Are 200,000 California State Workers Eligible for Unemployment?

Over at FlashReport Bill Leonard, a member of California’s Board of Equalization, raises an interesting issue:

“Two hundred thousand plus state employees may be eligible for Unemployment Insurance benefits. This is an issue that has Employment Development Department (EDD) lawyers in a tizzy. Clearly, the Governor-ordered furloughs are a reduction in pay, but the employees are being sent home on furlough days so their rate of pay stays the same. The loss is a loss of hours to work, which is one way of defining unemployment. In fact, EDD already has a program in place for workers who are furloughed or laid off from work on a temporary basis with a promise of future work with the same employer. Under this program the worker getting the benefits is not even required to look for another job. Do state employees on furlough qualify? No one seems to know. Another big question is whether salaried employees have the same eligibility as hourly employees. Most state employees are on salaries but with strict work hour requirements. As they say, developing…”