Thursday, May 7, 2009

PA Unemployment and Claims Dip, Forced Furlough May Be Cause Though

34,000 people filed for unemployment benefit claims last week, which is down from 36,000 in the previous week. Still, more than 364,000 residents of Pennsylvania continued to receive unemployment compensation benefits. While that figures shows an overall drop about about 7,000 from the previous week, it is worthy to note that these figures are still twice as high as they were at this time last year.

One possible reason for the drop in unemployment numbers and unemployment compensation claims filed is the rise in the practice of forced furlough. Many Pennsylvania employers have used the furlough program as a cost-cutting measure for the company without actually breaking ties and terminating the employment of the worker. A furlough, in this respect, is an unpaid leave that the employee is forced to accept. David Smith from the Department of Labor and Industry, recently told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

"If workers are forced to take a furlough week, "They should file a claim right away, as soon as they experience the furlough," said Mr. Smith.

Signing up beginning with the first furlough week is important because the worker will be eligible for unemployment benefits during the next period of unpaid leave, as long as it occurs within the next 12 months.

Some people make the mistake of not signing up during that first week because they have been told there's no point since benefits aren't accrued until the second week of unemployment.

That's true, but the unemployment clock starts ticking after a claim is filed.

If someone doesn't file a claim until the second week of furlough, it's like the first week didn't count."

Even though the number of claims have dropped slightly, there is still a tremendous burden on the state's unemployment compensation fund and they have been forced to borrow more money to cover claims. While this is providing immediate relief to workers, it will carry a long term burden of having employers face higher tax rates to pay back the Federal loans.

While the situation appears dire, it is important for workers who feel they have an unemployment or workers compensation claim are aware that there is still funding for them and should not be discouraged. Employers, including cities and states, take out unemployment and workers compensation insurance coverage policies that ensure coverage.

Employers are not required to have legal representation in Unemployment Compensation cases..However, to ensure that you are adequately represented, and are exploring all possible options of entitlement, it is recommended that you seek council or adequate representation that will represent your best interests. The staff at Wolf, Baldwin and Associates is available to you to discuss your legal options during these times. If you feel that you may need representation, you are free to contact us.


Kip Dynamite said...

That forced furlough thing seems shady to me. I'm glad you caught this. I bet people don't know their rights.

Kip Dynamite said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Krumer said...

it does make me wonder about the validity of these stats

Crystal Laker said...

I think Kip is right, furlough seems to be a shady way around unemployment. I understand the move may be made in good faith, but I sure wouldn't know I was entitled to unemployment compensation if I was furloughed as opposed to laid off!

Cam Barnes said...

It seems they are always coming up with new ways to make themselves look better while squeezing out the average man.

Anonymous said...

The company(the largest power mobility distributer in the US) I work for has put us all on unpaid furlough as of Friday March 8th 2013. I filed for UC the nest day. I was approved by the next Friday. Unpaid furlough is a way of the company not having to fire or lay off any employees therefore keeping the employees in a state of "limbo". They do not pay into any social security, benefits, 401k's or any other benefits. It is not a practice of integrity, that is for sure. Over 1,200 employees are waiting week to week to see if we all have jobs. In the mean time, file for unemployement benefits right away.