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DAVID PARTRIDGE v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (06/12/81)

decided: June 12, 1981.

DAVID PARTRIDGE, 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 David Partridge, No. B-177346.

COUNSEL

A. Martin Herring, with him Michael J. Flanagan, of counsel, Teitelman and Herring, for petitioner.

John T. Kupchinsky, Assistant Attorney General, with him Richard Wagner, Chief Counsel, and Harvey Bartle, III, Acting Attorney General, for respondent.

Judges Rogers, Williams, Jr. and Palladino, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Williams, Jr.

Author: Williams

[ 60 Pa. Commw. Page 48]

Claimant, David Partridge, appeals from an order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) denying him benefits. The Board affirmed a decision that, for the claim weeks in question, the claimant was not "unemployed" within the definition of Section 4(u) of the Unemployment Compensation Law (Act),*fn1 and was, therefore, ineligible for benefits.

Claimant, Partridge, was last employed as a teacher by the Schuylkill Haven School District at a salary of approximately Thirteen Thousand Dollars per year. Claimant's salary was based on a twelve month work year. In June, 1979, claimant received notice from the school district that following the 1978-1979 school term his services would be terminated and that beginning September, 1979, he would no longer be employed as a teacher with the district. Claimant's termination was due to declining enrollment in the school district.

At the time of claimant's termination, the Schuylkill Haven Education Association had in effect a collective bargaining agreement with the Schuylkill Haven School District which gave teachers employed by the district the option of receiving their paychecks over a nine month period or a twelve month period.

[ 60 Pa. Commw. Page 49]

The contract further provided that if a teacher chose to be paid over a twelve month period, he could elect to receive the monies due him for the summer months in one lump sum. During the year prior to his termination, claimant had opted to be paid over a twelve month period. Upon notification of his termination of employment, claimant accelerated the outstanding monies owed him and received a lump sum salary payment for the summer months on June 22, 1979. Had claimant not requested the lump sum payment, he would have continued to receive his regular bi-weekly wages through August 31, 1979. The claimant's fringe benefits, which included Blue Cross, Blue Shield and dental care insurance were continued through August 31, 1979.

On June 15, 1979, claimant filed an application for unemployment compensation benefits with an effective date of June 10, 1979. On June 29, 1979, the Office of Employment Security (OES) issued a Notice of Determination denying benefits to the claimant, relying on the provisions of Section 4(u) of the Act. After affirmances by a referee and then the Board, claimant's further appeal to this Court followed.

The sole issue facing us is whether the claimant was "unemployed" within the definition of Section 4(u) of the Act so as to be eligible for unemployment benefits during the summer months following the 1978-79 school term. Claimant argues that he qualifies as "unemployed" under the Act because he chose to collect a lump sum salary payment in June, 1979, ...


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