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YES: Non-Instructional Support Staff Employees May Be Eligible for Unemployment This Summer

Coronavirus Higher Education

As you may have heard already, as part of the legislation (HB2455) signed by Governor Pritzker on June 5, 2020, certain non-instructional, non-administrative school term employees (commonly referred to as 10-month employees) may now be eligible for unemployment this summer.  A recent change to Section 612, which otherwise renders school-term employees ineligible for unemployment between school terms, may now allow 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 may be eligible for these benefits even if the school issued a reemployment letter or gave other guarantees or assurances of their return to work.

The amendment to Section 612 only applies to non-administrative and non-professional staff. Section 612 of the Act defines “administrative and professional staff” as those employed in an instructional, research, or principal administrative capacity. All other positions at a school are considered non-professional, which may include clerical staff, bus drivers, custodial employees, and cafeteria staff among others. Teachers, substitutes, principals, and all other professional and instructional staff are ineligible for these benefits.

Further, in order to be eligible for benefits these non-administrative and non-professional employees must be unemployed, meaning they must be able and available to work and will likely need to certify with the IDES that they are searching for appropriate work. Thus, if your school offered work to a non-administrative, non-professional employee who declined the work, they may be ineligible for benefits. These individual scenarios should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Further guidance from the IDES is forthcoming. The attorneys at Franczek will advise of any new developments. In the meantime, please reach out to any Franczek attorney with questions.