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Will bonus affect her unemployment benefits or will timing save them?

If a bonus is paid more than 30

If a bonus is paid more than 30 days after dismissal, it does not affect unemployment benefits, an attorney says. Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto/glegorly

DEAR CARRIE: My wife has been collecting unemployment  for more than a month now. On Friday she received a bonus payment for work with her employer in 2018. Should she report this, and if so, will this impact her future unemployment payments or her eligibility for payments? -- Bonus After Job Loss

DEAR BONUS: She may be in the clear given the timing of the bonus payment.  

"The operative term in the statute is 'dismissal pay,' which refers to a payment made to an employee due to his or her separation from service," said Richard Finkel, a partner in Bond, Schoeneck & King's Garden City office.   “Dismissal pay paid after 30 days does not impact eligibility" for unemployment.

Bonuses work similarly.

"A bonus might be paid upon dismissal in return for staying with the company through a certain crisis or circumstance and is payable upon termination,"  Finkel said. "That type of bonus would constitute dismissal pay and might impact eligibility, depending upon when paid." .

DEAR CARRIE: I work as a security guard. We have to go to mandatory training each year for about six to eight hours to maintain our security guard license. This is done on our own time each year. And we pay for the course, which is $50 each year. That is not a big deal, but my question is, should we be paid for the hours spent in the training class?  -- Who Pays?

DEAR WHO:  I am afraid you are out of luck because the training is state mandated.

"The employer doesn’t have to pay for the training time," the state Labor Department said.  

The excerpt below from a state opinion letter fills in the details. Though it was written in response to a question about child care,  it is applicable to your situation.

"In the situation you have described, the employees attend state-mandated

classes to maintain their certification as child care workers. Presumably, this training and

certification could be used by the employee to obtain employment with any other child care

provider in New York State. This training, therefore, is not unique to your business, and would

have to be obtained by a child care worker whether or not he/she was employed by your business.

It is the Department's opinion, therefore, that the training you describe is for the benefit of the

employee, not the employer. Therefore, these child care workers are not 'employed' by your

business during their state-mandated training, and your business is not obligated by New York

State law to compensate these employees for time spent by them in such training."

DEAR CARRIE: I have a question regarding training. I work in a public school and when people are hired to work in plant and facilities, as a condition of their employment, they are required to work three to four hours training in the elementary school and three to four hours training in the high school. This is all without pay.  Is this legal? --Training Daze

DEAR TRAINING: They should be paid for that time.

"It’s very clear that training required by an employer for an employee is considered time worked for which wages must be paid," said Irv Miljoner, former head of the Long Island office of the U.S. Labor Department.  But he said, "Such training might not have to be paid for if it is required  before an employee is hired or is generic enough that it can be used anywhere."

The employees should call the U.S. Labor Department at 516-338-1890 for more information.

Got to bit.ly/LIunemployment for more on how severance and other dismissal pay can affect unemployment benefits. 

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