Ward v. UCBR – Cmwlth. Court –
Febgruary 9, 2016
Severance pay not earned. Held not to be “wages.”
Section 401(c) of the Law provides that “[c]ompensation
shall be payable to any employe who is or becomes unemployed, and who . . .
[h]as made a valid application for benefits with respect to the benefit year
for which compensation is claimed.” 43 P.S. §801(c).
Section 4(w)(2) of the Law provides that: [a]n application
for benefits filed after the termination of a preceding benefit year by an individual
shall not be considered a Valid Application for Benefits within the meaning of
this subsection, unless such individual has, subsequent to the beginning of
such preceding benefit year and prior to the filing of such application, worked
and earned wages in “employment” as defined in this act in an amount equal to
or in excess of six (6) times his weekly benefit rate in effect during such
preceding benefit year. 43 P.S. §753(w)(2) (emphasis added).
In Joyce v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 548
A.2d 387, 388 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1988), this court determined that severance pay was
not earned and, thus, may not be used to calculate a claimant’s earnings under
section 4(w)(2) of the Law. Here, Claimant’s only income during the preceding
benefit year came from his severance payments. Because severance payments are
not earned, Claimant did not “work and earn wages in ‘employment’ . . .
during such preceding benefit year.” 43 P.S. §753(w)(2). Therefore, the UCBR
correctly applied section 4(w)(2) of the Law.
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