Appeal from the Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in the Case of In Re: Claim of William J. Deemer, No. B-177303.
Sandra L. Smales, with her Louis Lessem, for petitioner.
Stephen B. Lipson, Assistant Attorney General, with him Richard Wagner, Chief Counsel, and Harvey Bartle, III, Acting Attorney General, for respondent.
Judges Wilkinson, Jr., Blatt and Williams, Jr., sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Blatt.
The petitioner*fn1 seeks review of a determination of the Board*fn2 finding him to be ineligible for trade readjustment
assistance (TRA) under the Trade Act of 1974 (Trade Act), 19 U.S.C. § 2101 et seq.
The petitioner was employed for 19 years by Jones & Laughlin Steel Corporation until a back problem caused him to take sick leave from May 11, 1978 until May 31, 1979. When he was able to return to work, he found that his position as a clerk had been eliminated and he thereafter applied for TRA benefits.
Under the Trade Act, benefits are available for workers whose employment in certain industries*fn3 has been adversely affected by imported goods and foreign competition, 19 U.S.C. § 2102(4), and, to be eligible for benefits, an employee who has been separated from his employment in one of the affected industries must have "had, in the 52 weeks immediately preceding such total or partial separation, at least 26 weeks of employment at wages of $30 or more a week in adversely affected employment with a single firm or subdivision of a firm. . . ." 19 U.S.C. § 2291(2); see also 29 C.F.R. § 91.7(c). The petitioner's application for TRA benefits was denied by the Office of Employment Security and, after a hearing, a referee upheld the denial, finding that the petitioner had no weeks during the 52 weeks preceding his May 31, 1979 separation in which he was employed in an adversely affected industry. The Board affirmed the referee's decision and this appeal followed.
The petitioner argues (1) that the period of his sick leave should have been considered to be "weeks of employment" for purposes of determining his eligibility for TRA benefits and (2) in the event that his sick leave did not constitute "employment" for purposes of the Trade Act, that his date of separation from
employment, which marks the point from which the 52-week period is determined, should be deemed to have been August 18, ...