Can an exempt employee file for unemployment?

UPDATED: Jun 20, 2011

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Can an exempt employee file for unemployment?

My employer furloughs us for 5 days each quarter. Hourly employees take all 5 at once and file for unemployment. Exempt employees take a pay cut for the entire quarter and get 5 days off whenever we can squeeze them in. I’ve asked our employer to give us a full paycheck for each pay period, then not pay us at all for the 5 days we don’t work because we’re hoping, by taking 5 in a row, we can file for unemployment. The employer said exempt employees can never file for unemployment. I can’t verify that. I still think my idea is solid. The pay cuts these last 2 years have really hurt.

Asked on June 20, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Michigan


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Exempt versus non-exempt status as to do with minimum wage and overtime regulations. It has nothing to do with eligibility for unemployment compensation. For more information regarding such eligibility you should go to the MI Unemployment Insurance Agency at this site:,1607,7-118--77962--,00.html

You should be aware that your employer is within its rights not bundle the 5 off days together for at will employees unless this violates its own company policy or violates a union agreement or employment contract, or if some form of discrimination is a factor for its actions.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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