How to quit one job for another and protect your unemployment benefits

Sometimes people feel stuck in a job and when they begin looking for a new one the last thing they are worried about is their unemployment benefits eligibility. This is especially true if someone has received an offer of employment from a new employer. He may think that because he has a new job already lined up there is no need to worry about unemployment eligibility because the income will be coming in soon. Unfortunately, things do not always go according to plan. He may quit his old job with no notice, and then begin the new job only to find out that he is getting laid off a few weeks later. For purposes of unemployment eligibility the manner in which he quit the first job will affect his eligibility for the second job. Knowing how to properly proceed through the quit and hiring process can help ensure your unemployment benefits will be safe if things go wrong.

The manner in which you quit your first job matters

The typical scenario plays out like this: employee has old job. Employee receives an offer of employment from a new employer. Employee quits old job and begins working new job only to get laid off a month later. When this scenario occurs, the Unemployment Compensation Center contacts both employers. If either employer wants to challenge the employee’s eligibility they may do so. The second employer will have no grounds to challenge the benefits because the employee was laid off, but the first employer may challenge on grounds of a voluntary quit because under most circumstances a voluntary quit disqualifies an employee for benefits.

The voluntary quit and a compelling reason

When a person voluntarily quits her job she is disqualified from collecting unemployment benefits unless she can show that she had a compelling reason to do so. Most people do not think about having a compelling reason when quitting a job and many people assume that if they quit, they will not receive benefits. This is not true. A variety of reasons can be compelling enough to allow someone to quit and still collect benefits. One of those compelling reasons is if that person has received a firm offer of new employment.

Firm offer of new employment

To have a firm offer of new employment someone must have received a promise from a new employer that they will be hired upon quitting their old job. This is often the case when someone quits for a second job, but the hurdle can come in proving that the offer existed before the employee quit. Thus, in order to secure the necessary proof an employee should always ask to get the offer of employment in writing. Additionally, recording the dates of the offer and the official start dates for the new job can provide evidence in support of the offer. An employee can also ask if the person who made the offer will testify at the unemployment hearing to the fact that the offer existed before the employee quit.

Protecting your unemployment benefits

Although it seems strange, when an employee quits an old job for a new one and is subsequently discharged from the new job, both employers will be contacted in regards to unemployment benefits. The employee may then have to show that the separation from each job was with good cause. In order to show that the quit from the first job was not disqualifying the employee must show he had a firm offer before he quit. He can do this by having the offer in writing or having the employer testify at the hearing. Regardless of how he goes about it, he should be prepared to defend both separations and gathering the right evidence can go a long way towards accomplishing that goal. For advice and counsel on how to handle your unemployment benefits case please contact us via telephone or email.