Common Mistakes and Misinformation from Employers about UC

Common Mistakes and Misinformation from Employers about UC

Are you unsure if your employer is telling the truth about UC?

There are many misconceptions about unemployment compensation so it is important that workers know their rights and the rules around UC benefits.

Here are some common scenarios:

False. There is nothing in the law that requires you to exhaust PTO (paid time off) before you file for unemployment. It is a personal, financial decision you will need to make. You may receive more money from your PTO than your unemployment benefit payment. Also, there is likely to be a slight delay in obtaining your unemployment benefits, so your PTO can help you bridge that gap.

If you do elect to receive PTO, you must report it as earnings when you file your biweekly claim. It will offset (reduce) the amount of benefits you receive for that week, but you have not “lost” the money in your account. It will be available to you when you continue to file. In other words, it will delay your receipt of UC (unemployment compensation) but not reduce the benefits that are available to you.

You are eligible for benefits, and you do not need to report those payments. When filing bi-weekly claims, you are required to report wages to unemployment when they are earned, rather than when they are paid. Money loaned from employers has not been earned and need not be reported if you are required to pay that money back by working in the future. But also note, your employer is not permitted to withhold that money from your paycheck in the future unless you authorize such a deduction in writing.


No. For the same reason as the previous answer, these payments have not yet been earned because you will need to work off the deficit in the future.

No. Unemployment benefits are available for workers whose hours have been reduced. If your hours have been reduced to zero, that is effectively a complete “lack of work” situation. You should select “lack of work” when you file. Even if your hours were reduced to part-time, you may be eligible for UC. When applying for benefits, just remember to select “lack of work” and indicate the current amount of earnings you have per week.

No, but you should be eligible. Your employer has said they will not “fight” the claim — but when you voluntarily leave work, such as taking a leave of absence, the burden is on you to show you had good cause to leave, regardless of whether your employer provides information to UC. When employers encourage people to quit or take a leave of absence, they often try to incentivize that option by saying they will not fight your unemployment benefits.

However, during this public health crisis, you should be able to establish good cause if you cannot continue attending work for a reason related to Covid19 and its effects. Just make sure you have informed your employer of the issue. We recommend doing it in writing.

Take a “Leave of Absence” and apply for UC. If your workplace is closed, you should be eligible for unemployment benefits even if your employer’s records indicate you are on a leave of absence. So you may as well keep your health insurance and take the leave of absence.

False. You will be eligible for UC if you had a firm offer of employment from the new employer. A “firm offer” is a job offer that specifies the conditions of employment, such as wages, hours, duties, and starting date. If you quit your previous job to accept employment and the firm offer is cancelled or the starting date is pushed back, you should be eligible for UC. When you apply for benefits, you should report your last job as your separating employer and state that you quit because you were seeking work and had a firm offer. Save proof of that firm offer, if you have it.

False. If you’ve been laid off from work, you will be eligible for UC. Pennsylvania does have a severance pay reduction, but it does not affect your benefits if your severance is less than $20,700. You still need to report the severance, but you will receive your benefits.