It is that “time of year”  for educational institutions to prepare for Unemployment Cost Control through the effective utilization of offers of Reasonable Assurance of Employment/Re-employment.  We offer the following insight concerning Reasonable Assurance and are available to assist or answer any questions you might have.Empty Hallway Turquoise

 As anEducational Institution” employer, the greatest opportunity for the avoidance of unemployment compensation benefits is available when “reasonable assurance” of employment is understood and properly utilized. It is for this reason that we remind and update our educational employer clients of this cost-saving measure.

1. By statute, “reasonable assurance” is available only to “Educational Institutions.”

 2. “Reasonable assurance” applies to any employee of an “Educational Institution.”

3. “Reasonable assurance” is not an absolute guarantee of employment. The different State Agencies administering claims for unemployment compensation define “reasonable assurance” as a bona fide offer of employment for the next academic term or year. Although jurisdictions might vary on the definition of bona fide, “reasonable assurance” exists when an employer has expressed its intention to employ a claimant and will make a good faith effort to do so.

4. If properly utilized, claimants/employees of an “Educational Institution” will be ineligible for unemployment compensation benefits during the period between academic terms or years, and during customary and established vacation or holiday recess periods.

5. Noteworthy is the fact that, even in jurisdictions known to liberally interpret its statute in favor of claimants/employees, the statutory provisions involving “reasonable assurance” are generally interpreted in favor of “Educational Institution” employers.

6. The proper utilization of “reasonable assurance” requires an affirmative act on behalf of the “Educational Institution” employer signifying its intent to employ/rehire the claimant.

Although there are jurisdictions that recognize verbal as well as written assurance of its intent, we strongly recommend that any assurance of employment is given in writing and whenever possible be able to prove the “offer” by certification and written acknowledgment by the claimant.

7. The offer of “reasonable assurance” of employment should be to the same or similar position.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO:

 1.    Be able to support and document that your offers of reasonable assurance were based on sound judgment and were reasonable in light of historical patterns, customary trend, and current statistical data involving:

a.     Overall employment

b.    Student enrollment

c.     Mandated programs

d.    Attrition

e.     Expansion or reduction of programs

f.     Active collective bargaining agreements

g.     Budgetary data

h.    Availability of funding

NOTE: Offers of employment contingent upon fulfillment of certain preconditions (funding, enrollment) may jeopardize an offer of reasonable assurance of employment unless it can be shown that the conditions are not likely to affect the claimant.

2.    With the exception of educational institution employees already protected by contract or tenure, you should provide Reasonable Assurance to employees, both professional and nonprofessional, who can be given a “bona fide” offer of re-employment to the same or similar capacity for the ensuing academic term or year.

3.    You should provide written notice to each individual chosen to receive reasonable assurance. It is best to give reasonable assurance notices, in person, and as early as possible, preferably prior to closing for the summer.

4.    The opportunity to offer Reasonable Assurance of re-employment, however, does not end on the last day of school. Reasonable Assurance can be provided at any time up to the commencement of classes in September.

5.    If the reasonable assurance letters cannot be given in person but must be mailed, we advise you to mail the letters certified return receipt requested. The expense of the mailing will be far less than the potential cost of unemployment benefits if notification of reasonable assurance cannot otherwise be proven. For example, some of our municipal employer clients publish lists of those employees with reasonable assurance of re-employment in local newspapers.

6.    The date of the notification is important. If at all possible, you should have the employee receiving the reasonable assurance, in person, sign for and date the written notification of reasonable assurance. If the said employee refuses to sign the letter of reasonable assurance, the individual giving the notice should acknowledge the refusal, “employee refused to sign,” and then sign and date the letter personally.

If the notification can’t be given in person and must be mailed, then the date of receipt becomes the date of notification. (Generally, the State Agency recognizes a time limit of not more than two days from the date mailed as the date of receipt.)

The burden of proof rests with the employer to show that reasonable assurance was given.

7.    Notify Corporate Cost Control when anyone receives reasonable assurance. We will immediately notify the State Agency on your behalf and audit your account to safeguard that you are not charged for unemployment compensation beyond the date of notification of reasonable assurance of re-employment.

REMEMBER: If a challenge is made to your offer of Reasonable Assurance and you are unable to establish that your offer is bona fide, the potential cost for unemployment compensation can be considerable. In addition, if the employee is not employed at the commencement of the next academic term or year, most jurisdictions provide by statute the remedy of retroactive benefits for that period of disqualification served as a result of the initial offer of reasonable assurance.

THE COST: For example, in most jurisdictions, a teacher earning an average weekly wage of $800 would if otherwise eligible collect $400 per week in unemployment benefits. Realizing that the customary summer recess period is at least ten weeks, the potential cost of unemployment compensation would be $4,000. Multiply this figure by the number of employees for whom you can’t sustain “reasonable assurance,” and you will realize the true financial impact.

If you have any questions, please contact your Account Executive or by telephone (800)207-6926 or contact@corporatecostcontrol.com.

 


Contact CCC to see how we can save your organization time and money.
Contact our Sales Team
(800) 207-6926

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