Hello and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question. I am very sorry to hear about your employment situation and hope I can provide some helpful information. You asked:My question is am I guaranteed (100%) Unemployment Benefits if I accept a "mutual agreement of separation" and report Mutual Agreement of Separation in the other box when filing for unemployment?
Unfortunately, the answer is "no." In fact, accepting a "mutual agreement of separation" can actually hinder
an employee's right to collect unemployment benefits. This is because one of the requirements for collecting benefits is that a claimant be unemployed "through no fault of his or her own." When an employer and employee "mutually agree" to separate, the EDD may construe this as "voluntary" unemployment, since the employee was in agreement
that the employment relationship should end.
In general, an individual will be eligible to receive benefits provided that they have received enough wages during the base period to establish a claim (either $1300 in one quarter of their "base period," or at least $900 in their highest quarter and total base period earnings of 1.25 times their high quarter earnings), they are physically able and available to immediately accept work, actively seeking work, and unemployed through no fault of their own.
It is important to understand that even when an employee is "terminated," as opposed to "laid off," they often are still eligible to collect benefits. "Termination" only precludes a claimant from collecting benefits if they were terminated for engaging in willful misconduct. Willful misconduct includes such things as stealing from the employer, showing up to work drunk, and other things that an employee should reasonably assume will harm the employer.
Merely being a poor worker or failing to follow instructions on a particular assignment, for example, will not typically disqualify an applicant from collecting benefits.
So to summarize, signing an agreement of "mutual separation" can actually harm a claimant's right to collect UE benefits because the EDD may regard the claimant's unemployment as "voluntary" under such circumstances. A claimant will be eligible to collect benefits even if they are "terminated" unless they engage in "willful misconduct," typically speaking.
For information on how to file a claim for unemployment benefits with the EDD, visit this link: http://www.edd.ca.gov/unemployment/filing_a_claim.htm
I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX this information helps you and I wish you the best.
My absolute greatest concern
is that you are satisfied with the answer I provide, so please do not hesitate to contact me with follow-up questions. Also, please bear in mind that none of the above constitutes legal advice nor is any attorney client relationship created between us.