Generally speaking, workers that are involved in a strike or a work stoppage are not allowed to collect unemployment benefits from their employer. However, there are exceptions to this rule that would allow some employees to collect unemployment benefits. It is important for employers to know and understand their responsibility as it pertains to unemployment benefits of workers on strike.
If employees participate in a strike, they typically are not eligible for unemployment benefits. However, if the employees belong to a union and any number of them did not actively participate in the strike but lost their jobs as a result, they may be eligible to collect unemployment benefits.
For employees that did not participate in a strike and experienced a period of unemployment after the strike is over, they also may be able to collect unemployment benefits during this time. For employees that participated in a strike, most states disqualify them from receiving unemployment benefits for a certain period of time no matter how quickly the strike was resolved.
Employers may be on the hook to pay employees on a work stoppage if the layoff is due to a shutdown at another location also owned by the same employer. Likewise, initiating a lockout will result in having to pay unemployment benefits. Employers should take great care not to violate collective bargaining agreements or wage and hour laws, as any work stoppage caused by doing so may result in employees filing unemployment benefits claims.
Unemployment benefits claims and violations against unemployment insurance can cost employers a great deal of time and money. In order to stay protected, employers should speak to an employment law attorney about current laws and requirements regarding unemployment benefits.