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Employment Development Department
Employment Development Department

Voluntary Quit VQ 365

Leaving for Other Work

This section discusses quits to seek or accept other employment. This section does not specifically address ruling-only situations except as examples of voluntary leaving of one job for another job (For information regarding Rulings, see MS 407.).

A. Quit to Seek Prospective Employment

Title 22, Section 1256-19(b) provides:

An individual who leaves work to seek other work does not have good cause for leaving the work unless the individual leaves part-time work to seek full-time work because the part-time work prevents an effective search for full-time work.

In P-B-366, the claimant was an administrative clerk with the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. Including an enlistment period with the U.S. Coast Guard, he had seven years' total service with the federal government. Prior to his separation from the Coast Guard, he had taken a maritime examination and obtained his seaman's papers. In September, the claimant applied for work with an oil company, but did not discuss terms and conditions of employment. In October, his uncle, a Coast Guard Chief Warrant Officer, advised the claimant that there was a possibility of work as the Coast Guard was establishing a new list of eligibles, and perhaps he could be employed during the second or third week in January. On the strength of these two possibilities, the claimant resigned his employment in December (with two weeks' notice to retain reinstatement rights). In January, the claimant contacted the oil company and was advised the employer had received his application but they had no openings. In its decision holding the claimant ineligible for benefits, the Board stated:

Considering the facts developed in the instant case . . . we are constrained to conclude that this claimant left work voluntarily without good cause. Certainly it must be conceded that the work for which the claimant applied was more desirable than that which he previously held. Additionally, the evidence establishes that work as a merchant seaman would have been substantially more advantageous to the claimant than his employment with the federal government. The claimant, however, had no reasonable basis to conclude that he had been extended an offer of work with the oil company he wished to join. He had merely filed an application for potential employment, and in the exhibit introduced by the claimant from the prospective employer it was clearly indicated that the claimant's possibilities of obtaining such employment in the immediate future were limited. The claimant's reliance upon the representation of his uncle without first corroborating such information with the prospective employer is unrealistic. We find, therefore, that the claimant left work for personal, noncompelling reasons under California law.

In P-B-11, the claimant had been employed for four years as a busboy on a full-time, temporary job during his school vacation and holiday periods, when his classes were not in session and he was again at his parents' home. He last worked on January 1 and returned to school, telling the employer he would not be able to work the following Easter vacation because of school commitments, but that he would return during the summer vacation. On the strength of the claimant's statement, the employer did not hire anyone to take the claimant's place. The claimant did not return to the employer that summer because he wanted to remain in Northern California and find work.

The Board held that the separation was a voluntary quit rather than a suitable work issue, stating:

In this case the claimant has, for the last four years, followed a pattern of attending college and working for the employer as a busboy during the holiday and vacation periods when his classes were not in session. This pattern is different than that generally followed by the average college student who during periods of holiday and vacation may work for a variety of different employers at a variety of different jobs. Here the claimant has worked for one employer at one job for four years.

A careful review of the pattern followed by the claimant leads us to the conclusion that an employer-employee relationship has existed between the claimant and the employer for the four-year period the claimant has worked for the employer. During those periods when the claimant has been attending college, he has, in effect, been on an approved leave of absence. In June . . . he chose not to return at the end of his leave of absence but rather to file a claim for unemployment benefits.

After deciding that the separation was a quit, the Board addressed the separation itself and held:

The only reason presented by the claimant for his leaving work was his personal desire to remain in Northern California and attempt to find work there. He presented no compelling reasons for his desire, and we conclude that his actions were not those of a reasonable person genuinely desirous of retaining employment . . . . We have consistently held that leaving work to look for other work does not constitute good cause. We conclude in this matter that the claimant voluntarily left his most recent work without good cause . . . .

B. Quit to Accept Offered Subsequent Employment

Title 22, Section 1256-19(c) provides:

An individual who leaves work to accept other work has good cause for leaving the work if there was a definite assurance of employment in another substantially better job which is at least as permanent as the job the individual leaves, or if other circumstances establish that a reasonable person genuinely desirous of retaining employment would have left to accept the other work.

