A request for a layoff is the same as a voluntary quit, and it would disqualify you for unemployment insurance benefits.
However, California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board case law demonstrates that an employee whose pay is being reduced by 20% or more is considered to be involuntarily terminated from employment. Therefore, were you to reject the new job offer and then be fired by the employer, you would be eligible for unemployment benefits.
Note:If you commence work under the new job description and compensation for even a single day, then you will be ineligible for unemployment benefits. Thus, your recourse is "all or nothing." Either take the new job and suffer the loss of wage, or reject it, and take unemployment.
Hope this helps.
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