Pennsylvania Unemployment If You Quit

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




In order to be eligible for unemployment benefits in Pennsylvania, 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 Pennsylvania Unemployment FAQ Page, click here: Pennsylvania Unemployment FAQ

To go the main Pennsylvania Unemployment page, click here: Pennsylvania 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.


# jolynnherzog 2011-04-13 00:56
I was offered a job in Pa for more money.So i quite job in NYC. Only when i got to Pa They had to downsized, i had no job. if i were to get letter from the company stating this, can I collect unemployment Please advise asap please
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# angie 2011-04-14 23:30
I got into a fight with my boss because he refuses to follow company policy and puts me in between the irate customers. He told me, "Maybe you should find something else, I dont need you!" I said fine I will and walked out. My boss is now trying to say he didn't fire me and my claim is being denied. I'm sorry, but if someone said that to you, would you not take that as being fired? I get stuck working with no breaks, he makes me lie to our inspectors and customers, makes me cut mold off food and serve it, his friend comes in and tells me how fat I am and I need to do yoga, I am verbally abused by customers that he runs from because they want their free food he has been giving to them for a year and now he doesnt want to give it to them any more so instead of telling them, he tells us not to give it to them and runs (literally) and leaves us to deal with the screaming customer, the list goes on. Do I have a case here, even if they said I did quit. Is this enough grounds to quit? Thanks for any ideas.
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# sauris 2011-07-30 14:08
i had to quit my job i cant pay daycare and they cut my houres to 20 a week when i am a full time employ i have no body to wacth my kids i'm looking for a 3 shift job that way me and my wife can take turn in the mean time can i colllect unemployment yes or no
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# Linda 2011-10-27 13:36
I was laid off in April and have been receiving unemploment. I had gone to a temp. agency for employment and I was understanding that they would quote a starting rate for me. I had work 2 days at the end of the first full day I talked to the HR. person and she quoted a rate way less than I would be making So I did go in the next day because I didn't see my husband to discuss my wages and that day when I came home we dicussed it and I called the temp agency to tell her i was not satisfied with my wages since I would be taking such a large cut. Does this disqualify me for unemployment..
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# sandy 2011-10-30 05:09
I am an acute dialysis nurse. My job has completely restructured. I am on call 17 days out of the month and am required to be on call for a total of 3 hospitals now. My shifts and hours have changed and the distance has increased to 1 hour away. I am considering quitting my job. Is there a possibility that I will be able to collect unemployment. I have worked for this company for 14 years and never thought of quitting before but things have become intolerable.
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# des 2011-11-02 08:39
Have worked 34 years as a RN the last 10 years has been hell trying to keep a job in nursing in between nurse managers who are younger than me and have half the experience hire other younger nurses or hire a nurse that looks cute perky and air head nursing has lost all professionalism and ethical endeavors. I used to be proud to be a nurse(RN) BUT NOW FORGET!!!!!!
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# pam 2011-12-05 17:53
i collect partial unemployment but looking for new part-time job because of health reasons. if my new part time job is paid in cash will i still be able to collect partial unemployment?
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# Arielle 2012-01-30 10:24
I live in pennsylvania and am currently working a full time 12 hour shift job however I need to quit and get a part time job in order to go to college. I'm afraid ill have to quit before I find a different one and therefore won't be able to pay my bills. Would I be eligible for any amount at all?
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# cindy 2012-01-31 18:14
I worked 12 hour weekends. at a higher rate then my base rate. The nursing home did away with this on Jan 1st. We all were told since it was a program. We could not collect unemployment by the administration. They went back to normal nursing schedule for all. Since my full time status was reduced to part time, I was reduced to a 16 hour a week paycheck from a 40 hour a week pay check. My family obligations prevent me from working M-F. I just filed 1/30/2012 for partial unemployment. (thought I might as well apply). I have been actively looking for different employment. (I still need weekends). I accepted a new job today. will start on the 14th. and will leave old job the 4th. My income wont improve with the new job, but the working conditions will.. Am I eligable for partial unemployment in this case.
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# Chad 2012-06-11 15:19
I dont have a licence or a car and dont have a ride to work anymore and work is 25 miles away can i collect unemployment if i lose my job
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# Jody 2012-08-09 21:31
I quite my job to start a new one and broke my ankle and now have no job. I am unable to drive and unable to get to work. The new job wont take me. Can i collect unemployment?
