New York Unemployment If You Quit

You can not receive New York unemployment benefits if you quit your job.




In order to be eligible for unemployment benefits in New York, you have to have lost your job through no fault of your own. This means that if you quit your job, you can't get unemployment.

Be sure that you can not quit your job because you didn't like it, or it was too hard, or because it didn't pay enough, or because the hours didn't work for your schedule - and still expect to collect unemployment.

If you are in a hostile work environment, or otherwise feel like you have to quit for a very good reason (such a threat to your health or safety), please take the following advice:

(See this forum thread for the whole story: )

The laws and requirements for unemployment eligibility vary from state to state, but most states do not allow you to collect unemployment benefits if you voluntarily quit your job. If a state does allow you to collect unemployment when you've quit your job - the requirement to do so will be VERY difficult to meet.

In most states, if you are fired for cause you may still be eligible to receive benefits - and the requirements in this case won't be as stringent as if you had quit.

It is my understanding that employers generally do not comment extensively on previous employees, or on the reason that they are not longer at their company, for fear of being sued. Most employers will generally verify employment dates and not comment on the reason you are no longer there, or offer any further details.

If your company fires you though, you can be sure they won't be writing you any recommendation letters.

I know how difficult a hostile work environment can be. I've been there. Still, I would suggest that you do not quit your job. If it is a large corporation, you should talk to someone in the Human Resources department about your situation and the hostile work environment. If you get fired and you have a wrongful termination case, it will be more difficult to appeal your case to the employment commission or more difficult to bring a wrongful termination lawsuit - as you will have willfully quit.

Millions of people are out of a job - so it looks like you'll be diving head first into a very difficult job market, no matter if your fired or quit.

Make them fire you.

Go on about performing your job duties, and do not do anything to provoke them to fire you. If they're going to fire you, they'll do it. If they continue the hostile work environment tactics, or increase them - you should contact the employment commission to see if you have any recourse or protections - as there are federal laws against hostile work environments.


Don't sign anything!

Don't sign any releases, forms, waivers, or anything.

If they present you with paperwork that has to be signed in order to receive a severance or your last check -- Don't sign it!

Take it to a lawyer, law school, smart aunt or uncle, or research and ask about the terms in the document online.

If you do end up signing it - remember that it is a legal document, so understand and agree to everything in it before you sign it. Also, remember that the terms are negotiable, because it is essentially a contract. If they want you to agree to their terms, you have the right to either:

a. Not sign it.
b. Negotiate the terms of the agreement.
c. Sign it.

Examples of ways you can negotiate this legal document, which is often referred to as a 'Separation Agreement':

a. Demand that the agreement state that you are being laid-off, not fired.
b. Demand that the company will not challenge your claim to collect unemployment benefits.

Still Have Questions?

To go back to the New York Unemployment FAQ Page, click here: New York Unemployment FAQ

To go the main New York Unemployment page, click here: New York Unemployment

Maybe We Can Help: 

If you can't find the answer to your question, you can fill out the comment form below and I will answer your question ASAP, or you can ask the The Unemployment Expert.


