Temporary Holiday Employment and Unemployment Insurance Benefits

Individuals who are receiving unemployment benefits are encouraged to accept temporary holiday employment. However, the compensation paid to a temporary worker is payment for personal services and is therefore considered wages. An individual who is receiving unemployment benefits and who is employed on a temporary basis is required to report gross wages on their bi-weekly (regular unemployment) or weekly (PUA) certification(s), and their benefits will be adjusted accordingly.

Section 234 of the Illinois Unemployment Insurance Act defines “wages” as: “…every form of remuneration for personal services, including salaries, commissions, bonuses, and the reasonable money value of all remuneration in any medium other than cash…” (820 ILCS 405/234). This statutory definition encompasses compensation for temporary work.

Claimants receiving regular unemployment benefits are required to certify every two weeks and report if they worked, along with any gross wages earned in that two-week period, including compensation for temporary work. If the gross wages earned within that period are 50% or more of their weekly benefit amount (WBA), deductions will be made to account for wages earned. If earnings equal or exceed the WBA for either week, the claimant would be ineligible for benefits for the weeks in which those earnings equal or exceed the WBA. (820 ILCS 405/402). In this situation, the claimant will need to file an Additional Claim once the temporary employment ends to receive future unemployment benefits. Information on filing an Additional Claim can be found here. Dependent allowance is not part of the WBA. Wages for temporary employment are to be reported when earned not when paid.

Claimants receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits are required to certify every week and report if they worked, along with any gross income earned in that one-week period, including compensation for temporary work. If the income earned within that period is 50% or more of their weekly benefit amount (WBA), deductions will be made to account for wages earned. If earnings equal or exceed the WBA for either week, the claimant would be ineligible for benefits for the weeks in which those earnings equal or exceed the WBA. (820 ILCS 405/402). Dependent allowance is not part of the WBA. Wages for temporary employment are to be reported when earned not when paid.

If a claimant accepts a temporary full-time job during holidays, they should be able to reestablish eligibility for unemployment insurance benefits when the job ends. However, if they are fired from a temporary job for misconduct connected with the work, quit the job without good cause attributable to the employer, or refused an offer of suitable work, they might be subject to disqualification for future benefits.

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