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Oregon Unemployment Eligibility

You need to meet the following requirements for collecting unemployment benefits in Oregon.

Non Monetary Eligibility

  • You must be unemployed through no fault of your own
  • You must be able, willing and actively seeking work
  • You must stay in the area of your permanent residence for the major portion of the week unless you are seeking work elsewhere
  • You must be fired or quit for a “just cause” related with work
  • You must fully register for work with electronic job match system (iMatchSkills®)

Monetary Eligibility

Your claim is based on a one-year period known as the base year (first four of the last five calendar quarters completed at the time you file your initial claim). The quarter in which you file your initial application determines your base year.

There are two ways to qualify

  • You must have earned at least $1,000 in wages from employment subject to UI law AND have total base year wages that equal or exceed one and a half times the wages paid in the highest quarter (the quarter in which you were paid the most money) of the base year

– OR –

  • If you have wages and worked at least 500 hours of employment subject to UI law during the base year

Eligibility Questions

What happens if I am fired in Oregon?

As a rule, being fired for cause from your last place of employment disqualifies you from benefits.

In most cases, an employer can terminate an employee for any reason he would like because the employment is at will. Even when there’s an employment contract in place, the terms of the contract dictate how and when an employer can terminate the relationship. The only thing that might hinder an employer from firing you are the federal and state labor laws against employment discrimination based on factors such as race and religion.

While there are a number of reasons your employer can terminate you, only a termination with just cause can ban you from Oregon unemployment benefits. Just cause is a reason that your employer can attribute to you, your behavior or a situation associated with you. Some examples of just cause are issues dealing with timeliness, work production and dishonesty.

Am I eligible to draw unemployment benefits if I get laid off?

Usually, in Oregon you have to lose your job through no fault of your own in order to collect unemployment. When you get laid-off, it is not your fault.

In almost all cases, this means that if you get laid-off, you are eligible to collect unemployment benefits.

Getting laid-off doesn’t mean that you were fired or you did something wrong. It simply means that the company in which you worked doesn’t have enough work and could no longer afford to pay you for the job.

Once you get laid-off from your job, you should immediately apply for unemployment benefits.

Can I collect unemployment if I quit?

Unless you had good cause to quit, Oregon will deny the award of benefits to you if you voluntarily quit your job.

There are several instances in which you can quit your job and still receive unemployment benefits. If a job is causing you emotional or physical harm – for example, if the working conditions are unsafe or you are being sexually harassed–you may quit without surrendering eligibility. In addition, if you are leaving in the first 30 days because the job was unsuitable, you will be eligible. In addition, you may quit while moving to escape domestic abuse and still qualify for benefits.

The unemployment agency will then review the information and determine if you qualify for benefits. If you pass a preliminary review, the agency will contact your former employer about its decision to award benefits and confirm with the employer that you lost your job for the reasons you stated.

What are the other issues that delay, stop, or reduce my benefits?

Benefits are payable only if you are eligible.  Common issues which require investigation and could result in you not receiving benefits include:

  1. Missing an opportunity for work during a week you claim;
  2. Refusing work;
  3. Turning down or not contacting the employer when referred by a WorkSource Oregon office;
  4. Missing a scheduled orientation meeting with a WorkSource Oregon office;
  5. Illness or injury;
  6. Failing to look for work;
  7. School attendance;
  8. Being out of the area unless you are looking for work;
  9. Not being willing or ready to take work;
  10. Receiving retirement pay, vacation pay, or holiday pay;
  11. Skipping a week without restarting your claim; and
  12. Answering a question on your weekly claim in a way that raises an issue.

If there is a problem, you will be contacted either by phone or mail.  You will be explained the problem and how it could affect your claim.  The concerned department will ask you for details about the situation.  Reply quickly if you get a form to complete, a letter asking for information, or a telephone message; your benefits could be delayed until you answer.  If you do not answer at all, you may be denied benefits.

Continue to make your weekly claims either online or on the Weekly Claim Line while we investigate your claim.

The unemployment department will make a decision based on information from you, your employer or other sources.

