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Category: Business Law
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Experience:  Licensed and practicing attorney helping businesses achieve their legal and practical goals.
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I was off in Florida due to the closing of my company.

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I was laid off in Florida due to the closing of my company. The new concessionaire has hired me as an independent contractor (no official contract in writing, with exception of my formal pay/benefits request). However, I am not being paid the agreed upon rate and I have not been given the information I need to be the Finance Manager. They are giving me a hard time and refuse to give me a job description. If I quit, do I have just cause to receive unemployment benefits?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  John replied 10 months ago.
Hi, My name is XXXXX XXXXX I’m happy to assist you with your question today.

You can quit this second position and still receive benefits. Two reasons justify your receipt of benefits. First, because this second employer classified you as an independent contractor you have not gained "full time employment" as defined by the act and as such you'd only be disqualified in weeks you earned more than your benefit amount; theoretically you have been employed by yourself (independent contractors are self-employed). Second, even if the agency found you to be an employee of this second place, they haven't treated you in a reasonable fashion - first breaching your wage agreement and second not remedying the matter - you'd as such have good cause attributable to them to quit and receive benefits.

I believe this answers your question. However, if you need clarification or have follow-up questions regarding this matter, I will be happy to continue our conversation – simply reply to this answer. If you are otherwise satisfied with my response, please leave a positive rating as it is the only way I am able to get credit for my answers. Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX wish you all the best with this matter.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Florida law states that you cannot get unemployment benefits if you have been employed as an independent contractor. Is this an exception?
Expert:  John replied 10 months ago.
Kimberly,

Yes you could call this an exception. My understanding from your question was that your previous employment from which you were laid off was as "employee" status and you had the adequate base period and earnings to be due benefits (i.e., you were employed 2 of the last 4 calendar quarters prior to layoff and earned at least $3,400 in the last 4 calendar quarters). With this assumption my prior answer is correct - you could become and independent contractor and not disqualified from benefits in weeks you (as an independent contractor/ self-employed person) earned less than your benefit amount.

However, if you were and always have been an independent contractor - you cannot qualify for benefits, because independent contractors neither pay into the unemployment system nor are they entitled to benefits.

Hope this clarifies. Let me know if I can be of further assistance.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I was a full time employee prior to October 1, 2013. I am now working as an independent contractor making more than what I could make from unemployment, but less than the agreed upon amount. Does the fact that I have made $800 a week for 6 weeks as an independent contractor disqualify from applying and receiving unemployment if I quit due to tbd circumstances presented earlier?
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I worked for the prior company for a year and a half as a full-time benefited employee. From October 1, 2013, until today, I have been considered an independent contractor under the new "owner." I have received $800/week from them since October 1, 2013. I want to quit because, as I stated, I had a verbal agreement for $45,000 per year. I submitted that request in writing along with a request for benefits and vacation per his instructions. Not knowing how long he plans to string me along as an independent contract, I don't know if I will ever make what I requested (which was a decrease from the prior employer-I needed a job). In addition, they are being highly secretive and will not allow me access to the information I would need to be a Finance Manager. As I stated before, he refuses to give me a job description. Sorry to be repetitive, but I want to quit and know that I will have a small amount coming in from Unemployement.
Expert:  John replied 10 months ago.
No you would not be disqualified for future weeks. The weeks you earned the $800 per week would be lost, but currently you could capture the remaining 20 weeks of unemployment by filing.
John, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 2912
Experience: Licensed and practicing attorney helping businesses achieve their legal and practical goals.
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