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How Long Do I Have to Work For to Collect Unemployment in Alabama?

In Alabama, the amount of time you have to work in order to be eligible for unemployment compensation depends upon the amount of wages you earned in a base period. Alabama uses the general definition of  a qualifying employer given in the previous article. The amount of time you have to spend working in Alabama to qualify for unemployment insurance is dependent upon the amount of wages you earned within at least two quarters of the base period. Within the base period, you have to spend enough time working to earn at least $2,314 within two quarters in order to qualify for unemployment insurance.

You must qualify for the minimum weekly benefit amount (WBA), as well. The minimum weekly amount for Alabama is $45. Alabama’s WBA is computed by multiplying 1/26 by the average of the two highest quarter wages earned in the base period (the average must be at least $1,170 to qualify). Further, you must earn at least 1.5 times your highest quarter wages within the entire base period in order to qualify. As long as you meet the minimum required earning amounts, that is the minimum length of time you have to spend working.


To determine your eligibility, follow this step-by-step model:

Did you earn a total of at least $2,314 within two quarters of the base period?

■        your earnings within two quarters > than $2,314

  1. Do you qualify for the minimum WBA of $45?

■        the avg. of your two highest quarter wages > than $1,170

  1. Did you earn more than 1.5 times your HQW within the entire base period?

■        your total base period earnings > 1.5 x HQW


If you answered yes to all three questions, you qualify for unemployment insurance in Alabama.

Alabama does not offer extended or alternate base periods.

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