More Questions?? —-> Read Eligibility Q & A Section

Want to know about how much you will receive?? —–>Calculate your benefits here

Questions & Answers

  1. Laurie says:

    I have been working for my employer for over a year now and just recently been told if I didn’t commute to whatever facility in the region that hours were available that I would have to use vacation time. I have requested to go to part time and not have to drive all over the place. When I was hired I told them I was leaving my current job because I didn’t want to commute 79 miles a day anymore and they stated they could accomodate me by having me float to buildings within 16 miles from my original building which is already 29 miles from my home which I agreed to. Now they have stated there is no part time work available and I WILL be required to go wherever the hours are when needed which is not what we originally verbally agreed upon in my interview and why I took the job. My manager has always told me its my choice if I want to go further to other buildings or not but now they are demanding that I go or they will take disciplinary actions against me and quoting policy and procedure. I BELIEVED at time of hire this was a verbal contract that I wouldn’t have to go further then the stated buildings UNLESS I agreed upon it and both times I agreed to go further I expressed afterwards to my manager that it was just too much commuting and I didn’t want to go back there again. I have now been caused so much stress I had to go to my doctor and request sleeping and anxiety pills due to the stress of the whole situation. I have written letters asking to go to part time, explaining why I want to go to part time, and stating how I believed that this wasn’t going to be an issue upon hire. They have NEVER made me used my vacation time prior to this to make up for hours either or when I declined to go someplace that was too far away. IF I quit would I still be eligible for Oregon UI while I was looking for another job. I have several applications in already and may just possibly take an on call position but I will not have medical insurance then. I don’t know what the next step to take is. Please help

    • Adrian says:

      Well, any voluntary reasons for being unemployed does not qualify.

      However, looks like you have a genuine situation.Can’t really say if you will qualify at time. No harm in applying though.

  2. Patrick Ridenour says:

    If I have applied for 2 different positions. Job #1 is a better fit for me personally than Job #2 and Job #1 is the one I want more but Job #2 is offered to me first. If I don’t accept Job #2 right away because I think I will get an offer from Job #1. Would that disqualify me from benefits if for some reason I don’t receive an offer from Job #1 and then Job #2’s offer is rescinded because I waited too long to accept it?

    • Adrian says:

      Yes, there are chances if they are aware of the job offers in hand.

      • Patrick Ridenour says:

        So what you are saying is because of the rules from unemployment about losing eligibility for failing to accept work, that in this situation I would be forced to accept Job #2 even though Job #1 is a better fit for me. If I were to accept Job #2 and then Job #1 was offered to me, that would put me in a very uncomfortable position. As I would have to decide whether to do what is right for my career or worry about my reputation if I burn the bridge of the second employer by abandoning/reneging on my obligation in favor of the job that is right for me. I should be accepting work that is right for me and not forced to take the first offer that comes along. That policy doesn’t sit right with me.

  3. Amber says:

    My employer is eliminating the position I was hired for two years ago but offered me a position in which I would have to work swing and graveyard. I am in graduate school and have a minor child at home (single parent). Can I file for unemployment due to the fact the position/hours I was fired for is being eliminated?

    • Adrian says:

      Depends. Voluntary resignation usually does not qualify for UI benefits. But then, you have a genuine reason.

      If you decide to leave, please consider applying for UI benefits until you find a new job.

  4. Jamie says:

    During maternity leave can I receive unemployment?

    • Adrian says:

      UI benefits are extended to those who are available to work. Pregnancy is usually not considered as a qualifier.

  5. Robbie says:

    I am a part-time instructor for a community college. I am scheduled to teach two classes (the same two classes I regularly teach each term) this Spring. However it looks like those classes will be cancelled due to low enrollment. Will I be eligible for unemployment if those classes get cancelled?


  6. Goldie says:

    I work as a assistant cook for a public school am I eligible for unemployment during the summer?

  7. kyle says:

    what if I worked 2 months in another state this year? I work in Alaska for about 6-8 weeks each spring.
    Thank you

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