Guidance For Educational Institutions

You may have heard that a recent change in Illinois law allows non-professional academic employees at a public or private school, college, or university (custodian, teacher’s aide, cafeteria worker, bus driver, security staff, clerical worker, etc.) to use their academic wages to establish unemployment benefits during the summer months and during vacation breaks and holidays this year. This change in the law is limited to March 15, 2020, through January 2, 2021.

Please note that this change in Illinois law does not apply to instructional, principally administrative, or research employees including but not limited to teachers, counselors, principals, vice principals, and deans (“professional academic employees”). Federal law does not allow professional academic employees unemployment benefits between terms or during vacation breaks or holidays when they have a contract or reasonable assurance of returning to their position when school resumes.

Another change to Illinois law allows educational institutions to be non-charged for the unemployment charges for non-professional academic employees from March 15, 2020, through January 2, 2021. This will be processed in conjunction with the quarterly Statement of Amount Due for Benefits Paid (form BEN-118R) if your educational institution is a reimbursable employer, or a Statement of Benefit Charges (form BEN-118) if it pays contributions. You will receive information in August from IDES detailing how taxable employers will not be charged for the unemployment charges, and reimbursable employers will be not be charged 50% and the process for federal reimbursement of the remaining 50%.

Given that the Act allows benefits to unemployed non-professional academic employees between terms and during vacation breaks and holidays this year, a protest filed on the basis that such employees cannot receive unemployment during these periods will not be adjudicated. The “between terms denial” provisions required by federal law remain for professional employees who have reasonable assurance they will be employed next term. If you provide IDES with the information requested below, there will be no need to file a separate response to a professional employee’s claim for benefits. We strongly urge you to keep these points in mind when determining whether to protest a specific claim.


*ACTION REQUESTED*

IDES is asking for the help of each educational institution in the State. The Academic Personnel Reporting form should be used by administrators to voluntarily notify IDES of “professional academic personnel who have reasonable assurance to return to work in the next academic year”, which will assist the Agency’s ability to process claims more expeditiously and accurately. The guidance also contains details about how school districts will be non-charged for COVID-19 related unemployment costs.

  1. Download the Academic Personnel Reporting Form
    • List all professional staff engaged in an instructional, principally administrative, or research capacity in your school or district since March 1, 2020.
    • Only include those who currently have reasonable assurance to return to employment in the next academic year, and indicate if the assurance was in writing, oral, or implied.
    • Provide a short description of the assurance given to the employee. Do not include non-professional staff such as custodian, teacher’s aide, cafeteria worker, bus driver, security staff, clerical worker, etc. Submitting this spreadsheet will be treated as your “between and within terms” protest (Section 612 of the Unemployment Insurance Act) if an individual listed on the spreadsheet files for unemployment benefits, so there will be no need to file a separate Section 612 protest for that individual.
  2. Submit the completed form using the File Transfer Utility Tool - the State's secure portal for sending data.
    • In section 1, DES.AcademicPersonnel@illinois.gov as the recipient email address.

BECAUSE OF THE CONFIDENTIAL NATURE OF THE INFORMATION, PLEASE USE THE FILE TRANSFER UTILITY TOOL AND DO NOT SEND DIRECTLY TO THE EMAIL ADDRESS.

Thank you for your assistance. This process will assist you, your employees, and IDES in these matters.