If I haven’t been paid in 10 weeks so I quit, can I collect unemployment?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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If I haven’t been paid in 10 weeks so I quit, can I collect unemployment?

My wife works for small non-profit organization. She’s been unable to cash her last 5 paychecks 10 weeks of pay due to insufficient funds. She seems to feel that, even though she’s not been paid for so long, if she quits she cannot collect unemployment. Is she correct?

Asked on January 17, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Florida


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Typically, if an employee quits their job, they are ineligible to collect unemployment compensation. That having been said, if a worker has not been paid in 10 weeks, then that effectively constitutes "constructive termination". In other words, it is as though they were fired. Under the circumstances, they may well be able to recieve unemployment benefits. At this point, they should contact their state's department of labor. They can check on their employment status, as well as file a wage claim for their unpaid time.

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