Unemployment Law experts???

ellenjMay 29, 2009

I work at a large private University (non profit). I am a 10 month, hourly worker meaning I am off summers from June 15 to Aug 15.

Am I eligible for unemployment compensation during that time?

I tried calling our local office but the wait time was 20 minutes then I got disconnected. I would prefer to have an educated answer prior to contacting my human resources dept.

This is what I found online but don't know if it specifically applies to me.

"Reasonable Assurance for School Employees

On January 4, 2003, Title 34 of the Pennsylvania Code was amended to include Section 65.161, Reasonable Assurance. The regulation supplies criteria that must be applied to determine if an employee of a public or non-profit educational institution has a reasonable assurance of performing services after a school break.

Section 402.1 of the Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation Law provides that a school employee is ineligible for benefits for any week that commences during a regularly scheduled school break if the employee performed services in the academic period before the break and has a "reasonable assurance" of performing services in the academic period after the break.

Pursuant to Section 65.161 of the regulations, a school employee will have reasonable assurance only if the educational institution gives the employee a bona fide offer of employment for the second academic period and the economic terms and conditions of the employment offered for the second academic period are not substantially less than the terms and conditions of the employee's employment in the first academic period. The regulation also provides that an offer of employment is not bona fide if the educational institution does not control the circumstances under which the employee would be employed and cannot provide evidence that the employee or similarly situated employees normally perform services in the second academic period."

I will be back on Aug 15, meaning I do have a bona fide offer.

I am not salaried. We have dining services workers, who are not University employees, that are laid off for the summer months and they are able to collect. I believe I am different because I am a school employee.

I could really use the money (or any money) during the summer. My husband lost his job in February. He found another in May but for 30,000 less. That was a huge hit.

Finding someone who will hire me for 2 months is beginning to look impossible. I have been looking since early spring.


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Unless there is an employment and labor law attorney posting on the forum, I believe your best way to receive correct, accurate information is to bite the bullet and sit on hold, and if you get disconnected, call back. All you're going to get here posting on a public forum is a bunch of individual stories based on someone's personal experience, which may or may not be applicable to you. In the time you'll spend waiting for replies here you could be on hold getting the right answer.

Just my 0.2 cents, which is probably reduced to nothing because of inflation.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2009 at 2:16PM
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I am not lawyer, but based on that legalese, since you have a bona fide offer, you are not eligible for unemployment.

I am sorry your husband took such a pay cut...times are tough. We were in a similar position in November.

You could try a temp agency. My gf did that when she was laid off and she ended up finding a new FT job that she loved. Temping isn't all bad...

Good luck with it!

    Bookmark   May 29, 2009 at 4:40PM
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In MI they apply on line, You might try that just to see what happens until you get a correct answer. Yes temp agencies are good, but volunteer work is good also. Many times a job will be mentioned as you are helping out. Even most volunteer agencies have paid positions. Financial, secretary, etc. Even if you are working, volunteers are needed everywhere, from the Red Cross, to the Zoo, to Food Pantries, to churches and even Universities and hospitals. Just look around, list your talents, training etc on a piece of paper for you to review. You will find out you are better trained that you think you are.
Good luck to all

    Bookmark   May 30, 2009 at 12:11PM
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I'm not a lawyer but my gut reaction says no. Obviously school teacher don't get unemployment for the summer months, and while you perform different work the nature of the work is the same. Since you have an offer of employment for the fall you are not unemployed, just on a long, if unpaid, vacation.

When I was a kid one of the neighbors was a teacher. He and another teacher worked as painters during the summer months.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 7:44AM
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Here's my data point - a friend of mine, who is a teacher, was laid off a year ago, at the end of the school year. Although she ended up going back to the same school in the fall, the school didn't offer her a contract until August. She *was* able to collect unemployment during the summer.

This year, she was laid off again, but (having another year's seniority) expects that the school system will offer her a job (one she doesn't particularly want) within the next couple weeks. If they do offer her a job for the fall, then she is not eligible for unemployment, whether or not she accepts the job.

If this is a common situation elsewhere, then you would not be eligible for unemployment during the summer if your job is available for you in the fall. Not sure whether this is the case or not.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2009 at 1:03AM
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My daughter works for a company that takes school photos. They are always laid off for the summer. They are eligible for unemployment here in CA.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2009 at 6:07PM
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