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WOLFE UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION CASE. SELEY v. UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BOARD REVIEW. (01/21/58)

January 21, 1958

WOLFE UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION CASE. SELEY, APPELLANT,
v.
UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BOARD OF REVIEW.



Appeal, No. 75, April T., 1957, from decision of Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, December 26, 1956, Decision No. B-43378, in re claim of Elmer Burton Wolfe. Decision reversed.

COUNSEL

Kenneth W. Rice, for appellant.

Sydney Reuben, Assistant Attorney General, with him Thomas D. McBride, Attorney General, for appellee.

Before Rhodes, P.j., Hirt, Gunther, Wright, Woodside, Ervin, and Watkins, JJ.

Author: Watkins

[ 185 Pa. Super. Page 414]

OPINION BY WATKINS, J.

This unemployment compensation appeal is from a decision of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review holding that the appellee claimant was not engaged in agricultural labor but was in covered employment under the provisions of the Unemployment Compensation Law.

The Bureau of Employment Security had ruled that the appellee was ineligible for benefits. On appeal, the referee affirmed the decision of the bureau. The board, on appeal, remanded the case to the referee for further hearing, following which, the board made its own findings of fact and reversed the referee, holding that the appellee was entitled to compensation.

The appellee claimant was employed by Seley Farms. The farm consisted of approximately 1000 acres. Part of the farm was cultivated, but income wise, was principally used as a game and hunting preserve. Pheasants were raised on the farm for hunting purposes. Approximately 6300 birds were raised in 1955 and in addition some 3800 birds were purchased elsewhere to supply the demand. Hunters were permitted to hunt pheasants for a fee of $20 per day. The approximate income from the sale of farm products was between Fifteen Hundred ($1500) to Two Thousand ($2000) Dollars. The income from the pheasant hunting enterprise was approximately Twenty Thousand ($20,000) Dollars. The owner had a state license for the preserve.

The appellee was paid One Hundred Fifty ( $150) Dollars per month and was furnished with living accommodations, light and heat. His duties consisted in feeding and watering the pheasants, taking care of the eggs and hatching, feeding and caring for the dogs, releasing and spotting the birds as needed for hunting.

[ 185 Pa. Super. Page 415]

The question involved is a simple one, the answer difficult, because of confusion created in the interpretation of the definition of farm or agricultural labor under the various federal and state social security acts. Was this appellee engaged in agricultural labor and thus excluded from coverage under the provisions of the Unemployment Compensation Law? Section 4 (L) (4) (1) of the Unemployment Compensation Law of 1936, P.L. 2897, art. 1, Section 4, as amended, 43 PS ยง 753, excludes from the definition of employment, "agricultural labor" which includes all services performed "(a) on a farm in the employ of any person in connection with ... raising or harvesting any agricultural or horticultural commodity, including the raising, shearing, feeding, caring for, training and management of livestock, bees, poultry and fur-bearing animals and wild life".

There are no decisions which rule the instant case. The cases in the federal and state courts, where the question of agricultural labor has been decided, seem to depend upon the facts of each particular case, and, of course, the wording of the statute being ...


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