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GEORGE E. LOPATA v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (06/04/85)

decided: June 4, 1985.

GEORGE E. LOPATA, APPELLANT,
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BOARD OF REVIEW, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Commonwealth Court, No. 124 C.D. 1983, dated April 27, 1984, affirming the Decision and Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, Appeal No. B-82-6-A-339, dated December 6, 1982; Nix, C.j., and Larsen, Flaherty, McDermott, Hutchinson, Zappala and Papadakos, JJ.

Author: Mcdermott

[ 507 Pa. Page 572]

OPINION

George E. Lopata (claimant) was granted discretionary review of the order of the Commonwealth Court affirming the order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) denying him unemployment compensation benefits. In rendering its order, the Board affirmed the unemployment compensation referee's denial of benefits on the basis that claimant lacked the required number of "credit weeks"*fn1 in his "base year"*fn2 to be eligible for

[ 507 Pa. Page 573]

    benefits. Section 4(a) of the Unemployment Compensation Law (Law), Act of December 5, 1936, Second Ex.Sess., P.L. (1937) 2897, as amended 43 P.S. ยง 801(a).

Claimant initially applied for benefits after being laid off by his employer, Armco Steel. After a hearing, the referee made the following findings of fact:

1. Claimant filed an application for unemployment benefits with an effective date of May 30, 1982, and thereby established, for purposes of determining his financial eligibility, a base year consisting of the four quarters of calendar year 1981.

2. During his base year claimant worked and had earnings of $50 or more in 17 separate weeks.

3. Claimant also worked and had earnings of more than $50 during the week ending January 3, 1981. This week is not included in the above mentioned 17 weeks.

The single issue before the referee was whether the claimant had accumulated the minimum eighteen (18) credit weeks during his 1981 base year necessary to make him eligible for benefits.*fn3 It is undisputed that claimant in point of fact worked and had earnings in excess of fifty dollars during the January 1-3, 1981, portion of the week.

Relying on a pronouncement contained in Unemployment Compensation Bulletin No. 871, Supp. 8A, (U.C. Bulletin No. 871), which had been promulgated by the Bureau of Unemployment

[ 507 Pa. Page 574]

Compensation, the referee concluded that the week ending January 3, 1981, could not count as a credit week toward claimant's 1981 base year. That bulletin provided in pertinent part that when a calendar week overlapped two calendar quarters, a credit week would be assigned to that calendar week in which at least four days fell, regardless of whether a given claimant had in fact worked during that portion of the week. Since four days of the calendar week ending January 3, 1981, fell during the last quarter of 1980, the referee concluded that the week could not be counted as a credit week toward claimant's 1981 base year. Since claimant was then ...


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