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ROBERT A. ROSS v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (07/28/89)

decided: July 28, 1989.

ROBERT A. ROSS, PETITIONER,
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BOARD OF REVIEW, RESPONDENT



Appeal from PETITION FOR REVIEW Court.

COUNSEL

Frank J. Piatek, Neighborhood Legal Services Assoc., New Castle, for petitioner.

Clifford F. Blaze, Deputy Chief Counsel, John E. Herzog, Asst. Counsel, Harrisburg, for respondent.

Craig and Barry, JJ., and Blatt, Senior Judge.

Author: Blatt

[ 127 Pa. Commw. Page 458]

Robert A. Ross (petitioner) petitions for our review of the order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) affirming the referee's decision which denied benefits. We will reverse.

The petitioner was employed by the U.S. Steel Corporation (USX) for eighteen years until he was laid off on February 27, 1982. He was next employed by the American Asbestos Control Company (American Asbestos) intermittently from July of 1985 until he was laid off on March 6, 1987. He applied for unemployment compensation benefits on June 5, 1988. This established his base year, for the purpose of determining financial eligibility for unemployment

[ 127 Pa. Commw. Page 459]

    compensation benefits, as the first, second, third and fourth quarters of 1987.

During his base year, the petitioner was employed by American Asbestos for eleven weeks. He also received eight weeks of severance allowance from USX in one lump sum of $4,335.36 in July of 1987. The Office of Employment Security (OES) decided that he was entitled to only one credit week for the severance pay.*fn1 Therefore, because he had only twelve credit weeks in his base year, he was denied benefits.*fn2

The petitioner appealed this decision to the referee, who also decided that the petitioner had only twelve credit weeks in his base year and that he was, therefore, not financially eligible for benefits. The referee counted the severance pay toward only one credit week because it "was not allocated by the employer for any particular eight-week period." Finding of Fact No. 8, Referee's Decision at 1. Upon appeal to the Board, it adopted the findings and decision of the referee and affirmed. The matter has now been appealed to this Court.

The issue now before us, therefore, is one of first impression. Essentially, both parties disagree as to how severance pay should be allocated within credit weeks. The Board relies on an OES informational pamphlet pertaining to credit weeks, which in turn is in accordance with Unemployment Compensation Bulletin No. 871, Supplement No. 8. The pamphlet was generated as a ...


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