I’ve written in the past about the value of seasonal side jobs. The following is a guest post by Jackie Edwards, an editor, researcher, and writer, who’s held many jobs over the years.
As a working mother with two small children, she feels it’s important to make others in similar situations aware of the issues seasonal workers might face, especially those with families to raise. With that in mind, she wrote a post that helps people who work in seasonal jobs understand their rights and how their work affects them in terms of claiming benefits. She shared the following highlights for my readers. You can read her full post here: http://aboutunemployment.org/unemployment-rules-seasonal-workers/
Do You Qualify for Unemployment Benefits if You are a Seasonal Worker?
Not everybody has a full-time job all year round. Some people work as farmers, gardeners, tourism workers, and fishermen whose services are only required during certain seasons. As seasonal workers typically work less over the course of a year, they are more likely to experience financial instability, yet they are not eligible for certain benefits that are available to full-time employees. However, in some situations, they may qualify for unemployment benefits, which can help improve their financial situations significantly during the off-season. So, can you get unemployment benefits if you are a seasonal worker?
Eligibility Requirements for Seasonal Unemployment Benefits
- Duration of Employment
The requirements that seasonal workers have to meet in order to qualify for unemployment benefits vary from one state to another. However, there are basic rules that apply to most situations. The US Department of Labor states that seasonal workers have to meet the requirements of their states for wages earned and time worked during a certain length of time, which is typically the first four of the previous five calendar quarters before they file their claims. This means that the duration of your employment has a direct impact on your eligibility for seasonal unemployment benefits.
- Reasons for Unemployment
The state will look into the reasons for your unemployment when it is deciding whether or not to provide you with unemployment benefits. In order to qualify, you need to prove that you are unemployed due to no fault of your own, and you have been actively seeking employment while you are unemployed. Also, you must be physically able to work and immediately available to take up a job.
- Independent Contractors
If you are an independent contractor who works seasonally or irregularly, you will not be able to get unemployment benefits. This is because you are considered a self-employed person under the Small Business Administration’s definition of independent contractor.
Availability of Unemployment Benefits for Seasonal Workers
According to CNN, many states are stripping seasonal workers of their eligibility for unemployment because of insufficient funds. In fact, 15 states have established laws to prevent or restrict seasonal workers from getting benefits. For instance, in New Jersey, unemployment benefits are only accessible to workers who perform certain types of jobs.
If you want to know whether or not you are eligible for unemployment benefits, you can call or visit the website of your state’s department of labor to find out more specific details.