# jackie 2011-04-15 13:01
i just quit my job last week because my employer yells at her empoyees alot...she has yelled at me a few times.i also quit because there is somekind of toxic,in the floor graits, i think it might be car engine oil, and antifreeze, and other kind of chemicals, it sems to make everyone sick people have complained about the situation to her but she just does not want to hear it, and when it rains the warehouse floods so when you are working you have to walk in this toxic that came up with the water,i have called in sick a few times because i feel that what is in the warehouse was making me sick.....even my old warehouse manager has told the owner of the company about the toxic chemicals in there and had told her she needs to do something about it because it was making everyone sick.....but the owner of the company did not want to hear nothing about will i beable to collect unemployment because of my siuation????
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# Jillian 2012-08-30 08:24
Please contact the better business bureau, if not for you at least for your coworkers.
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# Dan 2011-05-16 15:38
Hi, My school district offered me resignation rather than failure to grant me tenure which in essence would be a termination. They informed me that because I would wind up unemployed if I did not resign, such voluntary resignation is still eligible for NYS Unemployment Benefits. True??
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# brian 2011-05-25 17:28
I have a job in new york, but I had to leave my wife and three kids in North Carolina. I have been here for about 6 months. I want to go home but I dont dave a job there. would I be able to collect unemployment if I go?
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# Chris 2011-09-30 06:59
Any response to this one? Im in a similiar situation...just need to get back to NY
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# Ruth 2011-08-19 15:28
I have working as a full time in my company almost 5 years. I have got injured of my right ankle since April. (3 ligaments tear) and I took some days off for doctor visited and rest at home.(those day off were deducted of my vacation day). Now they want change my working schedule to part time because of my current ability. (work 2 days a week).In this case, I have some other old workers that told me, once the company changed them to part time title, then they will find an excuse to fire them to avoid pay them unemployment. I don't know how can I survive if I only work 2 days a week. I still having a cast on my ankle now. Also, they were forced me to sign a letter that I would not sue them after I left. Am I eligible to get unemployment if i quit in my case? Please advise.
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# Genn 2011-10-25 15:18
I work for an after school program. For the past two years they have been paying me late and most of the times with personal checks. A lot of illegal things are going on there. I heard from someone that if your employer doesn't pay you, or pays you late all the time, if you quit your job for this reason you can get unemployment. Is that true?
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# Nicole 2011-11-12 09:28
The environment I work in has become very hostile and I had no choice but to resign. I gave notice and my last day is near the end of November. The hostile environment caused me to be hospitalized in a psychiatric ward for almost a week, do I qualify for unemployment since I willfully resigned? I was afraid of ending up in the hospital again.
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# James 2011-12-11 22:40
I have not quit my job yet but my employer who was supposed to lay me off by now has instead decided to work me a coupple of hours a day cleaning up the shop instead of my normal work duties, on top of this they no longer want to pick me up for work and instead he bought me a bicycle to ride a 14 mile round trip for a few hours of work. Snow is on the way and the shortest distance i take is country roads and often not plowed. My job is very physical and even after a few hours work the 7 mile ride home on a bike is wearing me down. My spouse and I have a 2 month old colicy baby who screams constantly at night. Its really wearing me down and I dont think I can make it. I went from making about 1300 a month gross to roughly 800 a month gross and hours are continuing to drop. Im not sure if my boss is doing this because he doesnt want me to claim unemployment, from what i understand am not eligable if i work 4 days a week and hours do not matter. the hours im getting are not paying the bills, the stess on my body is getting to be to much and I believe my boss is trying to get me to quit instead of laying me off or firing me. I am at a loss of what to do, if I quit I know I will be uneligable for unemployment, if I continue on like this i will be evicted and homeless, at this rate finding a new job seems to be my only option but if I dont go into work to look for another job or atend a interview he can fire me for voluntarly noit coming into work wich will also make me uneligable to collect unemployment right?
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# Amy 2012-01-17 14:27
I am about to begin the final semester of classes to receive my Masters degree. My courses this semester begin at the same time that my job ends. I would need to leave a 1/2 hour early 2 days a week for the semester. If my boss does not allow me to do this I will have to quit my job in order to complete my course work. If I have to quit for this reason will I be able to collect unemployment?
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# kay 2012-07-17 11:51
My company recently filed bankruptcy and my work hours have been terrible.Half the employees have been furloughed but me as I'm high up seniority wise. I barely make any money and on top of that I have not been feeling too well and I'm looking at quitting the job for medical reasons. With supporting documentation from my doctor regarding my health, would I be considered eligible for unemployment?
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# Rebecca 2012-08-14 14:03
