The fact that you cannot guarantee hours in the future is irrelevant to the determination of unemployment benefits, because Unemployment Insurance (“UI”) looks backward not forward.

One of the basic requirements to receive unemployment benefits is that the employee must establish “monetary eligibility,” by working and earning a certain amount of wages or by working a certain number of hours:

To qualify for benefits the employee must meet the minimum monetary requirements of earning at least $2781.00 in the base period (first four of the last five completed calendar quarters, prior to when the claim is filed), with at least $800.00 in each of two separate base period calendar quarters. Example: If the employee files a claim in the first quarter (January, February or March) the base period would be the fourth quarter of the year before last and the first three quarters of last year. The base period is the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters prior to when the claim is filed. The insured wages earned during these quarters determines the employee’s monetary eligibility.

Thus as long as they’ve met this requirement, your handbook policy is not going to make a difference on UI eligibility.