Can I Get Reemployment Assistance if I Voluntarily Quit My Job?

Authored By: Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida, Inc.

These FAQ explain how quitting your job may affect reemployment assistance (formerly known as unemployment compensation benefits).

What is "at will" employment?

Florida is an “at will” employment state. This means that an employer can terminate your employment for any reason as long as the termination does not violate state or federal law. For example, you cannot be terminated based on discrimination.

Were you fired?

If you were fired, you may still be eligible for unemployment benefits. If you were fired because of misconduct, you may not be eligible for benefits. 

What is misconduct?

The legal definition of “misconduct” is conscious disregard of the employer’s best interests, irrespective of whether acts occur during working hours or in the work place (generally with prior warnings from your employer) in order to be disqualified from receiving benefits. Examples of misconduct include:

  • Knowingly violating reasonable company rules
  • Stealing from your employer
  • Starting a fight on the job

What does not fall under the definition of misconduct?

  • You are too sick to go to work 
  • You refuse to perform a dangerous task after you tell your employer about the danger 
  • Your work isn’t good enough even when you have tried your best

What if you quit your job?

If you quit your job and the reason for quitting is not your employer’s fault, you will be disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits. For example, if you quit your job because you are getting married, you don’t like the job, or you don’t like the shift you are working, you will not be able to receive unemployment benefits.

If you quit your job due to your own illness or disability, or for the purpose of responding to a legitimate family emergency, you may be entitled to receive benefits. It is also good cause (i.e. you can get benefits) if you quit because the working conditions are so unsafe or unfair that the average worker in your situation would quit. 

What are some examples of good cause?

  • Your employer requires that you do something illegal
  • Your employer is physically abusive or sexually harasses you
  • Your employer illegally refuses to pay overtime 

What are partial unemployment benefits?

If you have been working full-time and your work hours have been reduced substantially, you may be eligible for partial unemployment benefits. While there is no clear definition of “sub-stantially reduced,” a 25% reduction in work hours would probably be considered a substantial reduction.

If you apply for partial unemployment, you must be ready and willing to accept a job that will enable you to work full-time. This means that while you are receiving unemployment benefits, you must agree to look for and accept work that would provide full-time hours. 

 

What else should I consider?

  • You must have been employed for a certain amount of time before you are eligible for unemployment benefits.
  • If you have been court-ordered to pay child support, the Department of Revenue could intercept your benefits and apply them to the payment of your support.
  • Unemployment benefits are taxable income.

What is wage transcript?

If you decide to file for unemployment, you will receive a wage transcript within 7 to 14 days. If you are eligible for benefits, the wage transcript will show you your maximum benefit amount. If you disagree with any information on the wage transcript, you have appeal rights. You can call your local legal aid office for assistance.  

When should I get help?

 

Get help now.  Depending on the facts of your case, you may be entitled to unemployment compensation benefits. DO NOT WAIT to find out about your legal rights. DO NOT WAIT to get valuable legal help. Your local legal aid or legal services program may be able to help you.

 

Updated April 19, 2017 

 

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