PRESERVATION OF CREDIT WEEKS, Medical leave, Disability payments
CITE AS: Kempf v Michigan Bell Telephone Co.,137 Mich App 574
(1984); lv den, 424 Mich 857 (1985).
Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Maureen Kempf
Employer: Michigan Bell Telephone Co.
Docket No: B81 03615 77481
COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: The purpose of Section 28(a) is to prevent a person from being penalized when the sole cause of the individual's inability to establish a benefit year is due to a period of continuous disability.
FACTS: Claimant was on a medical leave of absence from December 21, 1979, until December 25, 1980. On December 26, 1980, claimant's doctor released her to return to work. Three days later, she was dismissed from her job. Claimant was denied unemployment benefits due to insufficient credit weeks.
DECISION: The claimant is eligible to have her credit weeks preserved.
RATIONALE: Since "it was the legislature's intent to allow a person in plaintiff's position to come within the purview of section 28a(6), it must be assumed that Section 48's provision, which deems a person on a leave of absence not unemployed, was not intended to qualify the terms 'unemployed' or 'unemployment' as used in subsection 6. Rather, it is the conclusion of this Court that subsection 6's reference to section 48 was intended to refer only to section 48's general provision which deems a person 'unemployed' with respect to any week during which he performs services and with respect to which no remuneration is payable to him. According to this provision, plaintiff was 'unemployed' while on disability leave.
"This provision requires that plaintiff file her request for preservation of credit weeks 'within 45 days after the commencement of the unemployment' unless she is medically unable to, which is not the case here. ... When plaintiff went on disability leave she expected to return to work when she was well. Until she lost her job she would have no reason to inquire about or take action under the Michigan Employment Security Act.
"[T]his Court holds that plaintiff has 45 days after her job loss to file her request for preservation of credit weeks. Since plaintiff complied with this requirement, she is entitled to have her credit weeks preserved."