An Employee Of My Business In New York Quit Because The Business Relocated. Will The Employee Get Unemployment Insurance Benefits?

An Employee Of My Business In New York Quit Because The Business Relocated. Will The Employee Get Unemployment Insurance Benefits?

In New York, a worker who, "without good cause," voluntarily leaves his employment is disqualified from receiving unemployment insurance benefits.  N.Y. Labor Law § 593(1)(a).

 

A worker who quits his job because his employer in New York has moved to a location which is further away from the worker's residence may or may not be found to have voluntarily left his employment "without good cause," such that he is disqualified from receiving unemployment insurance benefits.

Specifically, if the employer's new location is "at an unreasonable distance from [the worker's] residence, or travel to and from [the employer's new location] involves expense substantially greater than that required in [the employer's old location] unless" the employer provides for the expense, then the employee's voluntary leaving of his job does not disqualify the worker from receiving unemployment insurance benefits in New York.  N.Y. Labor Law § 593(2), 593(2)(c); see N.Y. Labor Law § 593(1).

Conversely, if the locale to which the employer has relocated is not at an unreasonable distance from the worker's abode, and the worker's commute to and from the employer's new locale does not involve unreimbursed expense substantially greater than that required by his commute to and from the employer's old locale, then, if the worker quits his job because of the employer's relocation, the worker is disqualified from receiving unemployment insurance benefits in New York.

An "unreasonable distance" of an employer's new location from a worker's residence, such that the worker's quitting of his job because of the employer's relocation is for "good cause" and does not disqualify the worker from receiving unemployment insurance benefits in New York, is approximately any distance requiring the worker to commute more than 90 minutes each way.  See A.B. Case 143,483 (N.Y. Unemp. Ins. Appeal Bd. May 14, 1969) (respondent employer's transfer of claimant worker, who lived in upper Manhattan, from the employer's Manhattan branch to its Kearny, New Jersey branch was not "good cause" for worker's quitting of her employment, so the worker was disqualified from receiving unemployment insurance benefits in New York; noting that "[the worker's] travel time [from her residence to the employer's Kearny locale] would not exceed one and one-half hours one way," but rather "would be one hour and fifteen minutes").

Thus, in Appeal Board Case 109,386 (N.Y. Unemp. Ins. Appeal Bd. Feb. 24, 1964), the respondent employer transferred the claimant worker from the employer's Queens, New York locale to the employer's Newark, New Jersey locale.  As a result of this transfer, "the claimant was compelled to travel about two hours each way from her residence to her new place of employment."  The New York Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board held that the worker had "good cause," N.Y. Labor Law § 593(1)(a), to leave her employment, in that the locale to which the employer transferred the worker "[was] at an unreasonable distance from [her] residence."  As a result, the Appeal Board determined, the worker was entitled to unemployment insurance benefits.   A.B. Case 109,386.

By contrast, in In re Work, 238 A.D.2d 664, 656 N.Y.S.2d 67 (3d Dep't 1997), New York's Appellate Division, Third Department, affirming the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board's determination that the claimant worker was disqualified from receiving benefits, held that the employer's anticipated move, within New York City, from the Borough of Manhattan to the Borough of Queens was not "good cause" for the claimant's voluntary separation from employment.

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Comments

Anonymous
Anonymous
  • 07-31-2012

Out of curiosity, how is 90 minutes' travel time determined? In New York City, for example, it's often more trouble (and expense) than it's worth to own a car. So, for example, since I live an hour's subway ride from Penn Station, would I have cause if my job were moved somewhere in New Jersey that was more than half an hour from there, even if it were under 90 minutes from home by car?

Anonymous
Anonymous
  • 08-01-2012

Nowsdays, the work and workers seem change all the time, however, no matter what happens we all should do our best to do all the things well. Just try and we will get what we want? Do you think so?