The Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act provides benefits for qualified railroad employees. The Act is designed to restore part of their wage loss arising from unemployment or sickness (including maternity). Payments are made for days of unemployment or sickness in a benefit year, which generally begins on July 1, to employees who had sufficient earnings in the preceding calendar year (called the base year) to meet the qualifying conditions.
Who is considered a qualified employee?
A qualified employee is one who earns qualifying creditable compensation in a base year ($3,637.50 in 2016; $3,862.50 in 2017) counting no more than a certain amount in any month ($1,455 in 2016; $1,545 in 2017). In addition, a new employee must have some employment in at least 5 months of the first year worked in the railroad industry in order to draw benefits in the following benefit year.
To be eligible for UNEMPLOYMENT benefits, a qualified employee must be:
- Able to work
- Available to work
A day of unemployment is a day on which a qualified employee is able to work and available for work and does not receive any pay, is not disqualified, and has properly registered for unemployment benefits. Any calendar day on which the employee does not work solely because of mileage-limitation or work-restriction agreements or solely because he or she is between regularly assigned trips or tours of duty or because a turn in pool service was missed is not considered a day of unemployment. An extra-board employee can receive unemployment benefits between jobs if the miles and/or hours actually worked were less than the equivalent of normal full-time work in his or her class of service during the 14-day claim period. Entitlement to benefits would also depend on earnings.
To be eligible for SICKNESS benefits, a qualified employee must be:
- Unable to work because of sickness or injury
A day of sickness is a day on which the employee is unable to work because of sickness or injury and for which he or she does not receive any pay and has filed an application for sickness benefits and a statement of sickness. The statement of sickness provides evidence of the employee's medical condition and its expected duration. It must be signed by the employee's doctor (or other authorized individual).
As indicated above, a claimant may not receive benefits for any day for which pay is received. This includes railroad and nonrailroad wages, salary, pay for time lost, pay while sick, dismissal allowances, most wage guaranty payments, vacation pay, holiday pay, military reservist pay, earnings from self-employment, or remuneration other than subsidiary remuneration. However, payments received under a Railroad Retirement Board-approved nongovern-
mental supplemental unemployment or sickness insurance plan, an employee's own health or accident insurance policy, or a group insurance policy will not affect entitlement to benefits and should not be reported on claims.