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# nancy 2012-08-21 12:26
In May of this year my place of employment stopped scheduling me for work, thus I did not show up to the office. I was never officially told I was fired but I was never put on the schedule since then. I wasn't aware that I could possibly receive unemployment. It is now August; does anyone know if I can still open an unemployment claim? I worked at this place for 3 yrs, maybe even longer.
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# Sarah 2012-08-24 00:35
I am a CNA in PA currently on light duty due to a work related injury. I work 11pm-7:30am. I have been on light duty for a little over 3 weeks working with patients on 1:1 duty which falls within my restrictions. I get a call from my employer that starting this coming Monday, I will be required to work 1st shift for the remainder of the time I am on restrictions. The patient's I have cared for are still on 1:1. I am unable to change shifts due to my 2 year old who is not in daycare. I cannot afford daycare and have no one who can watch her. My employees states this is a new policy and will be effective as of Monday. This is less then one weeks notice. They may require me to take a leave of absence which is unpaid, so I cannot afford it. If they make me work 1st shift I will miss work and get fired for absence due to mu lack of Childcare. Can they change my shift? Will I be eligible for unemployment if they fire me for absence because they changed my shift? If they fire me for not agreeing to change shifts do I qualify. Will I qualify if they force me to take a leave of absence. They have work that falls within my restrictions on my shift, that I have been doing for 3 weeks now but refuse to let me continue this. Do I qualify for any benefits at all?? I appreciate any help. Thank you
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# Denise 2013-01-20 22:36
My coworker and I both quit our job due to a hostile work environment. I filed 2-3 weeks before my coworker and was instructed by a lawyer to give minimal information on the initial claim. My coworker gave lots of info. At first both of our claims said "there are issues and continue to file." Recently, my coworker, who filed weeks after me, told me the claim went from 'issues' to 'processing.' Mine hasn't changed. 1) Why would mine not change when I filed 2-3 weeks earlier. 2) What does 'processing' mean?
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# Pamels 2013-01-22 16:58
I work in as a residental assistant. They recently changed thw house hours from 10 pm to 6am to 11 pm to 9am. I can notr work those hours. So I am going PRN ( they callme with open hrs and if I can work them I say yes) they ( my place of work) are saying I cannot collect unemployment because they offered me other shifts( which none end the time I need to end by to be home fory daughter somy fiancee cam go to work) is this true or can I collect? State PA
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# Chuck 2013-01-24 00:15
I recently quit my job because I wasn't getting paid. First it started with my paycheck being late to the funds being held for a few days after I deposited it to the funds being held for two weeks to my paycheck bouncing to not getting paid at all. I am a salaried worker (manager), but my employer closed the restaurant down for 2 weeks and refuse to pay me for those weeks. I did go back to work when it was re-opened. I asked my employer time and time again for my paycheck. Everyone at the job has experienced the same thing with their paycheck with it being late or bouncing. What are my chances of getting unemployment? I didn't want to quit but did not want to keep working if I wasn't going to get paid since it looked like it was going in that direction.
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# Christine 2013-01-29 23:25
I was hired to do one job and now the company I work for realized they don't need me so they are forcing me into another position. I don't want the other position, it's a hostile phone pod and we are stuck in a tiny room all day without having the ability for breaks or to get up and walk around. This is much different than what I was hired for, can I qualify for unemployment?
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# Sam 2013-01-30 10:07
I know everything you have says not to quit. I work in a restaurant where half the week they have me serve and half the week I manage. I have had a lot of crappy jobs but this takes the cake and is getting worse by the day. In order to cut costs they are getting rid of employees left and right while all their work falls on me and another equally frustrated co worker. My already high list of tasks increases daily while they continue to cut our hours and pay has not changed. not only that we are berated for not being able to complete all the tasks that are piling up impossibly high. This company is already known for people filling 'hostile work enviornment' and as far as I know they have all succeeded. the thought of quitting is terrifying but the though of staying is unbearable. any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I have already put out applications to other places but nothing has come of it. thank you
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# Adam 2013-03-10 16:03
I filed for PA unemp. Single father with custody of daughter. Laid off from 1 job but myself and 4 others from same company took job with competitor before we collected unemp.I work for a tree company clearing the areas under power lines. Travel was supposed to be 80 miles to start and decreasing as we worked back towards home. After we signed on, we were told we'd be starting in another area first, about 95 miles away from home (that does not get any closer to home) to get it up and running, then go to the 80 mi-and-decreasing area.After 3 weeks, crews were split and some workers were moved to that area, but I was not one of them. I was to stay in further area. The 5 of us have one company vehicle. So we leave in morning at 4:30am (we start getting paid at 7:00), then drive 80mi (2 hrs) to drop 3 men off, then myself and another guy drive another 45 mi (1 hr) to our job site for a total of 125 miles (3 hr) commute one way or 250mi/6 hrs per day. I also drive nearly the entire time I am at work as my job is to go door to door notifying property owners of upcoming work.This has caused me some problems at home. I won't get into that because I think the commute is the most compelling of my issues. So, if I'm not able to collect based on this issue, I probably won't be able to collect at all. I feel that a 250 mile, 6 hour round-trip commute is a necessitous and compelling cause to voluntarily terminate employment, because I did not agree to that commute and I did not continue to do it. I filed on 2-21-13 and haven't heard anything yet. I'm wondering if this situation usually warrants unemployment benefits in PA. Any input is aprreciated. Thanks
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# Becca 2013-03-18 16:01
im being forced to move out of state and i have to quit my job.. Ive tried finding another job in south carolina but nothing has come through yet. can I collect benefits?
