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As anEducational Institution” employer the greatest opportunity for 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”.
  1. “Reasonable assurance” applies to any employee of an “Educational Institution”.
  1. “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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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 jurisdictions recognize verbal as well as written assurance of its intent, we strongly recommend that any assurance of employment be given in writing and whenever possible be able to prove the “offer” by certification and/or written acknowledgment by the claimant.

  1. 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:
  1. overall employment
  2. student enrollment
  3. mandated programs
  4. attrition
  5. expansion or reduction of programs
  6. active collective bargaining agreements
  7. budgetary data
  8. availability of funding

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

  1. With the exception of educational institution employees already protected by contract or tenure, you should provide Reasonable Assurance to employees, both professional and non professional, who can be given a “bona fide” offer of re-employment to the same or similar capacity for the ensuing academic term or year.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. In the event that 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.

Questions?  Contact CCC at contact@corporatecostcontrol.com or (800)207-6926


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