Friday, March 15, 2013

UC - self-employment - sideline activity

Crocker v. UCBR – March 15, 2013 – Cmwlth. Court (en banc)

Claimant held to be eligible for UC where she was laid off from her FT job but continued to work at her sideline job (real estate agent) without substantial change in sideline work, except for increase of 5-10 hours/week, while remaining available for FT employment

The Law distinguishes between disqualifying self-employment and non-disqualifying self-employment, i.e., sideline employment. Section 402(h, 43 P.S. §802(h). This Court has construed the exception in Section 402(h) of the Law to apply where the self-employment began prior to termination from full-time employment; has continued without substantial change after the full-time employment was terminated; and was not the primary source of the claimant’s livelihood. In that case, the claimant is eligible for unemployment compensation so long as she is available for full-time work. Kress v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 23 A.3d 632, 636 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2011).

Here, Claimant testified that her employment with Northwood Realty began in 2004, prior to her employment with Met Electrical Testing, and it continued thereafter. When she was laid off from Met Electrical, she increased her hours of real estate work by five to ten hours a week, which she does in the evenings and on the weekends. Her real estate work has never been the principal  source of her livelihood. Further, she remains available for full-time employment. Indeed, Claimant testified that the reason she took the job with Met Electrical Testing was for financial security. In sum, Claimant’s work as a real estate agent is sideline self-employment that does not affect her eligibility for unemployment by reason of her loss of employment with Met Electrical.