Florida Senate - 2014                                    SB 1056
       By Senator Braynon
       36-00535A-14                                          20141056__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to unemployment compensation; amending
    3         s. 443.101, F.S.; revising the definition of the term
    4         “good cause”; revising provisions relating to an
    5         individual’s disqualification for benefits for
    6         voluntarily leaving work; providing an exemption from
    7         such disqualification for certain victims of domestic
    8         violence; providing an effective date.
   10  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   12         Section 1. Paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of section
   13  443.101, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
   14         443.101 Disqualification for benefits.—An individual shall
   15  be disqualified for benefits:
   16         (1)(a) For the week in which he or she has voluntarily left
   17  work without good cause attributable to his or her employing
   18  unit or has been discharged by the employing unit for misconduct
   19  connected with his or her work, based on a finding by the
   20  Department of Economic Opportunity. As used in this paragraph,
   21  the term “work” means any work, whether full-time, part-time, or
   22  temporary.
   23         1. Disqualification for voluntarily quitting continues for
   24  the full period of unemployment next ensuing after the
   25  individual has left his or her full-time, part-time, or
   26  temporary work voluntarily without good cause and until the
   27  individual has earned income equal to or greater than 17 times
   28  his or her weekly benefit amount. As used in this subsection,
   29  unless an exception described in this subsection applies, the
   30  term “good cause” includes only that cause attributable to the
   31  employing unit which would compel a reasonable employee to cease
   32  working or attributable to the individual’s illness or
   33  disability requiring separation from his or her work. Any other
   34  disqualification may not be imposed.
   35         2. An individual is not disqualified under this subsection
   36  for voluntarily leaving temporary work to return immediately
   37  when called to work by the permanent employing unit that
   38  temporarily terminated his or her work within the previous 6
   39  calendar months, or for voluntarily leaving work to relocate as
   40  a result of his or her military-connected spouse’s permanent
   41  change of station orders, activation orders, or unit deployment
   42  orders.
   43         3. An individual is not disqualified under this subsection
   44  for voluntarily leaving work if he or she proves that his or her
   45  discontinued employment is a direct result of circumstances
   46  related to domestic violence as defined in s. 741.28.
   47         a. The individual must provide evidence, such as an
   48  injunction, protective order, or other such reasonable
   49  documentation authorized by state law which reasonably proves
   50  that domestic violence has occurred.
   51         b. The individual must reasonably believe that a future act
   52  of domestic violence, including being a victim of stalking as
   53  provided in s. 784.048(3), (4), or (5), is likely to occur
   54  against the individual by a family or household member, as
   55  defined in s. 741.28, at, en route to, or en route from, the
   56  individual’s place of employment.
   57         c. Before voluntarily terminating employment, the
   58  individual must make reasonable efforts to preserve employment.
   59  Such efforts may include:
   60         (I) Seeking a protective injunction;
   61         (II) Relocating to a secure place; or
   62         (III) Seeking reasonable accommodation from the employer,
   63  such as a transfer or different assignment.
   65  Failure to pursue such efforts may be excused if the individual
   66  establishes that his or her efforts are likely to be futile or
   67  increase the risk of future incidents of domestic violence.
   68         d. The department must determine that the individual has
   69  met all other eligibility requirements under this subsection.
   70         e. An individual who is otherwise eligible for benefits
   71  under this subparagraph is ineligible for each week that the
   72  individual:
   73         (I) Fails to meet the requirements of s. 443.091(1);
   74         (II) No longer meets the criteria described in sub
   75  subparagraph b.; or
   76         (III) Refuses a reasonable accommodation offered in good
   77  faith by his or her employer.
   78         f. The employment record of an employing unit may not be
   79  charged for the payment of benefits to an individual who has
   80  voluntarily left work under this subparagraph.
   81         4.2. Disqualification for being discharged for misconduct
   82  connected with his or her work continues for the full period of
   83  unemployment next ensuing after having been discharged and until
   84  the individual is reemployed and has earned income of at least
   85  17 times his or her weekly benefit amount and for not more than
   86  52 weeks immediately following that week, as determined by the
   87  department in each case according to the circumstances or the
   88  seriousness of the misconduct, under the department’s rules
   89  adopted for determining determinations of disqualification for
   90  benefits for misconduct.
   91         5.3. If an individual has provided notification to the
   92  employing unit of his or her intent to voluntarily leave work
   93  and the employing unit discharges the individual for reasons
   94  other than misconduct before the date the voluntary quit was to
   95  take effect, the individual, if otherwise entitled, shall
   96  receive benefits from the date of the employer’s discharge until
   97  the effective date of his or her voluntary quit.
   98         6.4. If an individual is notified by the employing unit of
   99  the employer’s intent to discharge the individual for reasons
  100  other than misconduct and the individual quits without good
  101  cause before the date the discharge was to take effect, the
  102  claimant is ineligible for benefits pursuant to s. 443.091(1)(d)
  103  for failing to be available for work for the week or weeks of
  104  unemployment occurring before the effective date of the
  105  discharge.
  106         Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2014.