Some Texans on unpaid medical leave may qualify for jobless benefits

An individual must be deemed “unemployed,” “eligible,” and “not otherwise statutorily excepted or disqualified” to receive benefits under the Texas Unemployment Compensation Act. In light of a recent Texas Supreme Court decision, individuals on unpaid medical leave—even if they’re protected by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)—may qualify for jobless benefits, assuming they meet all the unemployment compensation law’s eligibility requirements. By no means does this suggest that Texas law entitles all individuals to receive unemployment benefits while on FMLA leave.

In the following case, the court analyzed whether a former employee fit within the unemployment law’s definition of the term “unemployed” and answered in the affirmative. While there’s no guarantee that every single individual on unpaid FMLA leave requesting jobless benefits will receive them, the court’s decision has made it easier for individuals to demonstrate that they’re qualified.

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