Despite a relatively health economy and plenty of jobs on offer many potential workers are not going back to work full time – either by choice or by circumstance.
A common question I get from those in this situation is whether they will still be eligible for unemployment benefits if they go back to work part time or on reduced hours
The answer overall is is Yes, if going part time is the only choice they have. It also depends on how much you are earning relative to your state’s weekly benefit amount (WBA) and how many hours you are working. Rules do vary by state and you can see state specific references in the table below.
As a reminder, partial unemployment benefits are for workers whose hours have been cut or for those who have been forced to take a part-time job due to a lack of work. Payment and rules around these benefits generally operate in a similar way to full unemployment benefits. While each state is different, the following are the broad criteria for getting partial UI benefits:
- work part-time rather than full-time through no fault or choice of your own. I.e. you are working part time because of your employer or a special disability situation.
- are able and available to work full-time. So you cannot decide you want to study or take time off; and
- satisfy your state’s minimum earning or work requirements to quality for unemployment benefits.
Calculating Partial Unemployment Benefits (with Examples)
The table below provides resources and state UI links to help figure out eligibility for partial unemployment benefits.
Most states use your average weekly wage over a specified base period to calculate the weekly benefit amount (WBA) you would receive if you were fully unemployed.
They then subtract a partial benefit deduction based on your part time weekly wages to determine your weekly partial benefit, which cannot exceed your maximum WBA.
Essentially as your part-time earnings go up, your unemployment benefit decreases until it reaches a point where you’re no longer eligible for assistance that week.
Example: Jane Gibson lives in Missouri and works part-time earning $180 per week. Her weekly benefit amount, were she was fully unemployed and based on her weekly average wage based over the last twelve months would be $320.
To calculate partial unemployment benefit amounts in Missouri, you subtract $20 or 20% of the weekly benefit amount (whichever is greater) from the weekly wages of $180. That amount, called the partial UI deduction, equals $116 ($180-$64).
Then, take the full weekly benefit amount of $320 and subtract the UI deduction ($116) to arrive at a weekly partial benefit of $204.
Example 2 : Mike lives and claims UI in California. He is determined to be entitled to a weekly unemployment benefit of $400.
However he had his hours reduced and now works his job part-time earns $280 per week. California UI law disregards the first $25 or one-quarter of an employee’s earnings (whichever is more) in calculating partial unemployment benefits.
The state would not count one-quarter of his earnings ($70), but would subtract the rest ($210) from the weekly benefit he would receive if he were unemployed ($400) to come up with his partial benefit amount: $190.
Based on CA rules, where the maximum unemployment benefits is $450, the most someone could earn in a week is $600 before they lose all regular and enhanced UI benefits (see more details and comments in this article)
Part-Time Unemployment Information by State
The table below provides a summary and links to partial unemployment calculations on a state-by-state basis, which I am continuing to update on an regular basis as rules are updated following the end of pandemic enhanced benefits.
See this article of the maximum WBA by state as your partial amount cannot exceed that. You can leave a comment for any updates, corrections or questions.
|State||Partial Benefit Rules||State Info Pages|
|Alabama||AL Unemployment Information|
|Alaska||AK Unemployment Insurance State Website|
|Arizona||Weekly earnings will impact your weekly benefit amount. When filing your mandatory weekly claim (the benefit week starts on Sunday and ends on Saturday) you must report all earnings, and earnings in excess of $30 are deducted from the weekly benefit amount. For example, if you qualify for the maximum weekly benefit amount of $240 and you receive $180 in earnings for a week, provided you met the other weekly eligibility requirements, you would receive $90 in weekly state UI benefits. If you receive at least $240 in earnings for a week, you will not be eligible for any benefits for that week.||AZ Department of Economic Security|
|Arkansas||You may be eligible for partial benefits if you work part-time and earn less than 140% of your Weekly Benefit Amount||Arkansas Division of Workforce Services|
|California||The first $25 or 25 percent (which is greater) of the wages allocated to a week will be disregarded in determining your UI weekly benefit amount. The amount remaining (i.e., earnings over $25 or 75 percent of the earnings, whichever is smaller) is deducted from the claimant’s weekly benefit amount. If the deductible amount equals or exceeds the WBA, the claimant would not be unemployed and would not get any benefit. |
So based on the CA EDD guidance and given the max UI in CA is $450, the most someone could earn per week is $600 before losing unemployment benefits.