Thus, the elements that must be satisfied are:

Definiteness: A definite assurance of employment, and

Betterment: A substantially better job, and

Permanence: A job as permanent as the job the claimant left, or

Reasonableness: Whether a reasonable person genuinely desirous of

retaining employment would have left to accept the

offered employment.

One or more of the above elements are illustrated in each of the following examples. The interviewer should also note that good cause for leaving may or may not be negated by the subsequent action of the claimant.

  1. Definiteness

    Title 22, Section 1256-19(c)(1) provides:

    Since an individual is expected to take every reasonable step to preserve continuous employment, good cause for leaving a job for another job requires a definite assurance of a starting date on the new job. A hope or speculative expectation of obtaining a new job is not sufficient to establish good cause for leaving work. However, good cause is not negated by leaving the prior job a few days early to move closer to the new job or otherwise prepare for the new job, including a reasonable rest period if the individual has not recently had a vacation.

    In P-B-277, the claimant was a full-charge bookkeeper for a theater chain for five weeks. One week into her employment, a private employment agency notified her that an opening existed for a full-charge bookkeeper with a law firm. She was interviewed by the senior partner of the law firm; after a second interview, she was told she was hired, but that it would be some time before she could start work as the opening which she was to fill was presently occupied by an employee who was retiring. The firm anticipated the opening would occur in two or three weeks. On January 18, the attorney told the claimant she could plan to start February 16. The claimant gave a week's notice to her employer, and left the employment on February 15. The "elderly" bookkeeper had not left as of February 16, however, and the partner who had hired the claimant expressed regret that the conditions were such that they could not immediately employ her, and suggested she find other employment until she could be hired.

    In discussing the theory of good cause in leaving one job for another, the Board examined cases from other states, and found "[p]ractically without exception the rulings have been that the leaving is with good cause." The Board then went on to explain:

    The underlying theory in these cases seems to be that the claimant has done all that he could do to assure himself of continuous employment; he left his work only because he had definite assurance that he was to have new permanent employment, and his subsequent unemployment was attributable solely to the new employer's failure to provide the promised employment.

    We agree with the principle set forth in these decisions and we conclude that the claimant in the present case had good cause for leaving his work.

  2. Betterment

    Title 22, Section 1256-10(c)(3) provides:

    In determining whether a new job is substantially better than the prior job, all factors which influence an individual's decision to leave the prior job for the new job are considered. These include relative pay, opportunities for advancement, skills required, seniority rights, working conditions, and the location and permanency of the jobs.

    Comparing pay and other factors of the old and new jobs to determine if the new job is substantially better than the old job cannot be reduced to definite standards or a prescribed formula. However, if other factors are equal, a pay increase in the new job or more than 10 percent is usually substantial. Pay includes the basic wage, shift differentials, board and room furnished by the employer, and guaranteed overtime. Pay also includes fringe benefits such as vacation pay and insurance if such fringe benefits are currently available or set schedules and information to value the fringe benefits for both jobs is available. Speculative fringe benefits whose receipt is dependent on contingencies, such as pension, vacation, and sick leave, are given less weight in pay comparison to the extent that their values and the probability of future realization are uncertain.

    In P-B-123, the claimant, a designer, was offered work by a job shop as a mechanical designer at a 21 percent increase in pay. The claimant investigated the type of work and the job security, and accepted the work on May 25 to begin June 6. He and his supervisor agreed that, if he could finish his assigned work before that date he could take his accrued vacation and terminate his employment. On May 28, the claimant was told the second firm did not have the funds to employ him. On June 2, he told his supervisor he would like to remain employed; unaware of the withdrawing of the second job, the supervisor told him the second job was more challenging and afforded him more opportunity. He also led the claimant to believe that work was slow in his department and he could withdraw his resignation only if he would agree to remain indefinitely. The claimant was not willing to make such an agreement because he did not feel the job offered the challenges he wanted.

