Temporary Jobs - When on Unemployment Compensation Benefits

Authored By: Northwestern Legal Services


A worker who is receiving unemployment benefits must attempt to find other suitable work. Many employers now fill positions at their companies with employees placed through temporary employment agencies for both short term jobs, and to screen employees for possible permanent positions. Accepting a position through a temporary employment agency during the time someone is eligible for unemployment benefits can complicate things if the temporary job does not last.

When a worker obtains a placement through a temporary employment agency, he becomes an employee of that agency, not of the company where he performs the work. If the temporary job ends or he quits the job, he may still be an employee of the temporary agency, and not necessarily unemployed and eligible to resume receiving benefits. Most temporary agencies provide an employee with a copy of their procedures when the employee is first hired, and these describe the procedures the employee must follow to obtain a placement. This often involves calling the agency daily to determine if there is a position available whenever the worker is not at an assigned job.

Failure to call in as required could result in disqualification for unemployment benefits. Similarly, if a worker accepts a temporary job, and then decides he does not like the work, or there are other problems with the position, he may be disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits, even if he only works one day. Also, if a job is offered and the employee turns it down without a good reason, the offer will be reported to the unemployment office and benefits might be terminated.

Finding work through a temporary agency may lead to a permanent placement at a good job. However a worker needs to be sure to read their handbook or contract with that agency and follow all reporting requirements. He must also be very specific in describing the types of work which are acceptable, and any restrictions such as a minimal rate of pay and the distance he is able to travel. He can then accept only those referrals which meet those specifications without jeopardizing unemployment benefits he has been receiving.

We have attempted to insure the accuracy of the information in this pamphlet at the time it was created or revised. However, the law does change, sometimes quickly and unexpectedly. Therefore, you should consult an attorney before taking or refraining from any action based on the information in this pamphlet.

Last Review and Update: Mar 01, 2022
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