FAQ: I’m a substitute teacher. How does this affect my benefits?
Substitute teachers provide instruction and are therefore considered professional employees of school districts. They are subject to complex federal rules about “reasonable assurance” of continued employment —essentially meaning that if their district gives them “reasonable assurance” that they will continue to have a similar job following a normally scheduled break (like summer break), they may not qualify for unemployment benefits during that break.
Defining reasonable assurance is not always straightforward. The most recent guidance from the Washington Employment Security Department provides that nonprofessional school employees do not have reasonable assurance without a specific reopening plan filed by their district. School districts “are required to adopt reopening plans through local board resolution and those plans must be on file with the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction within two weeks before the school district starts school in the fall. Until a school district files such a plan, the district will not be able to demonstrate that it is “highly likely” that a non-professional employee will have employment in the fall.”
Of note for substitute teachers: the same rule applies to professional school employees like substitute teachers who do not have a contractual commitment of continued employment.