Can an Employee Agree to Waive His or Her Right to Unemployment Benefits?

Not in Minnesota.  Minnesota law states that “[a]ny agreement by an individual to waive, release, or commute rights to unemployment benefits or any other rights under the Minnesota Unemployment Insurance Law is void.”  See Minn. Stat. § 268.192.  The law further states that “[a]ny agreement by an employee to pay all or any portion of an employer’s taxes, is void,” and that “[n]o employer may directly or indirectly make or require or accept any deduction from wages to pay the employer’s taxes, require or accept any waiver of any right, or in any manner obstruct or impede an application or continued request for unemployment benefits.”

Takeaway:  Employers should be cautious of any arrangement in which an employee proposes that he or she will not seek unemployment benefits in exchange for something else.  That type of agreement is unenforceable under Minnesota law.  Employers also generally cannot agree not to contest unemployment benefits in exchange for an employee quitting or leaving employment.

About Michael Miller

Michael is a Chambers-rated attorney in Briggs and Morgan's Employment, Benefits, and Labor group and is head of the firm’s Employment Law Counseling and Compliance practice group. He has 25 years experience counseling employers to prevent unwanted litigation and advises companies of ongoing changes in federal, state and local employment law. Michael advises employers in all areas of employment law including discipline and discharge, leaves of absence, wage and hour compliance, non-compete and confidentiality agreements, affirmative action plans, background checking, and drug/alcohol testing. For Michael's full bio, click here.

Posted on September 12, 2012, in Unemployment Insurance Benefits and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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