones for this matter.
An experienced California employment attorney can make compelling arguments based on the law and past case law. He or she can examine witnesses and get information in a way that you probably cannot. Your California employment attorney’s words will also carry more weight with most judges.
This is what employment attorneys do. They specialize in cases dealing with employment issues like unemployment compensation. These are the kind of cases they work with each and every day.