Recently, Minnesota rendered a decision about unemployment seasonal employees. In a case called McNeilly v. Dept. of Employment, 778 N.W. 2d 707, a Seasonal Employee was laid off for lack of work and deemed ineligible for unemployment benefits.
Although this case was decided in favor of the employer, it is important to note that the worker wasn’t actively seeking work while unemployed due to their seasonal job.
Thus, this article addresses some dos and don’ts specific to seasonal employees in Minnesota who are seeking unemployment benefits.
How should a seasonal employee approach unemployment in Minnesota?
Unemployment seasonal employees in Minnesota should always approach a lay-off with caution. Why? Because many unemployed persons never foresee being unemployed. For this reason, seeking unemployment benefits is never a guarantee, making your application for benefits critical if not vital.
Laid-off from seasonal work – what should you do to receive unemployment?
First, always remain calm and never fill out your application for unemployment benefits without talking to a professional who has done this in the past and or having a plan when answering questions for benefits. If you were laid off for lack of work, do not create a bigger conflict by giving more information than is necessary. In other words, your application for benefits should not be used as a sounding board to complain about your former employer.
Next, ask if there is anything you can do to remain employed. If you are offered a different position, accept the job offer unless your rate of pay is reduced by more than 75%.
Can a seasonal worker resign and get unemployment in Minnesota?
If you are not offered a different position, do not offer a resignation even if pressured by your employer. A person who resigns from a seasonal job must satisfy many many rules, including the rules under Minnesota statute 268.095, in order to become eligible for unemployment benefits in Minnesota.
For this reason, a seasonal worker should never resign without first speaking with a lawyer.
Seasonal worker receives a separation package from their employer – now what?
If presented with a separation agreement or asked to take a “lump sum” or “severance package”, always have this document reviewed by an attorney before you sign it or accept it. Yes, the unemployment office in Minnesota will find out and they will look at the signed document.
Yes, documents of this nature can impact your unemployment benefits. Thus, issues with separation packages and unemployment fr seasonal employees when working in Minnesota should always be scrutinized.
Unemployment seasonal employees beware!
The moral of the story is to proceed with caution when laid off for lack of work or due to the seasonal elements of your job. Therefore, contact an attorney to review your rights.