I hire retired couples for the summer to run campgrounds and other recreation facilities. Since these campgrounds are closed in the winter (most are under 8 feet of snow) I lay most of these folks off in October.
The vast majority of my employees do not work the winter. They have other retirement savings that they supplement working for me in the summer and then they take the winter off. And that would be all of the story, except in California. For some reason in California, but not in most other states, all these folks run straight to the unemployment office and file for unemployment over the winter. For those of you who don't know how unemployment insurance premiums work, the premium I pay as a percentage of wages is based on past claims experience. In California, I am an "F", the worst category, and have to pay over 6%(!) of wages to unemployment insurance.
Now in most states, what these employees are doing is illegal. It is typical of unemployment offices that you have to call in each week and certify that you are looking for work. If you are not actively looking for work, then you are not eligible, and most states outside CA seem fairly diligent about enforcing the rules. Last year, not one but two of the people who were claiming unemployment in CA over the winter were in Mexico on the beach the whole time! I know, because they called me from there to see if they were going to be rehired in the spring.
It was then that I found out why this happens more in CA than in other states. I called the California state unemployment office and asked them how I could have cases of unemployment fraud (ie claiming unemployment when one is not actually looking for work) investigated. The person from the state office got very hostile with me. She said that I was making a very serious charge, and that if I made such a charge, and fraud was not proven, then I could be liable for civil and even criminal penalties for asking for the investigation. I said forget it, raised prices to customers to cover the extra winter vacation wages I was forced to pay, and moved on.