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January 04, 2011

A school employee giving reasonable assurance of continued employment is ineligible for unemployment insurance benefits between school years

A school employee giving reasonable assurance of continued employment is ineligible for unemployment insurance benefits between school years
Matter of Sultana v New York City Dept. of Educ., 2010 NY Slip Op 09598, Appellate Division, Third Department

It is “black letter law” that "A professional employee of an educational institution is precluded from receiving unemployment insurance benefits during the time between two successive academic years where the claimant has received a reasonable assurance of continued employment"

Appeal from a decision of the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board, filed May 4, 2009, which ruled that claimant was ineligible to receive unemployment insurance benefits because she had a reasonable assurance of continued employment.

Chand Sultana, a per diem substitute teacher employed by the New York City Department of Education, worked a total of 138 days during the school year. At the end of the school year Sultana received a letter from the Department “assuring her of continued employment” during the upcoming school year. The letter indicated the amount of work available and that the economic terms and conditions of employment were to be substantially the same as in the school year then ending.

Sultana applied for unemployment insurance benefits for the intervening summer but Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board determined that she was ineligible to receive them because she had received a reasonable assurance of continued employment pursuant to Labor Law §590(10).

The Appellate Division rejected Sultana’s appeal challenging the Board’s determination.
The court explained that the record indicated that a Department of Education representative testified that Sultana would have as many opportunities to work during the succeeding school year as she had the prior year inasmuch as more schools were to be opened, resulting in greater demand for substitute teachers and there had been no reduction in the budget. Such testimony, together with the letter sent to Sultana by the Department, constituted substantial evidence supporting the Unemployment Insurance Board's determination.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:
http://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/3dseries/2010/2010_09598.htm

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