Can you get laid off while on sick leave? You can’t get unemployment because you wern’t released to go to work yet.

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Can you get laid off while on sick leave? You can’t get unemployment because you wern’t released to go to work yet.

Asked on May 11, 2009 under Employment Labor Law, Texas


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 13 years ago | Contributor

I don't think it is true that you cannot collect unemployment -- it is just you cannot double dip if you get disability.  You can get laid off depending on if you took off for more than 3 months generally (FMLA). 

Try the Texas Workforce Commission to determine specific employment laws in Texas.  What I could find is you probably qualify because you were laid off.  Read below.


How Do I Qualify?

The law sets qualifying requirements in three main areas: your past wages, your job separation, and ongoing availability and work search. You must meet all of the requirements to receive benefits.

1. Your past wages

To establish a payable claim, you must have received enough wages to meet the requirements. We use the wages paid to you during a recent 12-month period, called the base period, to calculate your benefit amounts. The base period is the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters before you filed your claim. (Calendar quarters are three-month periods beginning with January, April, July, or October.) This means that when we calculate benefits we can't use earnings in the calendar quarter in which you filed your claim, or the quarter just before that. We base your weekly benefit amount on the highest quarter earnings in your base period. We divide that high quarter's total earnings by 25 to get your weekly benefit amount. We may have to change this amount to be inside the allowed range of benefit amounts in Texas. Your maximum, or total, benefit amount is the smaller of 26 times the weekly amount, or 27% of all your wages in the base period. Your weekly benefit amount will be between $58 and $392 depending upon the wages you earned.

To have a payable claim, the law requires that:

  1. You have wages in at least two of the four base period calendar quarters being used, and
  2. Your total base period wages are at least 37 times your weekly benefit amount, and
  3. If you qualified for benefits on a prior claim, you must have earned 6 times your new weekly benefit amount since that time.

If you were out of work for a prolonged time during the base period because of a medically verifiable illness, injury, disability, or pregnancy, tell TWC because you may be able to use an alternate base period. If you meet the requirements, the alternate base period could use wages you received before your illness or injury. If you qualify under both base periods, you decide which base period to use.

2. Your separation from your last work

You must be unemployed or partially unemployed through no fault of your own to receive benefits. You should be prepared to present evidence that you tried to correct the problem before you quit.

Examples of qualifying reasons are:

  • You were laid off due to lack of work.
  • You are still working but the employer reduced your hours. (Your reduction in hours must not be the result of a disciplinary action.)
  • You were fired without work-related misconduct. Examples of misconduct are a violation of company policy; violation of law; neglect or mismanagement of your position; or failure to perform your work acceptably if you are capable of doing so.
  • You quit your job for a good well-documented work-related or medical reason. TWC may rule good cause if the work situation would cause a person who truly wants to keep the job to leave it.
    • Examples of possible good cause are unsafe working conditions or a significant change in hiring agreement, or not receiving payment for your work.
    • Examples of medical reasons are quitting on your doctor's advice, or quitting to care for a minor child, or quitting to care for a terminally ill spouse if there is no alternative care provider.
  • You quit to protect yourself from family violence or stalking, evidenced by an active or recently issued protective order, a police record documenting family violence or stalking directed against you, or medical documentation of family violence against you.

In addition:

  • If you quit to move with your husband or wife, you may be able to receive benefits after a disqualification of 6 to 25 weeks. This is a disqualification of both time and money, because we must subtract the number of disqualified weeks from your total benefits.
  • If you quit to move with your military spouse, Texas lets you receive benefits without penalty if your spouse has a permanent change of station longer than 120 days, or a tour of duty longer than one year.

3. Ongoing availability and work search requirements

During each week you claim benefits, you must:

  • Make an active search for full-time work, unless TWC exempts you from this requirement
  • Be physically able to work
  • Be available for full-time work
  • Apply for and accept suitable work
  • Be registered for work search online at, (click on, or with the nearest workforce center
  • Call TWC, or call or report to a workforce center, as instructed

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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