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THE FACTS Winter 2003 (Un) Employment Insurance for School Board Workers
Don’t Lose Income on Lay-off

Ten month CUPE school board members who are laid off for the spring, summer and Christmas school breaks are eligible to receive Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits for those periods. This fact sheet offers suggestions to help ensure school board members’ UI claims are approved.

UI is Designed to Bridge Periods of Layoff for Workers

Most teachers are paid annual salaries paid over 12 months. However, many CUPE members are 10-month employees paid by the hour, who depend on UI for income during the periods when they are laid off.

We’ve learned through experience that collective agreement language can help ensure that UI approves school board members’ claims.

A CUPE Collective Agreement Checklist

The following examples can help locals negotiate language that will facilitate approval of UI claims:

Use hourly rates, rather than annual rates, in the Wage Schedule.

Use “10 month hourly wage paid over 10 months”, (Do not use “annual” employee when referring to employees working 10 months).

Ensure Employers issue Records of Employment (ROE) for summer, spring and Christmas breaks.

“The Employer will issue a Record of Employment within five (5) working days of the last day of work in accordance with the appropriate legislation.” [CUPE 4400 - Toronto District School Board (Caretakers, Maintenance and Stock-keepers)]

Negotiate clear language for Automatic Layoff and Recall including a clear definition of layoff.

“Employees who work on the basis of the school year shall be deemed to be laid off for the school summer closure. Recall following school closures shall be automatic unless the Board has served a termination or indefinite lay off notice pursuant to provincial law. This Article will serve as notice of layoff and recall for the school closure periods during the term of this Agreement.” (similar language from CUPE 3681 - Potashville School Division)

“A layoff shall be defined as a reduction in the work force or a reduction in the regular hours of work as defined in this agreement. A layoff can be permanent, temporary, prolonged and /or indefinite.”

Consider language that states that benefits are maintained, but do not accumulate or accrue during Christmas, Spring and Summer breaks.

Include language that states that Service is to be interrupted during breaks and re-credited upon recall.

“For unpaid school breaks, employees shall have their service interrupted, however, the service for the unpaid leave period will be re-credited once the employee is re-called” (proposed language).

It is recommended that collective agreements not contain language that refers to employees taking their vacation during the summer. Such language can be used by UI to deny claims.

For a more detailed discussion of how to address unemployment insurance problems check out CUPE’s Guide to Unemployment Insurance available at www.cupe.ca or by writing to CUPE Research Branch, 21 Florence St., Ottawa, K2P 0W6, or e-mail researchbranch@cupe.ca.

1 The “old” term of Unemployment Insurance is used instead of “Employment Insurance”, since Unemployment more clearly outlines what the insurance is paid for.


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Empl Ins-Sept 17-ver2.doc