    In its decision, the Board addressed the leaving of the first job, but then found that the good cause for leaving was negated by failure to withdraw his resignation when the job failed to materialize:

    In the present case, at the time the claimant submitted his resignation, he had been hired to commence a new job at a substantially higher hourly wage with better opportunities for the type of work he wished to do. Therefore, the claimant acted reasonably in submitting his resignation to terminate his employment. However, the fact that a person may set a date for resigning from employment is not the controlling factor. The most pertinent consideration is whether the claimant could have remained working for an employer on the actual date he left.

    When the claimant . . . discussed with his supervisor the possibility of remaining with the employer, the claimant knew he would be without employment after June 3 . . . . At that time he should have informed his supervisor that the other job did not materialize and attempted to withdraw his resignation. Had he done so the employer would have retained him. Although the claimant believed he would be able to find other work which he would prefer, there was no reason why he could not have remained with the employer while attempting to find such work. It cannot therefore be found that the claimant was unemployed after June 3 . . . through no fault of his own . . . . [W]e must conclude the claimant voluntarily left his most recent work without good cause . . . .

  3. Permanence

    Title 22, Section 1256-19(c)(3) provides:

    Leaving permanent full-time work to take temporary work is generally without good cause. However, it may be with good cause if an individual has accumulated substantial rights in customary seasonal work and leaves a nonseasonal permanent job to return upon recall to the normal seasonal job to preserve the substantial rights acquired. Leaving temporary work to accept permanent work is generally with good cause even if the permanent work pays the same or even less than the temporary work. Similarly, leaving part-time work to accept full-time employment is with good cause, but leaving full-time work to accept part-time work is without good cause unless the individual has compelling reasons such as protection of health for taking part-time work . . . .

    In P-R-380, a ruling decision the claimant was working part time, approximately 17 hours per week. She resigned to accept full-time employment, after ascertaining that there was no prospect of steady, full-time employment with her old employer in the foreseeable future. The Board stated:

    Upon ascertaining that there was no prospect of steady employment with the appellant in the foreseeable future, the claimant resigned to accept an offer of full-time work. Had she not done so, she would have lost an opportunity for full-time, permanent employment with the second employer. Under all the facts and circumstances of this case, it is our opinion that the claimant left his work . . . for reasons constituting good cause.

  4. Reasonableness

    The reasonableness of the claimant's actions will depend in large part on the circumstances at the time the claimant leaves the job. While leaving employment to enter self-employment is normally not considered a reasonable action by the claimant, in the following case the Board found that the claimant's response, under the circumstances, was reasonable.

    In P-B-271, the Board considered the relative permanency of two jobs when deciding whether the leaving was with or without good cause. The claimant, a welder in a boat works, had heard that there would probably be layoffs at the boat works and talked to his immediate supervisor and the personnel manager. Both advised him that he would be laid off in about two weeks; his union also had no immediate prospects of dispatching him. He resigned April 1 and started work as a self-employed crop duster. He worked until mid-September, when the work ended because of poor crops; normally, the crop dusting season lasted into November.

    The Board distinguished this case from other cases in which claimants left permanent work to enter into uncertain ventures in self employment. Of this particular case, the Board stated:

    In the instant case, the claimant conceded that his work as a crop-duster was in self-employment. It is our view that the mere act of leaving "work" to enter into self-employment is not in and of itself a disqualifying action. We must consider all of the reasons for such leaving. The claimant herein was faced with the loss of his work as a welder within a short time. He investigated and found that he could not hope to obtain new employment in the Los Angeles area within the foreseeable future. On the other hand, crop dusting offered him a certain livelihood for himself and his family for several months. In our opinion, the claimant had a compelling reason for his resignation and did what a reasonable man would do under similar circumstances. We therefore hold that the claimant left his work as a welder with good cause . . . .