January 4, 2018

Some information that give a teacher a reasonable assurance of continued employment for the purposes of Labor Law §590(10)


Some information that give a teacher a reasonable assurance of continued employment for the purposes of Labor Law §590(10)
Matter of Cieszkowska (Commissioner of Labor), 2017 NY Slip Op 08432, Appellate Division, Third Department

Labor Law §590(10) bars a professional employed by an educational institution from receiving unemployment insurance benefits during the period between two successive academic terms if the educational institution has given the professional a reasonable assurance of continued employment.

The Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board ruled that wages paid to claimant, a per diem substitute teacher [Claimant], could not be used to establish a valid original claim for unemployment insurance benefits between two successive academic terms because Claimant had received a reasonable assurance of continued employment pursuant to Labor Law §590(10). Claimant  timely asked the Board to reopen and reconsider its decision. The Board denied Claimant's application to reopen the matter and reconsider its decision and Claimant appealed the Board's rejecting Claimant's request to reopen the matter.

Noting that "A professional employed by an educational institution is precluded from receiving unemployment insurance benefits for the period between two successive academic years when he or she has received a reasonable assurance of continued employment," the Appellate Division explained that "A reasonable assurance . . . has been interpreted as a representation by the employer that substantially the same economic terms and conditions will continue to apply to the extent that the claimant will receive at least 90% of the earnings received during the first academic period."

Claimant acknowledged that the employer contacted her by letter at the end of the school year and informed her that:

[1] there would be a need for per diem substitute teachers during the next school year;

[2] that it was expected that the economic terms and conditions for employment for the upcoming year would be the same as the previous year; and

[3] that it was anticipated that there would be as much work for per diem substitute teachers during the upcoming year as in the previous year.

In consideration of these representations, the Appellate Division found that substantial evidence supports the Board's conclusion that Claimant received a reasonable assurance of continued employment at the end of the school year.

In contrast, in Matter of Papapietro (Commissioner of Labor),* the Appellate Division reversed a decision by the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board that held that a per diem teacher was ineligible to receive unemployment insurance benefits. 

In Papapietro  the court ruled that the school district had not sent any letter to the teacher, nor provided him with any other form of notice, that made a representation regarding his continued employment after a recess.

* NYPPL's summary of the Papapietro decision is posted on the Internet at https://nyppl-research.blogspot.com/2017/12/unless-employer-provides-educator-with.html,

The Cieszkowska decision is posted on the Internet at:

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