Employment Law Questions? Ask an Employment Lawyer.
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Unemployment eligibility requires the claimant to prove they are unemployed through "no fault of their own." Typically, resigning will result in disqualification from benefits because when an employee resigns, they are seen as making the voluntary decision to become unemployed. However, an exception exists where the employee can demonstrate that they quit for reasons amounting to "good cause." A significant paycut will typically qualify as good cause. As you indicate your pay is being cut from $51,000 to $9/hr ( which equates to an annual wage of roughly $18,000, assuming 40 hours a week 50 weeks for the year) that pay cut is extremely significant--it's a cut of 65%! Therefore, an individual in your circumstance would typically be able to quit and collect unemployment benefits. You would typically want to let your employer now in advance that you will be forced to quit if your position is not reinstated and that you will seek unemployment benefits. That way it can't be alleged that you did not do everything you possibly could to remain employed. Doing this and then quitting, an individual in your circumstance will typically be eligible for benefits.
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