Appeal from the Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in case of In Re: Claim of Raymond Greer, No. B-132731-B.
Barbara J. Hart, with her Louis M. Shucker, Alan Linder, William Botts, III, for petitioner.
Daniel R. Schuckers, Assistant Attorney General, with him Elsa D. Newman, Assistant Attorney General, and Gerald Gornish, Acting Attorney General, for respondent.
Judges Blatt, DiSalle and MacPhail, sitting as a panel of three. Judge MacPhail dissents.
[ 38 Pa. Commw. Page 311]
This is an appeal from a decision of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) denying benefits to Raymond Greer (Petitioner). We reverse.
Petitioner was last employed as a laborer at $150.00 a week. He was laid off on January 3, 1975, and he applied for and received unemployment compensation that same month. Petitioner continued to receive benefits until April 15, 1975, when he was incarcerated in Berks County Prison for violation of a support order. The incarceration order placed Petitioner in the prison work-release program and conditioned his release upon his either obtaining employment or paying the support order arrearages in full. The only restriction placed upon his availability for work was that he could not leave the prison alone to seek employment. He could, however, accept any referrals made by the Bureau of Employment Security and pursue any leads discovered by himself or by others. The
[ 38 Pa. Commw. Page 312]
prison authorities also agreed to transport him to and from all job interviews.
Petitioner remained incarcerated from April 15, 1975, to August 7, 1975. During that time, he made numerous phone calls to prospective employers and had friends make calls on his behalf. In spite of his good faith attempts, however, he was unable to secure a job.
Petitioner sought benefits for compensable weeks from April 13, 1975, through August 2, 1975. The referee determined that he was ineligible under Section 401(d) of the Unemployment Compensation Law*fn1 and denied benefits on the grounds that he "was not free to seek employment and, therefore, not realistically attached to the labor force." In an April 15, 1977 opinion, the Board affirmed the denial, reasoning that "claimant's incarceration preclude[d] the possibility of any realistic attachment to the labor market." We disagree.
[ 38 Pa. Commw. Page 313]
It is well settled that to be eligible for unemployment compensation benefits under Section 401(d), a claimant must be both available for work and attached to the labor market. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review v. Molitoris, 24 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 360, 356 A.2d 863 (1976); Baker v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 18 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 503, 336 A.2d 671 (1975); Otto v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 17 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 516, 333 A.2d 231 (1975); Chickey v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 16 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 485, 332 A.2d 853 (1975). Nor may he place impermissible restrictions on his availability. Claim of Wright, 25 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 522, 360 A.2d 842 (1976); Molitoris, supra; Unemployment Page 313} Compensation Board of Review v. Sanchez, 21 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 353, 346 A.2d ...