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Can I receive unemployment if I have lost all means of transportation?

Updated : July 26th, 2022

No Transportation

Question from Tom

Both of my vehicles were hit and run at my residence about a month and a half ago. I recently got one back repaired, and it got stolen less than a week later. I have exhausted my resources for getting to work already the last 45 days and I have no others viable ways to get to work starting next week. I am at the very least a month from getting my first vehicle back because it was near totaled and an ongoing insurance dispute. Public transportation is also not an option due to the shift I work and it being unavailable where I live.

Will I qualify for unemployment when my employer essentially has no choice to lay me off because I cannot show up because of my situation?

Hi Tom,

I’d take it a step further, I’d talk to the employer and ask if anyone might help you find a co-worker or a supervisor to give you a ride. If that doesn’t work, request a personal leave of absence, do you have any accrued vacation time? It’s an emergency Tom, I’d feel better for you if you try harder.

Because it is a given that if we work, getting to work is our responsibility.

The employer won’t be laying you off, the employer will fire you for attendance issues, so you need to be concerned that you can show how serious your car problems were and that you made an effort.

If you can’t prove you at least made some effort to “preserve the employment”, you will be sunk, both ways.

Read the determination guide for both quitting due to transportation problems and a discharge for attendance problems.

Particularly find out what it says about quitting for transportation problems. If they have a way to quit, then it might follow that if you could have quit, a discharge would not be for good cause.

Quit because I can’t afford the 140 mile drive to work

Posted by Mike

hello, I am currently employed at a job that is 70 miles each way and the price of gas has almost reached 4.00 a gallon. I simply can’t afford to commute to work that far any more. I have been with this company for 8 years and have 5 days left on my two week notice. I am spending more on gas than I am bringing home and have been sinking deeper in debt every month for the last five years. They will be repossessing my car any day now. is this considered “at no fault of my own” and will I be approved for UI?


You tell me Mike.

Time, Distance, Travel as a reason to quit your job.

Please note the language of the first paragraph you’ll see after clicking that link.

Title 22 Section 1256-8(b) provides:

An individual who leaves work due to distance or other problems of transportation to work does so with good cause if a reasonable person genuinely desirous of retaining employment and similarly situated would have been compelled to leave work after having sought without success all reasonable alternatives by which to provide transportation to work. Transportation to work is the personal responsibility of the employee unless special circumstances or local custom reasonably require the employer to furnish transportation.

But don’t stop there, keep reading to see if anything else might apply to your situation.

Comments for Quit because I can’t afford the 140 mile drive to work  
Mar 15, 2017 by: Chris

Forgive me if I’m wrong for saying so, but I get the feeling you’re missing some basic points I don’t seem to be able to ignore.

I also believe many would be cleared up reviewing in part some of the abundance of other relevant to your appeal, info in the California EDD UIBDG.

The answers I give here are not intended to be specific advice, but to get those who can’t afford the fifty dollars to talk to me, email me, have me review docs, help compose more focused documentation when applicable, to think about their case for themselves, to see the path of least resistance (meaning I think one must also evaluate for any weakness in an argument) to prove with specificity why the initial denial of benefits was erroneous and no matter what subsection of the section of law was used in support of the denial.

Free answers are only intended to raise awareness of what would be of concern to me if I was the one who had to use my powers of logic to get a more emotionally motivated individual, focused on the best objective argument I’d use, I I were in the same boat.

But, you raised distance and personal financial hardship and ignorance of what you should of done as an employee (reason for all those employee right posters in break rooms across the nation). And that raised another concern for me to raise.

When a claimant brings up distance at a hearing as good cause to quit a job in CA, or any other state, supplementing the argument with an iffy reliance on ignorance of their own employee rights in the workplace, is opening yourself up to any unemployment precedent in CA, or another state in this country that says not knowing your rights, is rarely good enough cause to collect benefits.

In other words, it’s what we don’t know to protest and protect ourselves as employees, that doesn’t help us play well with unemployment law.

when the burden to prove is ours and we can only tell the truth without evidence to weight the story when it’s called testimony, to shift the burden of fault back to an employer (often just a former boss, who may feel the need to cover their own butt when testifying, because they didn’t follow an employer’s rule, to fire, or force a person to quit instead.)

Generally speaking, distance to work, as good cause to quit is a viable argument in and by itself, when it is possible to make clear the employer was responsible for “substantially altering the terms and conditions of employment, and moves the location of work to make the job now unsuitable, or a job you would not apply for in the first place.

As for the employee who quits to move due to personal financial hardship alone that too is covered by the UIBDG. (I really do like that resource.)

However, back to the problem I see for an appeal and the finding for a denial.

Because you didn’t mention anything resembling proof an adjudicator would need to understand any effort on your part was made to first preserve your job, the question I just don’t know the answer to off the top of my head about California, is whether the state has a precedent decision to allow for good cause when an employee does make the employer aware of their own, or a family members health problem.

I know other states have a precedent that basically requires an employer, once made aware by an employee of a health issue, to inform the employee of their right to request medical LOA under the FMLA and/or explain medical documentation from the physician is needed to be approved to receive up to 12 weeks of job protecting leave under the FMLA during a year.

In California, employees are also lucky in the fact, it is one of six states that offers temporary disability unemployment benefits vs. the regular kind you’re going for. The former type of UI is virtually what makes many medical including those covered by FMLA, a paid leave in CA.

As for where you first made your comment, thanks for that, as I wouldn’t have noticed the CA Q&A page was missing its navigation bar.

Oct 14, 2011 How far is too far in California

by: Annieyaya

My employer is considering moving the office 45 miles from our current location, which is two miles from my home (we’ve been at this location for 13 years). This move would require a daily 2 hour drive each way. I am 65 years old and have been with the company for 22 years. Is this excessive mileage? Would i have good cause to resign? And would i be able to collect unemployment insurance in California?

See #2, this is what the CA UIBDG says.

Please note, they do not specify how far is too far, only that they consider all relevant factors to the reasons the commute isn’t reasonable.

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