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# Ginny 2013-07-12 18:45
I want to give my employer four weeks notice so they can look for someone to fill my job duties. My employer usually allows associates to work out notices but has proven there are exceptions to that rule. While I want to do right by them, I am also a little nervous about the prospect of them walking me out with no pay for four weeks. What are the rules for collecting unemployment in Pennsyvania? If an employer walks you out when you give notice, can you collect for the period of time in between the resignation notice and what would have been the last day of employment?
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# Tina 2013-07-29 11:40
I have worked as a efda (expanded function dental assistant) for a group practice for 23 years. I was full time and had health ins. and paid vacation and holiday. I only worked out of one location for the entire time of my employment.The dr I worked for retired jan 1 since then 3 of my co workers have been taken part time to another office with no change in their pay or position. i have been taken 1 day a week to the other office at a $4.57 per hour paycut.after putting up a bit of a argument they cut my title to a dental assistant. Recently they told me their 4 front desk girls " need help" and they have offered me hours being a receponist(whic h iam not!! ) these hours include 4 hrs on mon. 4 hrs. On tues. 8 hrs on wed all at the front desk and 8 hrs on thur. As a dental assistant. It is a 42-43 mile round trip for me . I feel that is a long way to travel for 4 hrs of work and then turn around the next day and do it again. Also i should mention it is a very unpleasant atompsphere at the front desk and 3 out of 4 girls are alreeady bad mouthing me and i havent even started. I have 2 questions do i have to accept these hours seeing how this is not in my field or area of training? I should also mention that these hours will put me to almost my max amount allowed so I will not be able to draw much of a claim and with the pay cut I received I will not be able to afford to do this.Secondly i am considering applying for a diffeent. Job in my hometown with sheetz so i dont have to travel so far and be a rec. would i still be eligible for my unemployment from this co. If i leave there and start a new part time job.
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# jen 2013-07-29 17:40
My company informed us they were closing our suburban office and relocating to our office in a major city (still in our same state) This move adds one hour each way commute time as opposed to my 15 min commute. It also puts me one hour away from my school age children. I have been with this company for 8 years. Can I file for unemployment?
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# jay 2013-08-31 10:21
I was offered a job in my field and the recruiter said she has plenty of full time hours for me so I quit my full time job and went to the new job after several weeks of no work and only one day here and there I ask and was told the recruiter was let go and that was a lie. I signed up for unemployment and am waiting an out come. Will I get it?
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# Josh 2017-06-25 11:18
I quit my job 6 months ago because my boss wanted to demote me and decrease my wages. Am I eligible to collect six months after quitting? I am starting CDL school Monday and need a paycheck for gas and books and such.
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# Leslie Zink 2017-10-02 16:10
Hi! Today, I returned from a medical leave since 8-20-17. Sadly, I was being bullied by coworkers and my boss. Sent an email to the director of Human Resources about the dates of bullying when I was on medical leave, Today, October 2, 2017, I returned to work and sent my letter of resignation prior to work hours starting at 8 am since I could not sign in for work, Hand my letter of resignation to my boss first and told her I could not log in for pay. Next, my boss asked me to meet with her and an human resource representative, My boss had placed me on and employment program plan on July 10, 2017. Therefore, today at the meeting my boss terminated me for not improving on my employment program plan. Meet with the director of human resources who informed me I would get paid for 30 minutes and it would be considered as a resignation. Can I collect unemployment since I start my new job on Oct, 23, 2017. Thank you!
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