BOARD OF APPEALS
|DECISION NO: 1507-BR-82
DATE: October 15, 1982
|CLAIMANT: Clement F. Helmstetter
|| APPEAL NO.: UFC- 221
|EMPLOYER: United States Postal Services
||L.O. NO: 3
Issue: Whether the Claimant is able to work, available for work and actively
seeking work within the meaning of Section 4(c) of the Law.
- NOTICE OF RIGHT OF APPEAL TO COURT -
YOU MAY FILE AN APPEAL FROM THIS DECISION IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE LAWS
OF MARYLAND. THE APPEAL MAY BE TAKEN IN PERSON OR THROUGH AN ATTORNEY
IN THE SUPERIOR COURT OF BALTIMORE CITY, OR THE CIRCUIT COURT
OF THE COUNTY IN MARYLAND IN WHICH YOU RESIDE.
THE PERIOD FOR FILING AN APPEAL EXPIRES AT MIDNIGHT November 14, 1982.
|For the Claimant:
||For the Employer:
REVIEW ON THE RECORD
Upon a review of the record in this case, the Board of Appeals disagrees with the
facts found and conclusions of law of the Appeals Referee and reverses that decision.
FINDINGS OF FACT
The Claimant was laid off from his job with the Mashuda Corporation in Evans City,
Pennsylvania, on August 14, 1981. Subsequently he file for unemployment
insurance benefits, effective November 15, 1981, with a weekly
benefit amount of $140.00. The record before the Board does not
indicate how many weeks of benefits he actually received.
On February 20, 1982,
the Claimant obtained employment with the United States Postal
Service as a rural carrier relief employee and at the time of
the hearing before the Appeals Referee, he still had that position.
A rural carrier relief employee is basically a part time job.
The Claimant is on call and is scheduled for work when another
employee is absent or on leave, similar to a substitute teacher.
Therefore, the number of hours the Claimant works and the amount
of his earnings in any given week will vary. Although the record
is devoid of any specific information regarding the Claimant's
wages, it is presumed that at least for some of the weeks, his
earnings fall below his weekly benefit amount.
Further, the Claimant
has stated (to the Claims Examiner) and there is no evidence to
the contrary, that he is able and available for full time work.
CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
The Board of Appeals concludes that the Claimant meets the requirements
of Section 20(1) of the Maryland Unemployment Insurance Law for:
"...any week of less than full-time work if the wages payable
to him with respect to such week are less than his weekly benefit
amount plus allowances for dependents."
The Claimant's employment with the Postal Service, for each week in
which he earns less than his weekly benefit amount, is precisely
the situation set out in Section 20(1). Clearly, the intent of
the Law is to encourage a person to work, even if part time work
is the only work available to him, by allowing him to collect
the difference between his weekly benefit amount and his earnings,
in unemployment insurance benefits.
The fact that the Claimant is not "separated" from the Postal Service,
a fact upon which the Employer and the Appeals Referee placed
great importance, is totally beside the point. Section 20(1) clearly
provides that a Claimant may be eligible for partial benefits
even if he is working a part time job (and therefore obviously
not separated from that employment). The Board notes that the
United States Postal Service does not appear to be a base period
employer and as such, would not be charged for the Claimant's
benefits, based on his benefit year effective November 15, 1981.
The Claimant was also found by the Appeals Referee to be disqualified
because he was not able and available for work, without restrictions,
within the meaning of Section 4(c). This conclusion is contrary
to the intent of the law and is unsupported by the evidence in the case.
The sole basis for disqualifying the Claimant under Section 4(c) was
his continuing on-call employment as a relief carrier with the
Postal Service. Obviously, the law was not intended to punish
people who are otherwise able, available and actively seeking
full time work, merely because they accept part-time work, rather
than remain idle. Although no testimony was elicited on this issue
at the hearing before the Appeals Referee, the Claimant signed
statement, taken by the Claims Examiner was that he was able and
available for full time work, despite the fact that he was on-call
for the Postal Service. Absent any evidence to the contrary, the
Board accepts that statement as correct.
Therefore, to accept the reasoning of the Appeals Referee would amount to
requiring the Claimant to quit his job with the Postal Service
in order to be eligible under Section 4(c) of the Law. Aside from
the obvious absurdity of that situation, such a requirement would
force the Claimant to voluntarily quit his job (possibly giving
him a penalty under Section 6(a)) or, if he had not accepted the
job in the first place, would subject the Claimant to being disqualified
for refusing an offer of suitable work, within the meaning of
Section 6(d) of the Law. In any event, as the Board stated earlier
in this decision, the clear intent of the statute is to encourage
people to work, even part time, if that is all that is available,
and to provide partial benefits, where appropriate, as long as
they are still able and available for full time work.
The Claimant is unemployed within the meaning of Sections 4 and 20(1)
of the Law for any week of less than full time work, if the wages
payable to him with respect to such work are less than his weekly
benefit amount plus allowances for dependents. This case is remanded
to the local office, which is instructed to make a determination
for each week the Claimant filed a proper claim, in accord with this decision.
The Claimant is able, available and actively seeking work, within
the meaning of Section 4(c) of the Maryland Unemployment Insurance
Law. The disqualification from August 19, 1932, imposed by the
Appeals Referee, is rescinded.
The decision of the Appeals Referee is reversed.
Hazel A. Warnick, Associate Member
Maurice E. Dill, Associate Member
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UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE - CUMBERLAND