At Allmand Law, we know that it’s incredibly difficult to balance parenting and work obligations. Unfortunately, employers aren’t always so understanding. After an unexpected job loss, you might wonder, “Can I get unemployment if I quit because of child care?” The answer is: “it depends.” Keep reading to learn more about how your ability to access child care can impact your Texas unemployment benefits.
How Do Unemployment Benefits Work in Texas?
In other words, leaving your job involuntarily usually leaves workers ineligible to collect unemployment benefits. Losing your job at no fault of your own makes one eligible but depending on state regulations and personal circumstances, you could be eligible for payment if your job loss is related to limited or no child care availability.
You are eligible for Texas unemployment benefits if you meet the state’s strict eligibility criteria. While some of the criteria focus on your earnings, time worked, and current availability for work, another looks at the circumstances surrounding your job separation.
- If you were fired for misconduct, you typically cannot get unemployment.
- If you quit your job for personal reasons, such as a desire to be a stay-at-home parent, you typically cannot get unemployment.
- However, if you quit your job for good cause, you qualify for Texas unemployment benefits.
- If you are a victim of downsizing, a reduction in force (RIF), or for other reasons out of your control, you qualify for unemployment
If you qualify for unemployment benefits, you’ll receive a weekly benefit that ranges between $67 and $494. Your weekly benefit amount will depend on your earnings history. If you need help calculating your benefit amount, you can use the State of Texas’ unemployment benefit estimator or contact the unemployment agency or a lawyer for help.
When Is the Lack of Child Care Considered “Good Cause”?
When you apply for unemployment, you should have a good reason why you are seeking benefit payments. The reason should be connected directly to your job. If you are unable to obtain child care, the reason alone may not qualify for approval.
However, if there were other factors at play, you might qualify for unemployment benefits. If the job had a night shift or daycare availability is limited in your area, you could qualify — especially if your employer suddenly moved you to second or third shift. Or, you might qualify if your employer historically let you work a flexible schedule and suddenly changed the terms of your employment. However, you’ll need evidence of your changed circumstances and how you tried to remedy the situation before you quit.
What Is “Good Cause”?
“Good cause” is a legal standard and is more than just a good reason to quit. For example, leaving a job because it’s unfulfilling or you want to spend more time with your children are legitimate reasons to quit — but they won’t necessarily make you eligible for unemployment. Instead, you must show that you:
- Quit your job because you were moving with your spouse (certain limitations may apply)
- Are a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking
- Had a legitimate medical reason (including caring for an ill child), but are now able to work
- Had to work in unsafe conditions or weren’t getting paid
- Were the victim of employer discrimination (an employer discriminated against you, suddenly changed the terms of your employment, or forced you to quit)
- Were a victim of constructive discharge (“quit, or get fired”) or a hostile work environment
This can be a tough standard to prove. When in doubt, consult with a lawyer before alleging you had good cause to quit. You might have other legal arguments that are just as, or more, compelling.
What You Will Need to Prove
Upon applying for unemployment compensation, you may be required to provide proof that your employer was aware of your child care situation. You’ll have to report that your employer wasn’t able to adjust the work schedule due to your situation. In some cases, this may vary. Sometimes an employee needs time off to care for a family member with a serious illness. Employers may allow for temporary time off or family leave allowing an employee to care for their child.
If you experienced a difficult time in leaving your job related to the needs of your child and you suspect discrimination, this may also be good cause for receiving unemployment but proof may need to be provided. Other reasons for leaving employment may be related to domestic disputes. Or there may be medical conditions if your child needs special care during the day. Contact the unemployment agency for details.
At Allmand Law, we care about our clients’ financial health. To learn more, contact our office today.
To Receive Texas Unemployment Benefits, You Must Be Available and Actively Seeking Work
However, establishing “good cause” alone is not enough to qualify for Texas unemployment benefits. You also have to show that you are available, able, and actively seeking work. In other words, if you still haven’t sorted out your child care problem, you might be ineligible for unemployment.
To prove that you are available, able, and actively seeking work, you must show that you are:
- Physically and mentally capable of full-time work
- Are not incarcerated
- Would accept a suitable job offer
- Have access to transportation and child care
Sometimes, you’ll just need to certify that this is true by signing a form. However, if your former employer suspects you wanted to be a stay-at-home parent, you might have to supply additional evidence proving your availability and willingness to work. If you need help collecting your evidence, contact a lawyer for assistance.
Thankfully, Texas offers low-income families some assistance with child care. If you are low-income and are getting job training or returning to the workplace, you might qualify for a subsidy that covers some or all of your child care expenses. For more information about the program and its availability, contact your local Workforce Solutions office. You also might be eligible for other child care assistance programs — call the Texas Information and Referral Network at 2-1-1 for more information.
Learn More About Child Care and Unemployment
If you’re still wondering “Can I get unemployment if I quit because of child care,” contact Allmand Law for a free, personalized consultation. Our team of skilled attorneys and legal professionals will learn about your situation and help you understand your legal options.