Total and Partial Unemployment TPU 370.15

Public Office

This minor category involves a discussion of whether a claimant holding or seeking public office is unemployed.

The performance of services on a full-time basis by an official holding public office constitutes employment in the same manner as any other employment. Thus, if a claimant, who is a public official is performing services of his/her public office full time, he/she is fully employed within the meaning of Section 1252. A public official who performs duties of his/her office less than full time and receives wages which are not XE is part-totally employed, unless he/she comes within the exception provided by Section 1279.

Section 1279 specifically excludes payments made by a city of California to an elected official incident to such public office, from the definition of wages for purposes of Section 1279 only.

To illustrate the above, a factory worker was elected to the city council. For attendance at weekly council meetings and other official duties which he performed during his off hours, he received payment of $100 per month for these services. When he was laid off from the factory work, he filed a claim for benefits with a weekly benefit amount of $65. Since he performed services less than full time, the payments he received as an elected city official are not wages and do not reduce his weekly benefit amount. However, had the duties of the city councilman increased to require his full-time services, he would be considered fully employed.

An otherwise unemployed claimant who is seeking public office is not employed. Of course, a fully employed public official who is seeking reelection remains fully employed.