Appeal from the Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in case of In Re: Claim of Angela C. Shires, No. B-195041.
Gerald W. Laska, for petitioner.
Charles G. Hasson, Assistant Counsel, with him Richard L. Cole, Jr., Chief Counsel, for respondent.
Judges Rogers, MacPhail and Doyle, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Rogers.
[ 71 Pa. Commw. Page 299]
The petitioner in this unemployment compensation case has appealed from an order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review upholding the decision of a referee that the petitioner was ineligible for benefits as a voluntary quit, Section 402 of the Unemployment Compensation Law, 43 P.S. § 802(b). The petitioner had been employed as a nurse's aide for about six months when in February, 1980 she applied for and was given a maternity leave. Her baby was born in August, 1980 but the petitioner did not get in touch with her employer until January, 1981 when she was told that she had been replaced and that no work was available.
At a referee's hearing, the petitioner testified that at the commencement of her maternity leave she believed that the leave was to last eighteen months and that her intended return to work was consistent with
[ 71 Pa. Commw. Page 300]
and predicated on that belief. The referee found, however, that the petitioner's maternity leave instead "expire[d] six weeks after the birth of her baby" and that the petitioner's failure at that time to return to work or to notify her employer of her inability to do so constituted abandonment of her position of employment. The evidence on the issue of the understanding of the petitioner and her employer as to the length of the maternity leave consists of a written statement of the employer to the effect that the petitioner agreed to a 180 day leave and the following testimony of the petitioner elicited at the hearing by the referee:
Q: Now, you requested and were granted a maternity leave of absence, is that right?
Q: Now, your baby was ...