|CA EDD Partial UI details|
|Colorado||Eligible for partial benefits if you are working fewer than 32 hours a week and earning less than the WBA. You can earn up to 50% of your WBA and still be paid your full benefit payment. After that, a 1-1 dollar reduction of earned pay to benefits||CO Department of Labor and Employment|
|Connecticut||Your payment for partial benefits will be figured by taking two-thirds of your gross earnings for the week claimed and deducting that amount from your Weekly Benefit Rate.|
For example, if your weekly benefit rate for unemployment is $200, and you work 5 hours at $12/hour - then 2/3 of your gross earnings ($60) or $40 would be deducted from $200, leaving you a check amount of $160. You also still must be able, available and looking for full time work.
|CT Department of Labor|
|Delaware||DE Division of Unemployment Insurance
|District of Columbia||DC Dept. of Employment Services|
|Florida||No benefits if employment earnings greater than WBA. See Short-Time Compensation (STC) Plan. Limited to work 60% to 90% of normal work hours||FL
Dept. of Economic Opportunity Information
|Georgia||Partial unemployment insurance claims may be filed by employers for full-time employees who work less than full-time during a pay period due to lack of work only. The employees must still be attached to the employer and must have earned wages that do not exceed the weekly benefit amount plus $50.00.|
Partial Claims should not be filed when an employee is out of work due to disability, worker’s compensation or medical leave.
Partial Claims should not be filed when an employee is not able and available to accept all work offered by the employer.
|GA Department of Labor Information
|Hawaii||HI Unemployment Insurance State Website|
|Idaho||ID Dept. of Labor|
|Illinois||If your gross wages earned in any week are less than your weekly benefit amount, you still may be eligible to receive a full or partial benefit payment). Partial benefits equal the difference between the part of your earnings that exceed 50% of your weekly benefit amount and your weekly benefit amount for total unemployment. If the partial benefit amount does not come to an even dollar, it is raised to the next higher dollar, provided it does not exceed your weekly benefit amount.||IL Dept of Employment Security
|Indiana||IN Department of Workforce Development|
|Iowa||IA Workforce Development
|Kansas||KS Department of Labor|
|Kentucky||KY Career Center|
|Louisiana||LA Workforce Commission|
|Maine||ME Department of Labor|
|Maryland||A part-time worker is defined as an individual whose availability for work is restricted to part-time work, and who worked at least 20 hours per week in part-time work for a majority of the weeks of work in the base period (time period used to determine monetary eligibility for benefits).||MD Department of Labor (DLLR)|
|Massachusetts||If you work part-time hours during weeks in which you request unemployment benefits, you may still be paid benefits if your gross wages (total wages before taxes are deducted) are less than your weekly benefit amount. Any earnings greater than 1/3 of your weekly benefit amount (known as your earnings disregard) will be deducted dollar-for-dollar from your weekly benefit payment.||MA Department of Unemployment Assistance|
|Michigan||If you work less than full-time during a calendar week, you can collect partial unemployment benefits for that week as long as your gross earnings are not more than 1.5 times your weekly unemployment rate and all other requirements to receive benefits (you are able to work, available for work and seeking full time employment) are met.||MI Partial Benefits Calculation|
|Minnesota||MN Department of Employment and Economic Development|
|Mississippi||MS Department of Employment Security
|Missouri||MO Department of Labor and Industrial Relations|
|Montana||MT Department of Labor and Industry|
|Nebraska||NE Department of Labor|
|Nevada||NV Dept. of Employment, Training and Rehab|
|New Hampshire||NH Department of Employment Security|
|New Jersey||To be eligible for partial benefits, you cannot work more than 80 percent of the hours normally worked in the job. For example, if you worked a 40-hour week, you won't be able to get benefits if you work more than 32 hours. If your employer offers additional hours that you choose not to accept, your benefits may be affected.|
For any wages earned from any employer:
If you earn 20 percent or less of your weekly benefit rate from an employer, you can still receive your full benefit amount for that week. However, we will not pay you more than your weekly benefit rate.
Here's an example, using a weekly benefit rate (WBR) of $500. Let's say you worked a few days one week and earned $300. For $500, partial weekly benefit rate (PWBR) is $600. Partial weekly benefit rate PLUS 20 percent. You would receive $300 as your unemployment benefit for this week. Your PWBR minus your earnings of $300 equals $300.
Let's take a look at another example. Let's say that one week you worked a few hours and earned $50. For a $500 WBR, your partial benefit rate is $600. $600 minus $50 equals $550. However, since we will never pay more than your WBR, which is $500, your benefit for this week $500. We're not penalizing you (cutting your benefits) because you were able to squeak out some more hours while you were collecting unemployment. We want to get you in the door to work even a little bit, since that's a step toward full reemployment.
If you earn more than 20 percent of your weekly benefit rate from an employer in a given week, your partial weekly benefit payment will be reduced dollar-for-dollar for all gross wages earned that week.
