The Court Clarifies the Term “Wages” within the Meaning of EDD Unemployment Benefits Rules

In the recent decision of Natkin v California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board, the appellate court clarified the term “wages” within the meaning of unemployment benefits rules. In that case, the claimant was an attorney who was laid off and who started his own law practice. On his application for unemployment benefits he calculated the wages that he was to report on his EDD claim by subtracting his business expenses from his income, which included various office purchases, such as office furniture, office supplies, etc.

The Court of Appeal disagreed and concluded that under Unemployment Ins. Code 1279, the term “wages” is plain and unambiguous, and it means “any and all compensation” received within a given period. Nothing in the law allows or even talks about the option to subtract business expenses from the total income generated by the claimant.