03. Benefit Computation Factors

UIA v. Tear – 3.09

UIA v. Tear
Digest No. 3.09

Section 421.46

Cite as: Unemployment Insurance Agency v Tear, unpublished opinion of the State of Michigan Court of Appeals, issued December 10, 2015 (Docket No. 13-001038-AE).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Rachel Tear
Employer: N/A
Date of decision: December 10, 2015

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HOLDING: Claimant is ineligible for unemployment benefits under MCL 421.46. The Circuit Court’s decision affirming that Claimant is eligible for unemployment benefits is reversed. The case is remanded for the entry of the order upholding the Agency’s denial of Claimant’s claim for benefits.

FACTS: Claimant was discharged from her job and subsequently filed a claim for unemployment benefits. The Unemployment Insurance Agency (“Agency”) denied her claim and found that she could not establish a benefit year under MCL 421.46. At the administrative law hearing, the ALJ reversed the Agency’s finding and found that a benefit year had been established because “Claimant’s high quarter wages were $2,883.00.”

DECISION: The ALJ’s finding that Claimant was paid $2,883.00 in a completed quarter is not supported by substantial and competent evidence. The Circuit Court’s conclusion that Claimant was paid more than $2,871.00 in a completed quarter is clearly erroneous.

RATIONALE: The court referred to the definition of “benefit year” in MCL 421.46(c), the definition of a “base period” in MCL 421.45, and the definition of “calendar quarter” in MCL 421.47 to determine Claimant’s eligibility for unemployment benefits.

Under those provisions, Claimant was required to have been paid at least $2,871.00 in at least one completed calendar quarter in the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters before filing her claim. Claimant would need to meet that requirement to establish a benefit year. In this case, Claimant only made $1,958.30 for the entire calendar year.

Although MCL 421.45 provides an alternative base period if a claimant cannot meet the above requirement, Claimant in this case still did not earn enough to establish a base period under MCL 421.45.

Digest author: Rita Samaan, Michigan Law, Class of 2017
Digest updated: 10/31/2017

03. Benefit Computation Factors 18. Restitution, Waiver, Fraud

Elliott’s Amusements, LLC v. Garrison – 17.23

Elliott’s Amusements, LLC v. Garrison
Digest No. 17.23

Section 421.44

Cite as: Elliott’s Amusements, LLC v Garrison, unpublished opinion of the Ingham County Circuit Court, issued October 1, 2007 (Docket No. 07-251-AE).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Ronald L. Garrison
Employer: Elliott’s Amusements, LLC
Date of decision: October 1, 2007

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HOLDING: Certain per diem payments made by the employer to the claimant were remuneration when not for the “convenience of the employer” and the claimant had the ability to choose how to spend the money.

FACTS: The ALJ decided that per diem amounts the employer paid to the claimant were remuneration under Section 44(1). The Board of Review affirmed and incorporated the ALJ’s decision. As the Board explained, the claimant worked six months per year for the employer, while also living in the employer’s trailer and paying rent and food money. The claimant received a per diem payment from the employer, plus reimbursements for some expenses. Citing Seligman v MESC, 164 Mich App 507 (1988) as controlling, the Board endorsed the ALJ’s view that the per diem payments amounted to wages because the employer did not require the claimant to live at the work site, the lodging was not free, and the claimant’s use of the per diem payments were not controlled by the employer.  The claimant choice to use the employer-provided lodging was based on his own convenience, distinguishing his situation from the mandatory on-site lodging provided for the “convenience of the employer” in Seligman.

DECISION: The court upheld the determination that certain per diem payments made by the employer to the claimant were remuneration.

RATIONALE: Per diem payments for on-site lodging and food are considered remuneration if the employer did not control the claimant’s use of the per diem monies and the claimant could have spent the money in other ways.

Digest author: Austin L. Webbert, Michigan Law, Class of 2017
Digest updated: 10/25/2017

04. Total or Partial Unemployment

Phillips v UCC – 4.04

Phillips v UCC
Digest no. 4.04

Section 48

Cite as: Phillips v UCC, 323 Mich 188 (1948).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Pleasant I. Phillips
Employer: Winters and Crampton Corporation
Docket no.: B7 15029 8250
Date of decision: December 17, 1948

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SUPREME COURT HOLDING: (1) The claimant has the burden of proof as to eligibility. (2) An attorney who practices law 8 to 12 hours per day is not unemployed. (3) Compensation earned, not compensation received, is the test of remuneration.

FACTS: The claimant, an attorney, began practicing law in 1900.He performed factory work ” … from August 12, 1944, until October 6, 1947, when he was laid off due to lack of work. He continued in the practice of law, maintaining a law office in which he spent from 8 to 12 hours per day.” The receipts from the law office were $31.00 in the 7 weeks following the claimant’s layoff.

DECISION: The claimant is not unemployed.

RATIONALE: “We believe that the words ‘unemployed individual’ are used in [Section] 28 in their ordinarily accepted sense and that, taken in that light, one who is engaged in rendering service for remuneration or who devotes his time to the practice of a profession by which a living is customarily earned cannot be said to be unemployed.”

“Remuneration earned, not remuneration received, is the test under this section. Efforts expended in those weeks may well have earned fees paid at a subsequent date, a thing not at all unusual in a law practice.”

“The burden was on plaintiff to prove his eligibility under [Section] 48. Dwyer v Unemployment Compensation Commission, 321 Mich 178. From the record it does not appear that he sustained that burden.”

Digest Author: Board of Review (original digest here)
Digest Updated: