SAN FRANCISCO – An appellate court has ruled to deny unemployment benefits to paraprofessional and
substitute teachers during the summer.
The United Educators of
San Francisco (UESF), along with the union organization AFL-CIO and California
Teachers Association filed the lawsuit against Unemployment Insurance Appeal
Board on behalf paraprofessional and substitute teachers, who are part of a union
and don’t work during the summer.
paraprofessional and substitute teachers, under the lawsuit, had received
reasonable assurance of employment for the following school year, which begins
in the fall. The court ruled that summer school is not an academic term,
denying unemployment benefits to both paraprofessional and substitute teachers
as this doesn’t constitute loss of employment for time when they would be
“Over the course of the
summer they (paraprofessional and substitute teachers) don’t work and are financially
strapped over the summer,” Matthew Hardy, communications director at UESF, told
the Northern California Record. “Several of our folks had been applying for
unemployment over the summer and came to us for assistance to help them with
While the plaintiffs
lost the decision in court, they haven’t decided on the next plan of action, which
may include an appeal to the courts.
“Right now where a point where we
evaluating whether or not to appeal it,” said Hardy. “That decision has not
been made yet.”
benefits to paraprofessional and substitute teachers can be detrimental to
their financial situation as they have no income coming in during the summer
months when school is not in session.
“It potentially means that they’re not
going to get benefits,” said Hardy. “Obviously for folks that are struggling to
get by, this might cause a severe difficulty in their pocketbooks and their
ability to pay their rent and get by.”
While no doubt disappointed
with the ruling, UESF said many of these unemployment cases are being won by
the teaching industry.
“It’s just a difference of opinion of the reading of the
law,” said Hardy. “Because of these reasonable assurance letter that they get
for next year, the folks in our organization working on this believe that the
law is clear that is says that this qualifies them for unemployment. They’ve
gone ahead and contested a lot of these cases and have won many of them. People
have been successful in filing for unemployment. I would say it’s not 100
For the ruling, the appeals court said the language in the statute unambiguously provided that paraprofessional
and substitute teachers are not eligible for unemployment benefits during the
summer months, even with a letter of assurance for employment the following
fall, regardless if the school district offers a summer session or not.