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Can Part-Time Employees Receive Unemployment?

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Unemployment insurance benefits are often available to employees experiencing short-term job loss. These benefits come in the form of a weekly or bi-weekly benefit payment. If the employee is still working a part-time job, he may qualify for reduced or partial benefits, as opposed to the full benefits he can receive for being completely jobless.

It Is Possible

It is possible for a part-time employee to receive unemployment. This is true if the employee was transitioned from full time to part time or if he lost a job that was part time. There are a lot of factors to consider when determining eligibility. Two main factors include whether the employer participates in the the state's unemployment insurance program and how much money the employee earned during his base period. The base period is the 12 to 15 month period leading up to the employee's transition.

Depends On The Reason

To receive unemployment benefits, the employee must suffer a loss of wages due to no fault of his own. If an employer decided to reduce the employee's hours from full time to part time, the employee has a good chance of receiving unemployment. If the employee went from full time to part time as a result of his own free will, there is a great chance he won't receive unemployment. If the employee had two jobs and lost one of them, leaving him only with part-time employment, he might qualify for unemployment. However, to qualify, he can't be at fault for the loss of his other job.

Can't Sit Around Waiting

To receive unemployment benefits, the employee must look for work to replace his lost wages. This can be another part-time job, temporary work or full-time work. He can't just sit around waiting for an employer to change him back to full-time status. The unemployment insurance agency will keep tabs on the employee's job search activities. If the agency discovers that he is not actively looking for work, his unemployment benefits will cease.

The Final Determination

The only way to know for certain whether a part-time employee can receive unemployment is for him to apply for benefits. This is done through the local unemployment agency. In some instances, the agency allows employees to complete applications online. Once the application is complete, an agency representative will be assigned to process the application. The representative will contact the employee and employer for a short interview to verify information on the application and to determine who is at fault for the lost wages. The representative will send a final determination letter indicating whether the employee is approved for benefits.


Faizah Imani, an educator, minister and published author, has worked with clients such as Harrison House Author, Thomas Weeks III, Candle Of Prayer Company and "Truth & Church Magazine." Her dossier includes JaZaMM WebDesigns, assistant high-school band director, district manager for the Clarion Ledger and event coordinator for the Vicksburg Convention Center.

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