March 24

Time To Go Back to Work? You May Be Able To Claim Partial Unemployment


Whether you got the call to come back or just want to work again, you may be able to collect partial unemployment and the $300 weekly bonus while restaurants transition to full service.

Ok, so you’re fed up with the latest trending quarantine project (sourdough anyone?) and you’re ready to get back to work. Whatever your reason for re-entering the workforce, there is no better time to start applying for jobs. As states begin prioritizing restaurant workers for the vaccine and public health restrictions ease — we’re seeing a record number of restaurants looking for quality candidates. While the financial aspects of getting back to work and off unemployment can seem daunting, you might not have to give up your unemployment just yet. Many states allow part-time workers to claim some benefits, including the extra $300 a week — providing a financial cushion as restaurants slowly transition back into full service. Here’s what partial unemployment is all about.

What are partial unemployment benefits?
If you’re called back to work and your wages or hours were cut, or you pick up a part-time job, you could still receive a portion of your unemployment benefit. Most states allow qualifying individuals to work part-time and continue to claim partial unemployment. Currently, this includes the $300 a week bonus until it expires in September.

Typically, states allow you to report a certain amount of wages or hours in one week without impacting your weekly benefit amount. After that threshold, a state’s employment department has a set procedure for calculating reduced weekly benefits. Among other state-specified requirements, people qualify for partial unemployment as long as the decrease in hours or pay is not the fault or choice of the claimant and the claimant is actively looking for work.

How do I claim partial benefits while working?
Each state runs its own unemployment insurance (UI) program, and calculations of partial benefits vary. For example, in Oregon and Texas, claimants must report the hours and earnings each week they file a UI claim.

In Oregon, you can earn up to one-third of your weekly benefit amount before it’s reduced, and in Texas, you can earn up to 25% of your benefit amount. After that, both states subtract your weekly earnings from your weekly benefit – dollar for dollar. In Oregon, you no longer qualify for a benefit week if you work 40 hours or earn more than the weekly benefit amount. If you work full-time in Texas or make 25% more than your weekly benefit amount, you won’t qualify for benefits for that week.

In New York, as of January 2021, workers qualify for partial unemployment benefits if they work 30 or fewer hours and earn a gross pay of $504 or less that week. Benefits reduce in increments of 25% depending on the number of hours worked and phased out entirely if you worked more than 30 hours or if your gross pay is more than $504, in which case you won’t qualify for benefits regardless of hours worked.

How do I find out if I qualify for partial unemployment?
Some states, like Oregon and Texas, treat partial unemployment similarly. Others, like New York, have an entirely different set of requirements and qualifications. So, even though most states offer partial unemployment in some form, it’s essential to check in with your state’s employment department to see state-specific regulations and qualifications. You can easily find UI information by looking up your state’s employment department website here.

Partial unemployment is a crucial tool for restaurant workers heading back to work. As we move into Spring and more states prioritize restaurant workers for vaccinations, there will only be an increased need for quality workers. So if you’re ready to get back on the line, you can feel more confident knowing there is some financial cushion with partial unemployment.


About the author

Ashley McNally likes to cook, loves to bake, and is always dreaming of her next meal. With over 13 years of experience working in various roles within a restaurant — McNally has made a home in hospitality.

About the author

Ashley McNally likes to cook, loves to bake, and is always dreaming of her next meal. With over 13 years of experience working in various roles within a restaurant — McNally has made a home in hospitality.