Rachel Bethel
Austin/Houston Employment Trial Lawyer Rachel Bethel

Seasonal and temporary employment are quite common. Once the season or the assignment ends, however, a seasonal or temporary employee might wonder: am I eligible for unemployment until I can find my next job?

In Texas, like in many other states, the rules governing unemployment benefits for seasonal and temporary employees can be complex and may vary based on several factors. This warrants a closer look into the specifics to understand whether such employees might qualify for Texas unemployment benefits.

What is Seasonal Employment?

Seasonal employment typically involves work that occurs during specific times of the year due to factors like weather, holidays, or industry demand. Examples include lifeguards during the summer, retail workers during the holiday season, and agricultural farm workers during harvest times.

What is Temporary Employment?

The Texas Workforce Commission defines “temporary firm” as a firm that offers client companies the services of its employees who possess certain skills sought after by the client company.

Client companies may seek “temp” workers for when they have peak demand seasons, staffing shortages, or personnel who are on extended leave for vacations, pregnancies, or illnesses, etc. Client companies are able to get coverage without needing to hire a temp worker indefinitely.

The temporary firm itself manages things like the worker’s hiring, firing, paychecks, payroll taxes, unemployment insurance contributions, and social security.

 Eligibility Criteria in Texas

In Texas, eligibility for unemployment benefits, including for seasonal and temporary employees, is determined based on multiple factors, including work history, earnings, and the reason for job separation.

To qualify for unemployment benefits, an individual should meet at least the following criteria:

·      One should have earned a certain amount of past wages in what is known as the “base period,” which is typically the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters before the claim is filed.

·      One should also be unemployed through no fault of their own or working fewer hours through no fault of their own.

o   Examples may include layoffs, company closures, reductions in hours or workforce, or resigning with good cause related to work (though this last one may pose difficulty for workers).

·      One must actively search for new employment and able to work.

·      For temporary workers specifically, workers must contact the temp agency no later than the next business day after one has completed an assignment.

·      Temporary workers must then allow the temp agency three business days after the last assignment has ended to offer a new temp assignment before the temp worker can apply for benefits.

Obstacles for Seasonal or Temporary Workers

Seasonal employees in Texas may face difficulty in meeting the eligibility criteria for unemployment benefits due to the nature of their employment. Since this kind of work is inherently temporary, they may not have sufficient wages in their base period to qualify for benefits.

The Texas Workforce Commission has a Benefits Estimator to envision what your benefits may look like. However, this calculator does not definitively provide information on eligibility. The TWC also has a Benefits Tutorial for when you are ready to apply.


Navigating unemployment benefits as a seasonal or temporary employee in Texas can pose some unique challenges. However, being a temporary worker does not, in itself, disqualify someone from obtaining unemployment. As long as one is able to fulfill the normal eligibility requirements, one should be able to obtain unemployment benefits as well.

Staying informed about changes in unemployment laws and other benefits may provide alternate or additional avenues for relief. The Covid-19 pandemic, for example, engendered previously unprecedented relief for workers. Keeping abreast of updates may allow for added support when you need it most.

Finally, if you need a legal professional’s help for further questions, please contact an Austin employment lawyer today.  

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Photo of Rachel Bethel Rachel Bethel

What do you like most about being an employment lawyer?

The best part of being an employment lawyer is being there for people who are facing some of the worst times in their lives. I enjoy counseling my clients and reminding them that…

What do you like most about being an employment lawyer?

The best part of being an employment lawyer is being there for people who are facing some of the worst times in their lives. I enjoy counseling my clients and reminding them that they are not alone. The fact that I then get to use my legal training to help improve their situation is an immensely rewarding feeling.

What kind of clients do you like best?

Clients who are professional and focused on succeeding in their case tend to be the easiest to work with. It is especially helpful when clients are willing to prepare and get all their relevant documents and information in order.

What labor and employment issues do you think are currently trending?

It is encouraging to see that Texas passed the CROWN Act in 2023; it just went into effect in September. Less than half of the country has passed a similar bill, so this is a legal frontier in its nascent stages.

Who is your favorite Supreme Court Justice?


What is your favorite legal movie?

On the Basis of Sex

Besides Rob Wiley, P.C., what is the most interesting job that you have had?

I had a brief stint as a preschool teacher, and it was the best job ever. My students were the cutest stress relievers I could have ever asked for.

What is your favorite food?


What’s the best part of living in Dallas, TX?

Being close to my family again after 11 years away in DC. Dallas has changed so much since I was growing up. It is way more diverse now and has a very solid food scene.

What skills do you value as an employment attorney?

I think the three main skills you need to be a good employment attorney are reading (tons of cases, briefs, motions, etc.), writing (complaints, oppositions, motions, etc.), and having the emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills to interact with clients, witnesses, mediators, judges, deponents, court clerks, opposing counsel, etc. The role requires a lot of interacting with people in various roles with varying goals. An employment attorney needs to know how to approach every conversation appropriately.

Have you ever learned something from one of your clients?

Every single day. In listening to my clients, I obtain additional data points on how Defendants or Respondents operate in different corporate or governmental settings. Every case is different. Each charge, claim, or lawsuit begins with a story, and that story belongs to the client. Clients know all the contours of their workplace and the relevant personalities far better than their lawyer ever will. If clients are empowered to know what is going on in their case from the start, they can offer a wealth of knowledge, insight, and perspective to help their lawyer succeed. Clients may not know all the legalese and jargon involved, but once they are steered in the right direction, they know where to look or who to talk with to get the most critical information. The more a lawyer listens to the client, the more the lawyer learns each time.