Analysis of Unemployment Benefits for Between Term Substitute Teachers

Subteach USA v. Williams, 2010 Ark. 400 (2010)

          In a recent Arkansas Supreme Court case decided on October 28th, it was held that substitute teachers who are not directly employed by an “educational institution” but by a private placement company are still disqualified from receiving between-terms (summer/winter break) unemployment benefits. 

          The appellee in Subteach USA v. Williams was a substitute teacher who filed for unemployment compensation during the summer months.  She was not directly employed by the school district but by a private employer who engaged in the hiring, training, and placement of substitute teachers.  Her argument was that she was no longer working for the school district because her assignment had ended.

          The Arkansas Supreme Court analyzed the statutory language of Ark. Code. Ann. § 11-10-509, which governs the exclusion of benefits for between term employees of educational institutions.  The statute states that “with respect to service performed in an instructional, research, or principal administrative capacity for an education institution, benefits shall not be paid based on services for any week of unemployment commencing during the period between two (2) successive academic years or terms.” 

          In an earlier decision in the same case, the Department of Workforce Services found that the appellee was not prohibited from receiving unemployment compensation during the summer because her employer was not deemed an educational institution pursuant to the statute.  The Arkansas Supreme Court, in this issue of first impression, reasoned that the appellee was employed by a private company to perform services “for” an educational institution and that it was of no relevance whether she was actually employed by the school.  Thus, the court concluded that the appellee/substitute teacher was excluded from receiving benefits by the statute.


Posted by Brandon Tittle


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