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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
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Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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If I refuse part time, does it affect my severance package

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If I refuse part time, does it affect my severance package or unemployment?
Good afternoon and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question. I will do everything I can to assist you.

The only circumstance in which the law obligates employers to provide severance is where the employer has at least 100 employees and lays off at least 50 during a 30-day period. In such circumstance, the employer must either give 60 days notice of the lay off or pay 60 days wages.

In all other circumstances, however, employers are under no legal obligation to provide severance whatsoever, and so an employer would be free to decrease the amount of severance offered--or offer no severance at all--if an employee were to refuse part time work.

With regard to unemployment benefits, the EDD's main focus is whether a claimant finds themselves unemployed "through no fault of their own." If an individual quits they will ordinarily be regarded as unemployed "through fault," since they made the voluntary decision to become unemployed. However, where an individual quits with "good cause," an employee may still be eligible for benefits notwithstanding that they voluntarily left their job.

With regard to a reduction in hours constituting "good cause" to quit, the EDD states as follows in its Benefits Determination Guide:

"If a claimant leaves work due to dissatisfaction with hours or time, his or reasons must be real, substantial, and compelling in order to be considered good cause. When an employer changes the time schedule, he or she is in effect changing the agreement of hire. However, such a change does not automatically give the claimant good cause for quitting. When the required days, hours, shifts, etc., result in undue hardship for the claimant or are contrary to the law, he or she will have good cause for leaving. Undue hardship exists when the claimant has compelling reason for not wanting to work the required days, hours, shifts, etc. Good cause is not established when the claimant quits because hours, days, or shifts are inconvenient, undesirable, or interfere with other activities such as self-employment.

When circumstances provide the claimant with a compelling reason for quitting, good cause is negated if he or she does not express the dissatisfaction and allow the employer an opportunity to adjust the work schedule. An employer can and may make adjustments to permit an employee to continue working. Therefore, the claimant should not assume that it would be useless to discuss a change in work schedule with the employer."

So, if you can demonstrate that to accept part time work would result in undue financial hardship and that you have communicated your desire to work full time with your employer and to see whether an alternative arrangement can be worked out, an individual in your circumstance would likely still remain eligible for benefits.

Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

If you do not require any further assistance, please be so kind as to provide a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you.

Very best wishes to you and thank you so much for coming to Just Answer.
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