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Unemployment Benefits Refresher, Part I

 A common administrative headache for employers is dealing with terminated employees who go on to seek unemployment benefits. While an employer has the right to challenge the award of unemployment benefits, choosing to do so requires careful consideration.  The process can be time-consuming and may require a commitment of more resources than one would like.  Additionally, challenging an award of unemployment benefits may serve to push a former employee into litigation that he or she may not have pursued otherwise.  That being said, if an employer has good documentation regarding a termination and clear, uniformly enforced employee policies, challenging a claim for unemployment benefits can be successful.

This post is meant as a brief refresher on the prerequisites to receiving unemployment compensation in Kentucky so that when a claim is made by a former employee a quicker decision can be made on whether to challenge that claim.

Monetary Requirements

To receive benefits a person must be out of work through no fault of his or her own and must file a claim. The person must also meet all the following monetary requirements:

(1)               Have earned at least $750.00 in wages during the quarter in which his/her wages were highest;

(2)               Have wages for the first four of the last five calendar quarters (the base period) totaling at least $750.00;

(3)               Have total base period wages at least 1½ times the amount made in the quarter in which wages were the highest;

(4)               His/her wages in the last two quarters of the base period must be at least eight times the weekly benefit amount.

Other Requirements

If the monetary requirements are met, the claimant must meet the following additional requirements to receive benefits:

(1)        Be physically and mentally able to work;

(2)        Be either totally unemployed or working less than full-time work and earning less than 1 ¼ times his/her weekly benefit rate (this may qualify one for partial benefits);

(3)        Be available for suitable work and making a reasonable effort to find employment;

(4)        Register for work with the Office of Employment and Training.

Contrary to popular belief, unemployment compensation is not something for which everyone qualifies. Check back on Thursday when I’ll offer a quick refresher on reasons why benefits can be denied.

Luke Wingfield

Luke A. Wingfield is an associate with McBrayer, McGinnis, Leslie & Kirkland, PLLC. Mr. Wingfield concentrates his practice in employment law, insurance defense, litigation and administrative law. He is located in the firm’s Lexington office and can be reached at lwingfield@mmlk.com or at (859) 231-8780. 

This article is intended as a summary of federal and state law and does not constitute legal advice.

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