Looking ahead to the end of this school year many districts will be sending letters to their employees giving them reasonable assurance. Employees working under continuing contracts are considered to have reasonable assurance and should be found ineligible for benefits during the summer months as long as their contract is intact for the upcoming school year and there are no other mitigating factors that could cause them to be eligible for unemployment.
Reasonable assurance in written form provides an employee of a school district with notice that it is the “intent of the district to have the individual return in the same capacity during the upcoming school year or term.” This means that a person with written reasonable assurance, no matter what position they are in, has the understanding that while they will be unemployed during the district’s traditional break, they will be returning to work for the district when the next school year or term resumes.
The key to this is “in the same capacity” which means that a person who worked as a casual, as needed substitute only returns as a casual, as needed substitute – a cafeteria employee who works only part time is returning as a part time cafeteria employee. These individuals may be found ineligible for unemployment benefits during the summer months if they are given reasonable assurance in a written form. The forms of assurance that are acceptable include: contract, letter of reasonable assurance, board approval.
Reasonable assurance is only valid from the date it is actually given to the employee, so it is best to provide the assurance prior to the last date of the current school year. It should be noted that reasonable assurance does not apply during the active school year. It is only applicable during breaks between terms, i.e., winter, spring, and summer break.