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UPDATE: IDES Releases Much-Anticipated Guidance on Non-Instructional Support Staff Employees Who Are Eligible for Unemployment This Summer

Coronavirus Higher Education

As we previously reported, certain non-instructional, non-administrative school term employees are now be eligible for unemployment compensation this summer.  A recent change to Section 612 of the Act, which otherwise renders school-term employees ineligible for unemployment between school terms, now allows unemployment benefits for non-professional employees who are unemployed but able and available to work from March 15, 2020 through December 31, 2020. Non-professional employees are eligible for these benefits even if the school issued a reemployment letter or gave other guarantees or assurances of their return to work. On June 30, 2020, IDES issued much-anticipated guidance on the amendment to Section 612.

The guidance finally confirms the rumor that educational institutions will be non-charged for the unemployment benefits that are paid out to non-professional employees this summer. Further guidance with details on how each educational institution will be non-charged will be sent in August in conjunction with their quarterly statement for benefits.

The guidance also makes it clear that the amendment to Section 612 excludes administrative and professional staff, which are defined as individuals employed in an instructional, research, or principally administrative capacity who have been given a reasonable assurance of returning to work next school year. The guidance requests that educational  institutions fill out the Academic Reporting Form for all administrative and professional staff who have been provided a reasonable assurance of returning to school next year. The IDES also asks that educational institutions provide a brief description of the reasonable assurance that was given to the administrative and professional staff. The IDES guidance says that by submitting this Form (spreadsheet), it will be treated as your “between and within terms” protest if an individual listed on the Form files for unemployment and it will be unnecessary to file a separate 612 protest for that individual. However, schools should continue to monitor their claims closely to ensure someone listed on the Form is not granted benefits by mistake.

IDES is reportedly hosting a webinar on July 8, 2020 with its Chief Legal Counsel who will review the procedures, potential changes, discuss details on non-charging and answer questions. We will continue to monitor any additional guidance or changes to unemployment and provide updates as they become available. Do not hesitate to contact any Franczek attorney with any individual questions that may arise.