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KATHLEEN A. GUINN v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (02/14/78)

decided: February 14, 1978.

KATHLEEN A. GUINN, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BOARD OF REVIEW, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in case of In Re: Claim of Kathleen A. Guinn, No. B-134773.

COUNSEL

Katherine H. Fein, with her Marvin A. Fein, for petitioner.

Susan Shinkman, Assistant Attorney General, with her Daniel R. Schuckers, Assistant Attorney General, and Sydney Reuben, Assistant Attorney General, and Robert P. Kane, Attorney General, for respondent.

Judges Crumlish, Jr. and Blatt, sitting as a panel of two. Opinion by Judge Crumlish, Jr.

Author: Crumlish

[ 33 Pa. Commw. Page 597]

Kathleen A. Guinn (Appellant) appeals the determination of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) that she is not entitled to unemployment compensation because, during the six-month period prior to filing her application, she was not the "sole or major support of his or her family" as is required by Section 402(b)(2) of the Unemployment Compensation Law (Law), Act of December 5, 1936, Second Ex. Sess., P.L. (1937) 2897, as amended, 43 P.S. ยง 802.*fn1

[ 33 Pa. Commw. Page 598]

We affirm. The chronology of events leading to this case are as follows: In August of 1975 Appellant and her husband quit their jobs in Pennsylvania so that her husband could enroll as a full-time student in California. During the period prior to the move, Appellant's husband earned $8,226.54, while she earned $8,007.41. Although unable to find employment, Appellant was denied benefits because she was not the "sole or major support" of her family.

Normally, an employe will not be compensated when he voluntarily quits his job without "cause of a necessitous and compelling nature."*fn2 An exception has been made to this general rule where the major support of the family leaves "to join his or her spouse in a new locality."*fn3 Appellant was not the major support as she concededly earned less than 50 percent of the family's income during the applicable period.

Appellant argues that the term "major support" should be interpreted to mean, in effect, an important or significant portion of the family income rather than a simple majority of the income; that she was the sole support of her family at the time the application for

[ 33 Pa. Commw. Page 599]

    benefits was made; and that, in any event, this section is in violation of Article I, Section 28, of the Pennsylvania Constitution*fn4 as it disproportionately excludes women from receiving compensation. We cannot agree with these contentions and affirm the Board.

We can find no basis for the novel proposition that the term "major support" should be interpreted to mean an important contribution of income in support of the family. The statute requires the applicant to be the "sole or major support of his or her family" which would to us clearly denote that his or her salary must be more than just an important source of support. It must be more than the other spouse's contribution to the total family income. Moreover, as we held ...


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