Select Page

Legislative Update


DWD explains delays in processing UI claims, says payments to start this week

by | May 20, 2020 | Legislative Update Blog, State Issue | 0 comments

With school districts’ physical facilities closed for pupil instruction and extracurriculars due to the public health emergency, school boards have faced some difficult choices regarding support staff members whose job functions were tied more closely to school facilities being open.  In some cases, such support staff have been furloughed or laid off.  Many of those have experienced lengthy delays in receiving unemployment insurance (UI) checks. 

In response to concerns from board members, the WASB GR Team requested assistance from the governor’s office and received the following explanation from DWD Secretary Caleb Frostman:

“School-year education employment can create UI benefit eligibility issues for teachers, faculty, and other school-year employees. These employees generally do not qualify for unemployment benefits during scheduled breaks in the school year when they have a contract or “reasonable assurance” of returning to similar work after the vacation or at the start of the next term. For school-year employees with other non-school year employment, DWD can pay benefits during these periods from other employers only if an employee has qualifying wages for a claim based on employment from the other employers alone.

“When there is a break during the school year, DWD investigates whether “reasonable assurance” exists for an employee to return to the same or similar employment after the break period and if the wages from the school are usable in a claim during the school’s customary breaks. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic hit right around spring break periods for many schools, which required DWD to place holds on and individually investigate all claims for educational employees. Upon receiving guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), DWD has determined that there is no reasonable assurance, as many schools closed right after or before the break. DWD released educational employment holds on all claims on Monday, May 18 and is paying benefits this week. (Please note that some claims had additional issues that require investigation. We continue to address applications in the order in which they are received.)

“Looking ahead to summer break, educational employment holds will be placed for the week of June 8, 2020. As advised by DOL, DWD will have to investigate the summer break period and determine whether educational employees who file claims have reasonable assurance they will return to their position during the next term.”

We hope this information will be helpful to school leaders in communicating with their staff members about the delays.

 

A number of school board members concerned about lengthy delays support staff 

 

From the Department of Workforce Development (DWD):

School-year education employment can create UI benefit eligibility issues for teachers, faculty, and other school-year employees. These employees generally do not qualify for unemployment benefits during scheduled breaks in the school year when they have a contract or “reasonable assurance” of returning to similar work after the vacation or at the start of the next term. For school-year employees with other non-school year employment, DWD can pay benefits during these periods from other employers only if an employee has qualifying wages for a claim based on employment from the other employers alone.

 When there is a break during the school year, DWD investigates whether “reasonable assurance” exists for an employee to return to the same or similar employment after the break period and if the wages from the school are usable in a claim during the school’s customary breaks. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic hit right around spring break periods for many schools, which required DWD to place holds on and individually investigate all claims for educational employees. Upon receiving guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), DWD has determined that there is no reasonable assurance, as many schools closed right after or before the break. DWD released educational employment holds on all claims on Monday, May 18 and is paying benefits this week. (Please note that some claims had additional issues that require investigation. We continue to address applications in the order in which they are received.) 

Looking ahead to summer break, educational employment holds will be placed for the week of June 8, 2020. As advised by DOL, DWD will have to investigate the summer break period and determine whether educational employees who file claims have reasonable assurance they will return to their position during the next term.

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Subscribe to one or both WASB blogs!

* indicates required
WASB Blogs

Follow WASB on Twitter

WI School Boards

The WASB has scheduled a complimentary webinar next week about safely returning to work during a pandemic. It will be held on Wednesday, June 10 at noon. No registration is required. Learn more at our webinars page: wasb.org/meeting-and-ev… pic.twitter.com/NV2RmDNBQB

Like WASB on Facebook