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ANN J. COFFEY v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (09/06/79)

decided: September 6, 1979.

ANN J. COFFEY, 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 Ann J. Coffey, No. B-155930.

COUNSEL

Peter B. Macky, for petitioner.

Michael D. Klein, Assistant Attorney General, with him Edward G. Biester, Jr., Acting Attorney General, for respondent.

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

Author: Disalle

[ 45 Pa. Commw. Page 455]

This is a petition for review of an order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) affirming the referee's denial of benefits to Ann J. Coffey (Claimant). We reverse.

The facts of this highly unusual case are as follows. Claimant became separated from her full-time job with Zurich Lumber Company on December 31, 1976, and was determined eligible for unemployment compensation benefits totaling $64.00 per week. Her partial benefit credit allowed her to earn up to $24.00 per week with no reduction in benefits. In March of 1977, she obtained a part-time job with the Mount Carmel Area School District as a cafeteria employe, earning approximately $25.00 per week. Since her part-time wages exceeded her partial benefit by $1.00, her weekly benefits were reduced by $1.00 to $63.00.

Claimant continued to receive $63.00 per week in benefits until June 6, 1977, when the school term ended. Since she had been assured by the School District that the job awaited her in September, the Bureau of Employment Security terminated all benefits on the grounds that Claimant was no longer available for work within the meaning of Section 401(d) of the Unemployment Compensation Law (Act), Act of December 5, 1936, Second Ex. Sess., P.L. (1937) 2897, as amended, 43 P.S. § 801(d). See Hyduchak v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 35 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 575, 387 A.2d 669 (1978); Chickey v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 16 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 485, 332 A.2d 853 (1975).

[ 45 Pa. Commw. Page 456]

In Hyduchak, we denied benefits to school teachers during the summer months, holding that since they expected to return to work in the fall, they were not available for suitable work without limitation. The obvious distinction between Hyduchak and the case at bar is that the former involved full-time employes receiving no benefits during their employment, while this case involves a part-time employe who actually received benefits while working at her part-time job.

The Board urges upon us a construction which is bewildering, to say the least. It asks us to hold that Claimant was available for work while she was working but unavailable for work once she became unemployed. That this is an unacceptable result is underscored by the Board's admission that when Claimant returns to work in the fall, she will once again be eligible for benefits!

We shall instead adopt the more sensible approach of Unemployment Compensation Board of Review v. Fabric, 24 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 238, 354 A.2d 905 (1976). That case also involved a claimant who accepted part-time employment while continuing to receive unemployment compensation. We held that an individual's voluntary quit within the meaning of Section 402(b)(1) of the Act, 43 P.S. § 802(b)(1), rendered him ineligible for further benefits only ...


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