The opinion of the court was delivered by: Renee Cohn Jubelirer, Judge Judge Butler dissents.
BEFORE: HONORABLE BONNIE BRIGANCE LEADBETTER, President Judge HONORABLE DAN PELLEGRINI, Judge HONORABLE RENEE COHN JUBELIRER, Judge HONORABLE ROBERT SIMPSON, Judge HONORABLE MARY HANNAH LEAVITT, Judge HONORABLE P. KEVIN BROBSON, Judge HONORABLE JOHNNY J. BUTLER, Judge
The Philadelphia Housing Authority (Employer) petitions for review of an order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) finding James
T. DiGiacomo (Claimant) eligible for unemployment compensation (UC) benefits pursuant to Section 402(b) of the Unemployment Compensation Law*fn1 (Law). The Board granted UC benefits on the basis that a substantial reduction would have occurred to Claimant's pension benefits had he not voluntarily resigned. Because we conclude that the projections about Claimant's future pension benefits were speculative, we reverse.
The UC Service Center (Service Center) issued a determination that Claimant was ineligible for benefits under Section 402(b) because he did not show that he had a necessitous and compelling reason to resign. Claimant timely appealed to the UC Referee (Referee), who reversed the decision of the Service Center and found Claimant eligible for benefits. The Referee found that Claimant, who had the requisite years of service with Employer to receive retirement benefits, would have faced a substantial reduction in those benefits when the collective bargaining agreement expired and "there was no indication that another collective bargaining agreement was imminent." (Referee's Decision/Order at 2.) Employer then appealed to the Board.
The Board issued an order, dated April 12, 2010, in which it affirmed the Referee and adopted the Referee's findings of fact as follows:
1. The claimant was last employed by the Philadelphia Housing Authority as a Utility Equipment Supervisor from June 24, 1977, and his last day of work was October 29, 2009. His final rate of pay was $28.53 an hour.
2. Employees who have thirty years of service, regardless of their age, are entitled to full retirement benefits from the employer.
3. The claimant had over thirty years of service with the above employer and was entitled to full retirement benefits from the employer.
4. The claimant was a member of a union [Union] which had a collective bargaining agreement [(CBA)] with the employer, which expired effective March 31, 2008.
5. The claimant was subsequently covered by a side letter to the [CBA], which indicated if an employee retired prior to November 1, 2009, the employee[']s monthly retirement benefit calculation would be based upon the claimant's average monthly earnings using the rate of pay in effect on November 1, 2008, 2007, and 2006.
6. Once the side letter to the latest [CBA] ended, the calculation of the claimant's monthly retirement benefits would be based upon the claimant's average monthly earnings using the rate of pay in effect on November 1, 2002, 2001 and 2000, which would significantly reduce the claimant's ...