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Section 402(b) of the Pennsylvania UC Law provides, in part, that a claimant shall be ineligible for benefits for any week in which his/her unemployment is due to voluntarily leaving work without cause of a necessitous and compelling nature. A claimant who voluntarily quits continuing work has the burden of proof in establishing good cause for quitting; and, that such cause was real and substantial, leaving the claimant no other alternative. The burden is on the claimant to show that, prior to quitting continuing employment, he/she made every reasonable effort to maintain the employer/employee relationship. 
Following are examples of some common voluntary quit situations.

Health Reasons

To be eligible, the claimant must inform the employer of his/her health limitations prior to quitting so that the employer can offer suitable work within the claimant's limitations. The claimant must also be able and available for suggested accommodations. If the employer fails to offer suitable work, the claimant may be eligible for UC.

Transportation Problems

To be eligible, the claimant must show that the loss of the transportation was through no fault of his/her own and rendered his/her problem virtually insurmountable. He/she must attempt to secure alternate transportation prior to quitting. The claimant must also be able and available for suitable work in the local labor market consistent with his/her limitations.

Spouse Following Spouse

To be eligible, the claimant must show that the reason for the spouse's relocation was beyond the spouse's control, and that such relocation created economic circumstances that could not be overcome or that it was economically impossible to maintain two residences.

Leaving Work Due to Personal Reasons

To be eligible, the claimant must show that he/she quit due to personal circumstances that left him/her no reasonable alternative. The claimant must show that, prior to quitting, he/she made a reasonable attempt to maintain the employer/employee relationship. The claimant must also be able and available for suitable work.

To Attend School

Quitting a job to attend school is not considered a cause of a necessitous and compelling nature, unless it is to attend school or training provided under the Trade Readjustment Act (TRA). If the claimant quits to attend TRA training, he/she must show that the job he/she quit was not suitable work to be eligible for UC. Suitable work for the purposes of this exception to Section 402(b) means work of a substantially equal or higher skill level than the claimant's past "adversely affected employment," and wages of such work is not less than 80 percent of the worker's "average weekly wage."

Due to Unsuitable Work

When an employee accepts a position, he/she admits to the initial suitability of the position with respect to its wages and the conditions of employment. When a claimant quits because the job was unsuitable, the claimant must show there were changes in the conditions of employment, to which he/she did not agree upon, that made the job unsuitable, or there was deception on the part of the employer with regard to the conditions of employment at the time of hire, or he/she shall be considered ineligible. The suitability of the work will be determined by considering factors such as the degree of risk involved to the claimant's health, safety and morals; the claimant's physical fitness; the claimant's prior training and experience; the distance of the available work from the claimant's residence; the prevailing condition of the labor market; and, the prevailing wage rates in the trade or occupation.

Job Not the Same as What Was Anticipated

To be eligible, the claimant must show that the monetary expectations of employment were not fulfilled through no fault of the claimant. For example, a claimant takes a job selling vacuum cleaners because he/she has been told he/she could make $50,000 per year through commission sales. After three weeks, the claimant quits the job because he/she was unable to make any sales and the personal expenses exceeded the income thereby warranting the allowance of benefits.
The following are some exceptions to the disqualifying provision of Section 402(b) of the Pennsylvania UC Law:
  • You are permitted to exercise the option of accepting a temporary layoff from an available position under a labor-management contract agreement, or under an established employer plan, program or policy.
  • If you are covered by a Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) Program Certification, you may leave work to participate in training approved under the Trade Act of 1974, but only if that work is determined to be "not suitable," as defined by the Trade Act.
    The information provided on this site does not constitute a determination of eligibility to receive unemployment compensation.