For those employees who are seasonal workers and don’t have the traditional nine-to-five, year-round job, benefits can be tricky. Unemployment, in particular, is a common question that comes up when seasonal positions end and employees leave. While some benefits are required, across the board, the truth is that most vary according to state.
Understanding seasonal unemployment gets a little complicated, as it is actually a subcategory of structural unemployment. With a regular, full-time position, employees qualify for unemployment by meeting two simple criteria. These include being unemployed through no fault of your own and meeting state requirements for earned wages.
Seasonal unemployment, however, is unique because when a position runs out, it is due to a predictable trend within a given industry or line of work. In other words, seasonal employees are not considered unemployed because the positions they entered into were already limited in duration, so many states deny seasonal workers unemployment benefits.
On the other hand, there are some states that do allow seasonal employees to qualify for unemployment benefits at the end of their job obligation. Federal law allows each state to determine whether or not to allow seasonal employees unemployment benefits. Because seasonal workers aren’t unemployed in the traditional sense, they’re simply in between work opportunities and commitments, some states will pay these benefits because they know that these workers will only collect it for a few months before returning to another job.
So, do seasonal employees qualify for unemployment when they leave? The answer is yes and no. Check with your state to see if you are eligible for unemployment benefits, as you will find that benefits greatly vary from state-to-state.