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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Filing For Unemployment Benefits - How, Where & When

If you have been laid off from your job, more than likely you will qualify for unemployment benefits. This can be a bit complicated since there is more than one type of layoff. Take me, I was part of a mass layoff and I am receiving "Severance Pay." Before the layoff took place, the group that I was in was going to be sold to another company. When we were told about the sale, we were split up into two groups (the "sell" group and the "stay" group). The sell group was told that since we were part of the sale we could not; leave the company, find another job within the company and if the sale did not go through that we would be laid off. The stay group were told that they would still have jobs within the company even if the sale did not go through. In the end both groups were laid off and we all received severance benefits. I filed for unemployment benefits the last day that I was "employed" and "working for money." I filed online here is the Texas TWC apply link and I found another unemployment blog that has a great link for most states here on the Layoff List blog.

At first my former employer denied my claim saying that I was receiving "wages in lieu of notice" it was not long before the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) contested the denial and concluded that I was not receiving wages in lieu of notice. Here are the definitions of "severance" and "wages in lieu of notice" quoted from TWC.

Severance - Severance pay that is promised in a written policy or other form of agreement is an enforceable part of the wage agreement under the Texas Payday Law. Under § 821.25(b)

Wages In Lieu of Notice - It is not the same as wages in lieu of notice, which is a post-termination payment that the employer has never previously obligated itself to give. Just like the name implies, it is a payment that is given in lieu of advance notice of termination, and it is not based upon any particular formula, but rather upon whatever arbitrary amount the employer thinks is appropriate to give. It is usually given to "make up for" the lack of advance notice and can be given in a lump sum or in installments. A payment of wages in lieu of notice is not enforceable under the Texas Payday Law, since there was no prior obligation to give it.

Here are some other good links related to unemployment:

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