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School Employees

Under federal law, educational employees are not eligible for unemployment compensation (UC) benefits during traditional break periods in situations where they have "reasonable assurance" that they will continue working after the break.  

In the Unemployment Compensation (UC) program, school employee and supportive employee claims have specific eligibility requirements. You are still considered to be employed when on a break or recess. Because you will return to work, you are not unemployed through no fault of your own. 

Unless stated otherwise, any reference made about a school employee also applies to school supportive employees. 

Please note: * The Pennsylvania Office of Unemployment Compensation (UC) determines all school employee unemployment compensation eligibility on a case-by-case basis. 

School employees who are eligible: 

School employees may receive UC benefits between school years if paid on a 9-month/36-week pay cycle, and: 

  1. They are terminated for something other than willful misconduct;   
  1. They quit their job due to a necessitous and compelling reason;   
  1. They are demoted for reasons other than willful misconduct, reject the demotion, and are terminated or deemed to have resigned their position;  
  1. They are not provided with a job offer for the following semester

School employees who are not eligible: 

A school employee is not eligible if they receive reasonable assurance in written, verbal, or implied form that provides a notice stating it is the "intent of the district to have the individual return in the same capacity during the upcoming school year or term."   

This means that a person with reasonable assurance, no matter what position they are in, understands that while they will be unemployed during the district's traditional break, they will be returning to work for the district when the next school year or term resumes.

Determine your employee type:  

Please review the employee type categories carefully to ensure you categorize yourself, correctly -- For example, some school personnel are employed by the school, while others work for a different organization. 

School Employee Categories
ProfessionalSchool employees serving in an instructional, research, or principle administrative capacity
NonprofessionalSchool employees serving as:
  • Bus drivers
  • Janitors
  • Cafeteria workers
  • Maintenance workers
  • Secretaries
  • School nurses, etc.
NOTE: (When such service(s) are performed by employees of a contracted outside the company, Section 402.1 does not apply to company employees.)
ESA (employee of a governmental agency/entity established to provide services to an educational institution)Employees of intermediate units, school crossing guards, and special school police

Definitions & Additional Information 

Review definitions and Section 402.1 explanations below or review our School Employee Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for more information.


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The information provided on this site does not constitute a determination of eligibility to receive unemployment compensation.