Appeal from the Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in the case of Anthony T. Rebo, No. B-233610.
Vicki Kuftic Horne, for petitioner.
Daniel T. Booth, Legal Intern, with him, Charles G. Hasson, Acting Deputy Chief Counsel, for respondent.
Judges MacPhail, Doyle and Barry, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Doyle.
[ 92 Pa. Commw. Page 502]
This is an appeal by Anthony T. Rebo (Claimant) from an order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) affirming a referee's decision
[ 92 Pa. Commw. Page 503]
that Claimant was financially ineligible to receive benefits.
The referee found that Claimant had last been employed by Allegheny County Community College as a teacher at an hourly rate of eighteen dollars. Claimant filed an application for benefits with an effective date of April 22, 1984 thereby establishing as his base year the first, second, third and fourth quarters of 1983. Claimant's total base year earnings were $5,185.00 and his highest quarterly earnings were $3,825.00 which were reported during the fourth quarter of 1983. Figured into the $3,825.00 total was $1,125.00 which Claimant received in November 1983 as severance pay from a former employer. Proper computation of this severance pay is the subject of the present dispute.
Under Section 404(a) of the Unemployment Compensation Law,*fn1 (Law), 43 P.S. § 804(a), a claimant's qualifying wage is determined by his highest quarterly wage during the relevant base year. Highest quarterly wage is defined under Section 404(b), 43 P.S. § 804(b), as "the total wages (computed to the nearest dollar) which were paid to such employe in that calendar quarter in which such total wages were highest during the base year." Section 404(e) of the Law, 43 P.S. § 804(e), in its provisions for computing benefits provides that an employee whose highest quarterly earnings are $3,825.00 can qualify for a weekly benefit rate of $155.00 provided he has total base year earnings of at least $6,120.00. Under the step-down provisions of Section 404(a)(3) of the Law, 43 P.S. § 804(a)(3), Claimant would need total base year earnings of $6,000.00 to qualify for benefits.*fn2 Because Claimant's
[ 92 Pa. Commw. Page 504]
base year earnings were below this figure, he was deemed ineligible to receive benefits.
On appeal Claimant contends that although he actually received his severance pay from a former employer in a lump sum payment of $1,125.00 during the fourth quarter of 1983, he was entitled to the payment as of December 17, 1982 under a plant closing agreement. Claimant thus maintains that the relevant date for determining when he was paid pursuant to Section 404(b) is the date upon which the severance payment was assignable to him, not the date on which he actually received the money. Claimant further alleges error in the Board's failure to prorate the severance payment "to the weeks immediately following the date that payment was definitely assignable to a payroll period." Claimant's brief, p. 19. Under ...