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Can Seasonal Employees Collect Unemployment in New York?

can seasonal employees collect unemployment in new yorkSeasonal employment is a common practice across various industries. Many businesses hire temporary workers to meet increased demand during specific times of the year. When the season ends, employment stops, and questions arise regarding whether seasonal employees are eligible to collect unemployment benefits.

Laws regarding unemployment vary from state to state. Are New York seasonal employees eligible for unemployment? Here’s what you need to know.

Determining Unemployment Eligibility

In New York, eligibility for unemployment benefits is determined by various factors. These include the amount of wages earned during a designated base period and the reason for separation from employment.

Generally, individuals who are unemployed through no fault of their own and meet certain eligibility requirements may qualify for unemployment benefits, regardless of whether their employment was seasonal or permanent.

Seasonal employees in New York may be eligible for unemployment benefits if they meet the following criteria:

  • Work History: To qualify for unemployment benefits, individuals must have a sufficient work history and earnings during their base period. This is typically the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters preceding the quarter in which the claim is filed. Seasonal employees who have worked consistently and earned wages during their base period may meet this requirement.
  • Reason for separation: The reason for separation from employment is a crucial factor in determining eligibility for unemployment benefits. If a seasonal employee’s employment ends due to lack of work or the completion of the seasonal assignment, they may be eligible for benefits. However, if the separation is due to voluntary resignation or misconduct eligibility may be jeopardized.
  • Availability and ability to work: To receive unemployment benefits, individuals must be able, available, and actively seeking suitable employment. Seasonal employees who are willing and able to work during the off-season and actively search for job opportunities may meet this requirement.

Do You Qualify?

The New York Department of Labor provides the following flow chart to help you determine if you qualify for unemployment benefits:

You must have worked and been paid wages for work in at least two calendar quarters in your base period
For claims filed in 2024, you must have been paid at least $3,300 in wages in one of the calendar quarters (this amount increases from $3,100 for claims filed in 2023) in your base period,
The total wages paid to you in your base period must be one and one-half times your high quarter wages.

Challenges for Seasonal Employees

Despite meeting the eligibility criteria, seasonal employees in New York may encounter challenges when applying for unemployment benefits. They might experience delays in receiving or denial of benefits. In such cases, employees must understand their rights and options for recourse.

If a seasonal employee is denied unemployment benefits or encounters any issues during the claims process, seeking legal guidance from an experienced attorney specializing in employment law can be invaluable. An attorney can assess the circumstances surrounding the denial, review the employee’s eligibility, and provide personalized legal advice and representation.

Employment attorneys have a comprehensive understanding of state and federal labor laws, including regulations about unemployment benefits. They can advocate on behalf of the employee, negotiate with the New York State Department of Labor, and pursue legal remedies to ensure that the employee receives the benefits they are entitled to under the law.

Furthermore, an attorney can provide valuable support and representation in appealing a denial of unemployment benefits. They’ll help you navigate the appeals process and represent your interests in administrative hearings or court proceedings if necessary.

Contact an Employment Attorney

Seasonal employees in New York may be eligible to collect unemployment benefits under certain circumstances, provided they meet the eligibility criteria established by the state. However, if an employee is denied benefits or encounters challenges during the claims process, seeking legal assistance from an employment attorney is advisable. To learn more or to discuss your situation with a legal professional, contact Borrelli & Associates, P.L.L.C.


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