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Unemployment Compensation

  • Recruitment & Staffing
  • Classification & Compensation
  • Employee Relations
  • Unemployment compensation (UC) provides partial, temporary income to workers who lose their jobs through no fault of their own, and are able and available for work. The objective is to provide a cushion to absorb some of the shock of unemployment to jobless workers, their families, and the state’s business community.

    Eligibility

    Employees who lose their jobs through no fault of their own or have their work hours reduced against their wishes may be eligible for UC benefits. Wages, however, earned by a student enrolled at UF are statutorily exempt from benefit consideration.

    Payment of Benefits

    Who pays for UC benefits at the University of Florida?
    The University of Florida is classified as a Reimbursable Employer, which means that the state Department of Revenue (DOR) pays the university’s unemployment compensation charges as they occur. DOR then bills the university quarterly for those charges and the university reimburses the agency.

    The department or budget entity that last employed an eligible individual is responsible for all liabilities incurred by the university.

    The Human Resource Services’ Unemployment Compensation program is responsible for identifying the charges for each department or budget entity and ensuring that those charges are collected from the appropriate source and reimbursed to the Department of Revenue. Questions about this process should be directed to the Unemployment Compensation office at: ksommons@ufl.edu or (352) 392-4940.

    When does an individual start receiving UC Benefits?
    Florida law requires every individual to serve one waiting week during which no UC benefits are paid. This waiting week is the first week that an individual files a claim and meets all eligibility requirements. An eligible claimant generally receives his or her first check three to four weeks after filing the initial claim and meeting all eligibility requirements.

    How much money will an individual receive each week while on unemployment compensation?
    If an individual is found to be eligible, the amount of her unemployment check will be between $32 and $275 per week, based on her previous earnings. An individual’s work history determines the duration of her benefit eligibility.

    For how long can an individual collect UC Benefits?
    It varies from 12 to 23 weeks based upon the average unemployment rate in Florida for the third calendar quarter of the previous year. The amount of an individual’s actual available benefits is 25% of the total wages he or she was paid during the employee’s Base Period. This Base Period is determined by the quarter in which the employee files a claim for benefits (designated as Claim Filed). Please see the chart below.
    basetable
    As an illustration:

    If an employee
    filed a claim in:
    The base period will be
    the previous months of:
    Jan., Feb., or Mar. 2006 Oct. 1, 2004 – Sept. 30, 2005
    Apr., May, or June 2006 Jan. 1, 2005 – Dec. 31, 2005
    July, Aug., or Sept. 2006 Apr. 1, 2005 – Mar. 30, 2006
    Oct., Nov., or Dec. 2006 July 1, 2005 – June 30, 2006

    The current total amount of available benefits can range from a minimum of $850 to a maximum of $7,150. For example, if an individual’s total Base Period earnings are $12,000, her total amount of available benefits will be $3,000 ($12,000 multiplied by 25% equals $3,000).

    The Benefit Year is the one-year period a claim may be in effect and begins the day the claim is filed. If an individual receives all of his benefits before the Benefit Year ends, he cannot receive any additional benefits. To be eligible, an individual must have:

    • been paid wages in two or more calendar quarters in the base period,
    • total base period wages during that time of at least 1 1/2 times the wages in the quarter with the highest earnings, and
    • have earned at least $3,400 during the base period.

    To calculate an individual’s Weekly Benefit Amount, find the quarter with the highest earnings and divide by 26. The minimum Weekly Benefit Amount is $32, and the maximum Weekly Benefit Amount is $275.

    For example: If the calendar quarter in an employee’s base period with the highest earnings shows $3,000, her weekly benefit amount will be $115 ($3,000 divided by 26 equals $115).

    Can a current/former university employee be denied Unemployment Compensation Benefits?
    Yes. A current/former university employee may be denied benefits if he:

    • Quit his job with the university, and the university was the last employer
    • Was suspended/discharged for misconduct as defined by the UC Law
    • Is on a leave of absence that he requested
    • Received wages in lieu of notice of termination
    • Is not able to, available for, and actively seeking work
    • Knowingly makes a false statement to obtain benefits
    • Received wages while enrolled as a student

    If an employee is terminated by the university, must the university immediately pay all wages and benefits owed the employee at the time she is terminated?
    No. The university has until the next regularly scheduled payday to pay the employee.

    People say, “Florida is a ‘right to work’ state. What does that mean?”
    Article 1, Section 6, of the Florida Constitution recognizes collective bargaining, prohibits public employees from striking, and states simply that people may work whether or not they join a labor organization. This clause does not guarantee a job to anyone who wants one, nor does it require an employer to employ any particular individual.

    What federal and Florida laws govern labor issues?
    The primary federal law is called the “Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 as Amended” (FLSA). Florida laws governing labor matters are found in multiple locations throughout the statutes. In general, federal law is stricter than Florida law, except in areas regulating employment of minors.