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Motycka v General Motors Corp. 4.32

Section 48

UNEMPLOYED, Leave of absence defined

CITE AS: Motycka v General Motors, 257 Mich App 578 (2003).

Appeal pending: No

Claimant: Marvin Motycka, et al
Employer: General Motors Corporation
Docket No. MUL1999-78153-RM1-155516W

COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: The phrase “leave of absence” as used in Section 48(3) denotes an authorized temporary release from work.

FACTS: Claimants were on a ‘pre-retirement leave’ for a two-year period as articulated in their collective bargaining agreement due to their plant closing. During the ‘pre-retirement leave,’ the claimants received 85% of their wages, retained health benefits, and accrued service credit towards retirement. At the conclusion of the two-year period, the claimants were required to retire.

DECISION: The claimants were not on a leave absence and were “unemployed.”

RATIONALE: “In American Telephone Co v ESC, 376 Mich 271, 279 (1965), our Supreme Court held that the normally accepted meaning of leave of absence was a temporary authorized release from work. GM suggests that American Telephone, supra, is distinguishable from the instant case because it construes a former section of the MES Act dealing with pregnancy leaves that has since been rescinded. However, GM fails to recognize that the Supreme Court reaffirmed the concept that a leave of absence is a temporary release from work in ESC v Vulcan Forging Co, 375 Mich 374, 379 (1965).” Motycka, at 583. The Court in Vulcan, supra, further held that a “leave of absence” is an “authorized temporary release from work for other an vacation purposes.” Motycka, at 583 quoting Vulcan, supra at 379.


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