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PIESTRAK UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION CASE. SUSQUEHANNA COLLIERIES DIVISION v. UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BOARD REVIEW. (07/10/61)

July 10, 1961

PIESTRAK UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION CASE. SUSQUEHANNA COLLIERIES DIVISION, APPELLANT,
v.
UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BOARD OF REVIEW.



Appeals, Nos. 99, 100 and 101, Jan. T., 1961, from decisions of Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, Nos. B-50175, B-50240, and B-50239, in case of Susquehanna Collieries Division, The M.A. Hanna Company v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review. Decisions affirmed.

COUNSEL

S. Keene Mitchell, Jr., with him Bedford, Waller, Griffith, Darling & Mitchell, for employer, appellant.

Alan Miles Ruben, Deputy Attorney General, with him Sydney Reuben, Assistant Attorney General, and Anne X. Alpern, Attorney General, for Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, appellee.

John A. Gallagher, with him Herman E. Cardoni, for claimants, intervening appellees.

Sidney G. Handler, and Edgar R. Casper, for amici curiae.

Before Jones, C.j., Bell, Cohen, Bok and Eagen, JJ.

Author: Cohen

[ 404 Pa. Page 528]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE COHEN.

Questions involving the relationship between the taking of vacation time, the receipt of vacation pay and the application for unemployment compensation are brought before us in this case. All of the applicants were both employees of the Susquehanna Collieries Division of the M.A. Hanna Company and members of the United Mine Workers of America. Their employment was governed by the terms of a collective bargaining agreement entered into by the union and the anthracite

[ 404 Pa. Page 529]

    operators on December 1, 1956. In March, 1958, that agreement was supplemented to provide that the vacation period of two weeks would commence at the beginning of the morning shift on Saturday, June 28, 1958, and end at the same time on Saturday, July 12, 1958. Under the agreement, as supplemented and continued in effect since 1956, vacation pay was fixed at a maximum of $140 for employees who had worked in each of the 24 semi-monthly pay periods in the year immediately preceding the vacation period and at lesser prorated amounts for employees who had worked in fewer than 24 of such pay periods.

Accordingly, the employer made the required vacation payments on the last payday in June, 1958, and shut down its operations from June 28, 1958 until July 12, 1958. A number of employees filed applications for unemployment benefits with the Bureau of Employment Security for the period of the shutdown. The Bureau allowed benefits (partial in most cases) in accordance with an allocation formula established by Departmental regulation 108 whereby the employee's full-time daily wage was divided into the amount of vacation pay, the resulting quotient being the number of days of the vacation period over which the vacation pay was spread. Any excess was allocated to the next working day. Thus, if an employee received $140 vacation pay and had a full-time daily wage of $28, the entire $140 vacation payment was allocated to the five working days of the first vacation week and unemployment benefits allowed in full for the second week. If he received $140 vacation pay and had a full-time daily wage of $20, the vacation payment extended into two days of the second week of vacation, giving the employe $40 for that week. If he was otherwise eligible for the then full unemployment benefit rate of $35, he would be awarded $1 in unemployment compensation since partial benefits were calculated by subtracting the

[ 404 Pa. Page 530]

    amount received ( $40) less $6 from the full benefit rate ( $35).*fn1

The three present appeals proceeded as test cases for the several claims, the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review affirming the Bureau's action. After hearing argument and reargument, the Superior Court certified the cases to this court, noting that while four of the judges of that court were in favor of reversing the administrative determination, those four could not agree upon the proper method of allocation.

The three cases actually before us, for purposes of comparison, are as follows:

(1) Roman Piestrak received $140 vacation pay and had a full-time daily wage of $24.28. He was ruled ineligible for benefits for the week ended July 4, 1958, but was awarded $23 partial benefit for the week ended July 11, 1958 (i.e., $35 - $12.70 [$18.70 - $6] = $22.30 rounded off to $23).

(2) Charles R. Whary received $93 vacation pay and had a full-time daily wage of $17.10. He, too, was ruled ineligible for the first week but was awarded $34 partial benefit for the second week (i.e., $35 - $1.52 [$7.52 - $6] = $33.48 rounded off to $34).

(3) Marlin J. Marose received $116 vacation pay and had a full-time daily wage of $17. He, too, was ruled ineligible for the week ending July 7, 1958, but was ...


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