Monday, March 15, 2010

Ask Temp X: Unemployment

Hi. Temp X here. As a former Temp (Wow! It's still weird saying that.) and master of the California Employment Development Department, I'm frequently asked questions about how unemployment works. Here's a recent example:

"I read/saw your post today about your 2009 salary and collecting unemployment. I’m just curious about the unemployment process...What if EDD sends you a check but you end up working 1-2 days that week? Do you send some money back? Do you need to work through a temp agency for a particular amount of time?

The simple answer to the questions are: "No. You don't send money back. The EDD checks come AFTER your pay period, not before. They adjust your check accordingly." and "Yes, you need to work for a certain period of time." But if this doesn't offer enough detail, I've written up the following example.*

Molly had a steady temp gig at MTV until she was (with no notice) replaced with an unpaid intern. Depressed by her misfortune, Molly goes on a Vegas bender and blows through her savings at the Blackjack table [Tip: Splitting a pair of 10s = bad idea]. She wakes up Monday morning with a wicked hangover and an ever-growing credit card balance. Molly immediately makes two calls -- one to California EDD and the other to Jules at Friedman Personnel.

Based on her pay history, EDD determines Molly's weekly benefit to be a paltry $300. Moments later, Jules calls. He got Molly a one-day gig working for a certain talent agent with a Napoleon complex and small genitals. At this job, she earns $88 in gross wages (8 hours x $11/hour).

A week later, Molly receives her first unemployment form. She quickly fills it out and checks the "Yes" box indicating she worked that week. She lists her gross wages as $88 and mails the form back to EDD.

Once EDD receives Molly's claim, they take her weekly benefit and (more or less) subtracts whatever she earned that week. They then issue a Molly a check for the remainder -- or somewhere around $220.**

That's pretty much it. After re-reading this, I'm starting to wonder if this was helpful or just more confusing. My best suggestion is don't lose your job.

* The dollar amounts listed are an approximation. I'm not completely sure how EDD does their math. And considering their phone system is one step below two cans and a string, I'm not sure they do either.

**If the Federal stimulus program is still running, you get an extra $25 per week.


Angelle Haney Gullett said...

As to that math, here's my understanding as a newly-unemployed person:

The first $25 of your wages are free and clear. They begin deducting after that. So Molly would actually get a check for $237.

I think.

Anonymous said...

I like this feature. And the shout out to big J.

Anonymous said...

I think the OP means this: Don't send money back, the money you make this week will be reflected by the money you get from EDD next week.

Anonymous said...

Love the small genitals. The comment, not the actual body parts.

Anonymous said...

Molly should inquire with the labor comissioner about the unpaid intern taking her job.
Its clearly against the law for an intern to replace anyone that is actually getting paid.

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