Five Things You Should Know About Vacation Pay and Unemployment Benefits

Employment benefits can be confusing to job seekers since they can vary from state to state, and even company to company.

Vacation pay and unemployment aid are often the benefits that are put into question, whether it be at the start of employment or during a termination. Employees should review their employee handbooks to make sure their vacation pay and unemployment benefits are outlined clearly.

While these benefits vary depending on your employment situation, here are some things to keep in mind when reviewing your vacation pay or unemployment benefits:


1. Vacation Pay is Not Required

It may surprise you that the U.S. Department of Labor does not require businesses to offer paid time off, or vacation pay, to employees. But once you make an agreement with an employer, by law they have to stand by that policy.


2. Use it Or Lose it

If you leave your job or if you come to the end of the year and still have vacation days left, your employer may not honor the unused paid time off. Check with your state laws on what they say about employers being responsible for unused vacation days and be sure your employee handbook follows these laws.


3. Unemployment Benefits Are Easy To File

As soon as you lose your job you should file for unemployment. Filing is easy, you can fill out your information online and receive all of your information within 10 days.


4. Unemployment Benefits Are Running Out

Due to high unemployment rates, unemployment benefits are running out, especially in states with the highest unemployment rates. Legislation was signed to extend benefits, but aid will continue to run out fast.


5. Get Your Finances in Order

When applying for unemployment, you'll be asked if you want taxes withheld or if your company owes you paid time off. Answer the questions to the best of your ability and do considering having taxes withheld in each check so you are not surprised with how much you could owe the government at the end of the year.

Get your finances in order by figuring out a budget based on your savings and your unemployment checks. Having a budget in place that represents how much you'll get from unemployment will keep your mind at ease as you get back on the job hunt.

Next: Lost your job? Lose some expenses

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Computer Novice

Just an observation: Not to place blame specifically, nor pass judgement on anyone in particular, I would just like to add that some more information should be dispensed to everyone because I have not seen any mention anywhere about from where unemployment benefits originate ~ i.e.,not from the Administration, our Congress, the media, or employees. Some people believe they earned this safety net, and do not view it in its entirely. Everyone seems to be "right on" when spewing the numbers of how many people are unemployed, or have recently applied for benefits, who have dropped off the rolls, or the fact that the "Unemployment Fund" has run out. Really? Nowhere have they reported from where those funds originate. There is no 'genie-in-a-bottle' which magically fills up the fund, nor from our benificent leaders. As a person who handled payroll for over a quarter of a century, I can say with certainty that those "unemployment funds" came from employers, not employees, and the assessments are paid separately. The first tax applied to each person's wages is paid to the state where one works; for example, MUTA (MASS UNEMPLOYMENT TAX), or any other state unemployment agency. A second tax, called "FUTA" (FEDERAL UNEMPLOYMENT TAX) is also assessed to EMPLOYERS, not employees. These taxes are not deducted from a worker's paycheck. They are paid by the employers. The fact that the "Unemployment Fund" has been depleted is because there are fewer employees, thus fewer tax monies going to the states as well as the federal government coffers. Simple math: fewer people employed, fewer tax monies going to that magic "unemployment fund". Though money still flows to the states and Washington, it is less and less each week because of diminished payroll taxes. That Congress is finally 'getting it' and realizing that the overall debt is too much to sustain, it would be helpful if someone, somewhere, would be honest and acknowledge that extended benefits are not 'free money' - It is like the Social Security "TRUST FUND" that our Congresses and Administrations(please note, plural) have robbed to pay for other pet earmarked projects. Where the money comes from for those now receiving benefits will diminish the "Unemployment TRUST Fund" further. Until the Administration and Congress get serious about "JOBS-JOBS-JOBS", future benefits will be coming out of the General Fund, added to the debt for future generations.

July 08 2010 at 12:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
cheryl

I am laid off for the summer but have a return to work date in the fall,If I apply for unemployment,can my employer terminate my insurance benefits.

May 26 2010 at 4:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to cheryl's comment
stacknef

state by state rules probably apply but the short anser is NO and if they do, they you can receive COBRA subsidies to help.

July 08 2010 at 1:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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