Law update for Educational Institutions
A law passed amending the Between Terms language as it relates to non-instructional staff. The Between Terms provisions affect the use of wage credits earned with educational institutions. The law is effective May 28, 2023.
What is the Between Terms provision and what does it do?
- The Between Terms provision restricts the use of wage credits from educational institutions, in calculating unemployment benefits, during the period between two academic years – most typically the summer months.
- Congress created this provision decades ago at the same time that Unemployment Insurance was extended to cover government workers (who were previously not covered by UI).
- It does not make an individual ineligible for UI benefits, per se.
- It makes the wages the applicant’s UI account would be based on unavailable during the period Between Terms, if they are going back to substantially the same job.
- Wages from other types of employment are available during the period Between Terms.
- Federal law requires that the Between Terms provisions be in place for instructional staff – this means teachers, instructors, professors, principals, etc.
- Federal law does not require that the Between Terms provisions be in place for non-instructional staff. Non-instructional staff means paraprofessionals: bus drivers, office workers, support staff, food service staff.
- Employees of educational institutions are considered laid off from their employer during the period Between Terms.
What is changing?
- The original Between Terms provision restricted the use of wage credits from educational institutions, in calculating unemployment benefits, during the period between two academic years.
- The change to the Between Terms provision removes the restriction of wage credits for non-instructional staff beginning with the 2023 Between Terms period.
- In other words, non-instructional staff who are laid off at the end of a school term will be able to use the wages that you paid them in the calculation of their benefit account, even if they are returning to the same or a similar job during the next school term.
What does this mean to an educational institution employer?
- You should expect that more applications for benefits will be filed by your non-instructional staff.
- You should expect that there will be more applications filed by instructional staff because they might not be sure if they are impacted by the law change.
- You will get more notices and more questionnaires from us:
- Because we don’t know exactly what kind of position an individual has with you, we need you to confirm whether the individual is in an instructional or non-instructional position.
- Once we confirm that the position is non-instructional, wage credits will be available – eligibility for benefits will be determined by other elements of the UI law.
- If the position is instructional, we will need to perform the analysis whether reasonable assurance of substantially similar work exists for the next year or term.
- You have 10 days to respond to our requests for information. We cannot extend that period without adversely affecting the benefits of eligible individuals. You should plan on processing the additional requests you will receive fairly quickly.
- You should expect that there will be an increase in benefit charges to your UI employer account.
- We process hundreds of thousands of applications for benefits every year, and in nearly all respects, these new applications will be no different than most we receive. However, we do expect that the first few weeks of the summer break will be busier for you (and us) and we expect that it will take a little time to settle into this new pattern of activity.
“Reimbursement” of new costs as a result of this change.
- Provisions have been made to assist school districts with increased costs associated with this law change.
- These reimbursement provisions are administered by the Minnesota Department of Education. The UI program is not involved with the reimbursement process.
- Regardless of these reimbursement provisions, you will be expected to pay your full UI bill on a quarterly basis just as you are currently doing.
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