For example, if your weekly benefit rate is $200, your partial weekly benefit rate is $240 (20 percent more than $200.) If you earn $50 (gross) during a week, you would receive $190 in unemployment insurance benefits ($240 – $50 = $190).
|NJ Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development Information|
|New Mexico||NM Department of Workforce Solutions|
|New York||For every day you work, you lose access to 25% of your maximum unemployment benefits. So if you work three days a week, you get 25% of your benefits. If you work two days a week, you get 50% of your benefits, and if you work one day a week, you get 75% of your benefits.||NY Dept. of Labor|
|North Carolina||NC Division of Employment Security|
|North Dakota||ND Job Service|
|Ohio||Individuals who are partially unemployed due to lack of work may be eligible for benefits. Any earnings from employment during the week claimed may reduce the amount of benefits paid. Earnings equal to or less than 20% of a claimant's weekly benefit amount will not reduce the amount of benefits paid. Earnings over 20% of the weekly benefit amount will reduce the benefit payment dollar for dollar. Earnings equal to or over the benefit amount will result in no benefits for that week.||OH Dept. of Job and Family Services
|Oklahoma||OK UI Home Page|
|Oregon||OR Employment Department|
|Pennsylvania||You may work part-time and earn up to 30 percent of your weekly benefit rate in each claim week before your earnings affect your weekly benefit payment. This 30 percent of your weekly benefit rate is your "partial benefit credit." Any amount that you earn over the partial benefit credit earned in a week will be deducted from your weekly benefit rate dollar-for-dollar. When reporting earnings for a calendar week, always give the actual amount of gross earnings. The amount is rounded up to the highest dollar amount (i.e., $76.07 = $77) when determining the amount payable for the week.|
The following example shows how the partial benefit credit works:
A person becomes unemployed and applies for UC benefits, and is determined to have a weekly benefit rate of $200. With a weekly benefit rate of $200, the partial benefit credit is $60 (30% of $200 = $60). This means that the claimant could earn up to $60 in part-time employment and still receive the full $200 in UC benefits for that week.
After being unemployed for a few weeks, the claimant found a part-time job that pays $99.25 (rounded up to $100) a week. The claimant is required to report the gross amount of part-time earnings when filing for benefits. The easiest way to figure the amount of benefits payable to the claimant for the week is to add the weekly benefit rate and the partial benefit credit together and subtract the weekly earnings.
|PA Department of Labor & Industry Partial UI|
|Puerto Rico||PR Department of Labor & HR|
|Rhode Island||RI Dept. of Labor and Training|
|South Carolina||SC Dept. of Employment & Workforce|
|South Dakota||SD Department of Labor & Regulation|
|Tennessee||TN Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development|
|Texas||An individual is partially unemployed in a benefit period of less than full-time work if the individual's wages payable for that benefit period are less than the sum of:|
- The benefit amount the individual would be entitled to receive if the individual was totally unemployed; and the greater of: $5; or 25 percent of the benefit amount.
So basically you’ll subtract whatever you earned working from 1.25 times your normal state-provided benefit. If what you made is great than 1.25 your benefit amount you won't get any additional state UI.
|TX Workforce Commission|
|Utah||UT Dept. of Workforce Services|
|Vermont||VT Dept. of Labor|
|Virginia||You must report any gross wages, not net wages, during the week they are earned, not paid. If the gross, not net, wages you earn are less then your weekly benefit amount, you may receive unemployment benefits. However, the amount of gross wages that are more than $50.00 will be deducted from your weekly benefit amount. If your gross weekly wages are equal to or more than your weekly benefit amount, you will not be paid benefits for that week.|
Your employer will be sent a notice that you have applied for partial benefits and your weekly benefit amount. During any week you earn less than your weekly benefit amount because of a lack of work, your employer is required to give you a Statement of Partial Unemployment, Form VEC-B-31, stating your wages for the week.
|VA Employment Commission|
|Washington||WA Employment Security Department|
|West Virginia||Workforce WV|
|Wisconsin||To determine benefits payable: (e.g. for $500 weekly income, with WBA of $300)|
Subtract $30 from your gross (part-time) income. (e.g $500- $30 = $470)
Multiply the remainder by 67% or 0.67. ($470 x 0.6 = $282)
Subtract this new amount (including the cents) from your WBA ($300 – $282 = $18)
This rounded amount is UI payable for the week when you were partially employed ($18)
|WI Dept. of Workforce Development|
|Wyoming||WY Unemployment Insurance Home Page|
Pandemic Unemployment Benefits And Part-Time Workers
With the expiry of pandemic unemployment benefits, which included PUA/PEUC enhanced benefits and the extra $300 FPUC weekly payments, part-time unemployment workers also lost lose access to these enhanced employment benefits.
They can apply for retroactive unemployment benefits in some cases if they were eligible during covered periods.