I have not quit my job and do not wish to. I am also still exploring my options regarding care for my daughter. I just had my little girl back in May and my plans for child care for this fall have fallen through. My husband is in college full time during the day as of this September and I work at the same time. I cannot afford the day care in our area and I can't afford to not work. My friends and family either live way out of the way or work close to the same schedule we do. My position at work does not offer a schedule that would coincide with my husbands. I would only be out of work until he graduates this December and will both will get jobs where we can either afford day care or be home with her. I really don't want to have to do this but I seem to be out of options. Is there any way I can quit my job and temporarily collect unemployment until I return back to work?
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# Judy 2012-10-12 08:09
I work for a company. There was an employee who quit suddenly last year. She did not give notice, just left her keys and a note that she had another job. Recently, she filed for unemployment listing this company as previous employer. We received a notice to which we responded that she had quit voluntarily and just received another notice that she is qualified for unemployment despite our response. How is this possible? This is in NY State.
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# pat 2012-10-15 16:14
Can I collect nys unemployment if I voluntary terminate my job
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# CYNTHIA 2012-10-31 12:59
My husband is being relocated to Georgia area and I have stayed in NY for about 4 weeks trying to find work there before moving but nothing yet but i cannot stay away from my husband too much longer without strife - if i resign from my current position that i have been at for 6 years would i be able to collect unemployment for a while so i canbe physically in the area looking for work?
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# Judy 2012-12-10 10:17
can you collect unemployment if you are on FMLA? I need to quit my full time job to move closer to my aging parents. I have only been able to find part time work. Can I collect unemployment for the difference between that and the full time job I am leaving until I find full time work near them?
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# cindy 2013-02-02 20:18
I work in a medical office of 5 people. We use Industrial Strength Lysol after each patient, approx 25 times a day. I have had numerous discussions with my boss on the effects of this product is having on me. We don't have ventilation, and a backdraft that takes the fumes out is approx 3 feet from me. Therefore, it all goes right by my office. I have constant headaches, burning eyes and throat, rapid heart beat and shake all of the time. We now spray into a 4 x 4, thinking this may help, but it hasn't and the effects are getting worse and I'm scared of the long term effects t may have on my health. I have tried to find other employment, but in my field it's difficult. If I quit, will I be able to collect unemployment in NYS ?
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# Jen 2013-02-24 15:20
I am a 29 yr old female been working for a privately owned large corporation for the past 6.5 years. Over the years I have been a frequent victim of harassment by multiple male senior managers within the firm. I have not spoken to HR - I would rather quit and leave the legacy of my work intact. I have been fighting depression for the past year and hope to further treat my condition prior to returning to the workforce. Will I be eligible for unemployment?
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# antwanette 2013-03-05 13:00
I currently work at a call center and they are planning on ramping down within the next couple months. I do have a job that i am supposed to be starting on the 11th of march 2013, but the training is a whole month without pay. I would like to know if i can recieve unemployment in this case? or would i still only be eligible if i get fired or layed off? thanks
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# Monica 2013-06-25 08:36
The company I work for hired me in July 2012, in September 2012 they informed us that we would all be getting laid off before the Summer 2013. We were offered a retention bonus if we stayed through March 31, 2013, which I have. In April 2013 we were informed that we had a tentative lay off date of June 30, 2013 and that was the last we heard of anything. In the meantime I have had to plan for what I am going to do, so I signed up for school in the fall and expected to be at home with my two kids this summer. I was informed yesterday, June 24, 2013, that I could expect to be here through October 2013.
I now feel like just quitting and getting my retention bonus. I think that for a company to let you know 5 days before the tentative date as to what the plan was for the lay off is highly inconsiderate. I'm basically putting my life on hold so that I can be laid off whenever the feel like it.
My question is, if I quit, and I apply for unemployment and get denied. If I appeal the decision and tell them the reason would the consider it?
I live in NEw York State
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# Lenscya 2013-08-28 08:12
My manager over works me and all the work she is suppose to do she has me do it for her and has me stay after my hours. She tells me as long as she gives me an assignment it needs to be done when she says it needs to be done. Even though its not my duty.
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# Tianai 2017-06-24 19:55
I had to leave my job, due to do me being 7 months pregnant and not having a child care provider for my 2 year old. Can I still collect unemployment?
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# Carol fifield 2017-08-29 01:09
Can i get unemployment if i leave my job to take care of my elderly parent
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# LUCY 2017-10-18 13:09
am a nursing student and combining work with school and taking care of my son is very hard for me. will i be able to claim unemployment benefits if i quit my job because of this problem and go back to work when school closes?
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# Aimee Maucotel 2017-10-31 21:01
I have been working for a company for 13 years it's a small CPA firm today my boss got very angry at me for a mistake that I made that was very small but because in the recent past I've made other mistakes he snapped. You started yelling and said that this is my warning that I will be fired if I make any further the steaks. Being that I've been working there for so long why can't I quit and collect unemployment? Obviously I'm not wanted there anymore what am I rights?
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