An academic year at the secondary school level: Kindergarten, elementary, middle, or senior high school is generally a nine-month period when classes are held, usually beginning in August and ending in June.
Summer recess - an extended suspension of business that generally occurs beginning June through August.
- NOTE: Summer school for public school districts in Pennsylvania, grades 1 through 12, is not considered an academic term.
An academic year at the higher education level: A college or university generally has a cycle of five divisions of time during which classes are held (i.e., "terms").
In general, the five terms that may occur in a calendar year include:
- Fall (12 weeks) September – December
- Winter (12 weeks) January – April
- Spring (12 weeks) May-August
- Intersession (6 weeks) May – June
- Summer (6 weeks) July – August
The higher education academic year could also be divided into semesters:
- Two cycles of 18-week periods of instruction, quarters or trimesters
- Four cycles of 12-week instruction, or every three months.
Each cycle would have scheduled periods for the various holiday vacation periods within the cycles.
Vacation: A scheduled period during the school year in which activity is suspended.
Holiday Recess: Scheduled time off during a school year for commemorating holiday events. The secondary school year holidays generally occur on:
This section applies to employees of educational institutions or educational service agencies of the commonwealth, political subdivisions, or nonprofit organizations.
The eligibility of an employee of an educational institution during a between-terms, vacation or holiday period (i.e., "denial period") is determined under the provisions of Section 402.1 of the Pennsylvania UC Law. Under Section 402.1, wages earned by an individual as a professional or nonprofessional employee of an educational institution, or as an employee of an educational service agency (ESA), (i.e., "school wages"), are not used to determine financial eligibility during:
- Any week of unemployment commencing during the period between two successive academic years or terms when the employee performed such services in the first academic year or term and has reasonable assurance of performing such services in the second academic year or term. This rule also applies to a period of paid sabbatical leave provided for in the individual's contract.
- Any week that commences during an established and customary vacation period or holiday recess if the individual performed such services immediately before the vacation period or holiday recess and has a reasonable assurance of performing such services immediately following the vacation period or holiday recess.
NOTE: The denial provisions of Section 402.1 apply to academic-year employees only, not to year-round employees. The denial provisions of Section 402.1 apply only to regularly scheduled denial periods and only to the extent that wages earned in school employment during the claimant's base-year period affect his or her financial eligibility.
When a claimant has earned both school and nonschool wages during the base-year period and has been denied benefits under the provisions of Section 402.1, financial eligibility for the denial period must be recomputed using solely the nonschool wages. After the recomputation, a school employee who is financially eligible based solely on his or her nonschool wages may collect UC during the denial period if he or she is otherwise eligible for benefits.
Generally, if the claimant works for more than one school employer, the denial period under Section 402.1 begins with the first school out and ends with the last school back. For claimants with more than one school employer, fact-finding will be conducted with each school individually to assess where the claimant is reasonably assured to return following the break. After an investigation, wages from any base year school employer for which reasonable assurance of returning following the break has been given will be removed from the base year, as they cannot be used to establish eligibility during the break. Base year wages paid by school employers for whom the claimant has not been given reasonable assurance will remain and be used to establish eligibility during the break.
It is important to understand that eligibility must be reviewed each time a week of unemployment is claimed during one of the denial periods (i.e., multiple times during the UC benefit year – Thanksgiving holiday, Christmas holiday, between terms breaks, spring break, etc.). Fact-finding will be conducted with the claimant and the employer as to whether the claimant performed services prior to the denial period and has a reasonable assurance of providing such services, under economically equivalent terms and conditions, after the denial period.