Unemployment Insurance Rules for School Employees

Disclaimer: These suggestions are intended to help people who are out of work. As with all other content on this site, these suggestions are not to be taken as legal advice, and the author is not liable for any damages or losses you may incur from utilizing these suggestions and/or any resources listed here.

From my research, I was only able to find general regulations on federal Unemployment Insurance rules for school employees, with several options for states, so contact your state’s UI office for current rules.

To quote from the federal UI rules for school employees:

450.03 SCHOOL PERSONNEL.–Federal law requires States to deny benefits to instructional, research or principal administrative employees of educational institutions between successive academic years or terms, or, when an agreement so provides, between two regular but not successive terms, if the individual performed one of the three types of services in the first year or term and has a contract or a reasonable assurance of performing one of the three types of services in the second year or term. The denial also applies to vacation or holiday periods within school years or terms.The Federal law was amended to permit a State, at its option, to deny benefits between successive academic years or terms to other employees of a school or by an educational service agency who perform services to or on behalf of an educational institution if the individual performed services (other than the three types described above) in the one year or term and has a reasonable assurance or a contract to perform services in the second year or term. The option for denial of benefits also applies to vacation or holiday periods within school years or terms. Further, Federal law requires States to pay benefits retroactively to school personnel, other than those performing services in an instructional, research or principal administrative capacity, if they were given a reasonable assurance of reemployment but were not, in fact, rehired when the new school term or year began. Kansas and Wisconsin also apply a between and within-terms denial to school bus drivers not employed by governmental entities or nonprofit organizations. Arizona has a similar disqualification which applies to school bus contractors.

“Alaska provides State interim benefits, if money is appropriated from the general fund, to nonprofessional employees of educational institutions who are noncertificated and provide compensated services to a school district for teaching indigenous languages if the individual’s benefits are reduced or denied under the between terms or during vacation period provisions of the law.”

This excerpt is from the Eligibility section on the Comparison of State Unemployment Laws, from the Department of Labor.

My own experience in California was this: When I applied for unemployment in early 2008, after leaving a short-lived teaching career, my benefits between terms and during school breaks were reduced because the amount I earned while a full-time, year-round staff employee (not a teacher) at a university was excluded from my base-period earnings.

I had to appeal, showing a letter from my former supervisor confirming that I was not an instructional employee, and that I worked full time and year round at the university. It took a month to complete the appeal process, but I did win the appeal and received the additional benefit amount retroactively. If I had lost, my benefit during school breaks and vacations would have dropped from $450 a week to $75 a week.

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