Can You Claim Partial Unemployment if Your Hours Are Cut in Virginia?

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If your regular job reduces your hours in Virginia, partial unemployment benefits may be available to you. Furthermore, if your hours have been reduced due to COVID-19, partial unemployment due to COVID-19 is also available.


In Virginia, as in every U.S. state, unemployment insurance is available to workers who have lost their job through no fault of their own. Unemployment insurance programs, which are established nationwide by the Social Security Act of 1935, are maintained and administered by the state government and funded through payroll taxes on employers.

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Virginia’s Partial Unemployment Policy

Unemployment insurance exists to help workers whose jobs were lost through no fault of their own and who continue to seek other employment. Partial unemployment functions in a similar way. The Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) manages the unemployment insurance program for the state of Virginia.


If you stay with your regular employer, but your hours are cut by your employer because there isn't enough available work, you may be eligible to apply for a partial unemployment benefit to make up for that loss of earnings. To claim partial unemployment, your total pay must be less than the weekly unemployment benefit you're eligible for. Utilize Virginia's unemployment pay chart to estimate your benefits.

Example of Partial Unemployment Policy

For example, let's imagine an employee named Jordan who works full-time at Wendy's. When a Burger King opens up in the same shopping center, let's say Wendy's sees a dramatic drop in their number of customers. The manager no longer needs the same number of employees as they did before the Burger King showed up, and Jordan's hours are cut from 40 hours a week to 20 hours a week. Because Jordan is willing to work the 40-hour workweek, and there simply isn't enough work to support those hours, she can apply for partial unemployment to make up for her shortfall in income.


However, if Jordan's total weekly income, even with the abbreviated hours, exceeds the amount of unemployment benefits for which she is eligible, she will not receive additional money from unemployment insurance. The amount of unemployment for which she is eligible is based on prior earnings. According to Loudoun County Virginia Health and Human Services, the maximum benefit in Virginia is $378 per week.

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Applying for Virginia Partial Unemployment

To apply for partial unemployment benefits, you may contact the VEC Customer Contact Center at 1-866-832-2363 or apply online. The VEC will require you to supply your name, Social Security number and information about your current employer (name, address, telephone number and dates of employment). When you apply, the VEC representative working on your case will let you know of any additional requirements you may be subject to, such as seeking other work while receiving unemployment.


As with full unemployment benefits, partial unemployment benefits are contingent on claimants reporting all income to the VEC on a regular basis. When you apply for partial unemployment, the VEC will notify your employer of the application and the weekly amount you'll be receiving. Your employer will be required to supply a Statement of Partial Unemployment, or a Form VEC-B-31, stating your wages for each week you claim unemployment benefits. You must sign and return the form to the VEC on a weekly basis.