As a general rule anytime you’re out of work, whether it’s permanent or temporary, through no fault of your own, you can apply and get unemployment. For instance, when I worked in a hotels at Christmas it was slow so for about 3 weeks about half the staff was laid off. They were able to get unemployment. So you don’t need to be fired to collect unemployment, a temporary layoff will also get you it.
Here’s the thing, to qualify for unemployment you MUST be willing and ABLE to work.
So I assume you are able to work but not able to do the job you were doing so they gave you medical leave.
Absence a contract to the contrary there is no law that says you can’t work two jobs. For example, suppose before you were given medical leave, you worked weekends at Starbucks.
If this were the case and you were given medical leave, you’d still have your job.
I’m assuming that while you’re on medical leave you are able to get medical insurance at the same cost as the deduction to your paycheck would be. For example if they took out $25.00 a paycheck for medical you’d be able to pay it now that your on leave. Is this so?
I reckon this is the jist of your problem. If you weren’t on leave for medical reasons, you’d be forced to get COBRA options.
Of course if you apply for unemployment, your past employer is immediately notified and will know you are working. Under the FMLA if you qualify you are entitled to take that time off, so they couldn’t lay you off till the time is expried.
Everyone I knew who has been on FMLA has been let go the day after the 12 weeks of FMLA is up.
Your problem lies with two factors and how you answer the question will depend on your eligibility. Were you FORCED to take leave? If you volunteer to leave a job or quit on your own, you generally aren’t able to get unemployment. (There are exceptions to this, like quitting with just cause).
If your employer said “You aren’t able to do your job due to medical reasons and we can’t find another job for you in the company,” you’re being sacked. Then you are eligible for unemployment, regardless of your health status as long as you’re willing to work
If your company said, “Look you can’t do this job, but we can give you 12 weeks of FMLA and that way you’ll get cheap insurance, till something else comes up,” you cannot collect.
The only way to know is go and apply to unemployment and tell them you were laid off and see what the company says.
I’ve worked in H/R in Illinois and basically I see the details like this
Your company gets notified and disputes it
You go to the unemployment office and say “I had no choice,” I was let go
Then it goes to an arbitrator or judge will decide.
In Illinois arbitrators are all different. I have had two different arbitrators decided differenlty for the same thing. I had some employees late constantly for work and were fired. One arbitrator denied the claim for the fired employees. The other said “No, they TRIED to show up for work, it wasn’t there fault”
So you never really know how it’ll work out.
So you need to figure out which is better. Cheap insurance or Cobra and unemployment