Image of Strategic HR's wheel of HR Services, including HR Strategy, Recruitment, Training & Development, Benefits & Compensation, Communications, Employee Relations, Recordkeeping & Legal Compliance, and Health, Safety & Security

Unemployment For Seasonal Workers


Are seasonal employees eligible for unemployment if they meet the minimum requirements of length of service and wages?


More and more states are saying “no”. There are many jobs that only last for a portion of the year, which have typically been eligible for jobless benefits. Federal law gives each state the option to decide whether or not to allow those seasonal workers to receive benefits. Many states are stripping some workers of their eligibility as a way to save money.

For example, some states identify specific seasonal industries that operate approximately nine months out of the year and do not allow those workers unemployment benefits in the off-season. In all, approximately 15 states restrict the payment of unemployment benefits to workers who earned some or most of their wages in seasonal jobs. The seasons are defined differently with some being based on the time frame and others on the industry.

Currently, federal law prohibits professional athletes from accessing unemployment benefits between seasons. Additionally, teachers who work directly for school districts have been ineligible to take unemployment during the summer.

However, for other workers it’s up to the individual states to decide. As a result, as with many thing HR-related, it is important to check the unemployment laws within your state.

Are you concerned that you are not in compliance with required labor laws? Do you have multiple locations in different states and struggle with knowing which laws to follow? Don’t know where to turn to find the latest news regarding HR compliance? Let Strategic HR help keep you in the loop and out of hot water. Visit our Compliance page for more information on how we can help.