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School Employees: If You Lose Your Job
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  • 1. Recall Rights Unemployment BenefitsSC Code of Laws Section 59-25-415 - Priority for Employees have the right to receivecertified personnel as to rehiring within two unemployment compensation benefits after they Reduction inyears; mailing of notice of intent to rehire. receive their last paycheck. They must meet theCertified personnel who have taught in a schooldistrict for at least one year and who are statutory requirements for eligibility (able to work, available for work, and seeking work). Force anddismissed for economic reasons have priorityfor being rehired to fill any vacancy for which What Disqualifies You? Jobthey are qualified which occurs within twoyears from the date of their dismissal. A school 1. Voluntarily retiring or resigning. Lossdistrict has complied with the requirements of 2. Quitting a job without good causethis section by mailing a notice of intent to 3. Being fired for causerehire to the teachers last known address. 4. Refusing to accept a suitable job offer from a Workforce Center or employerPayment of All EarnedCompensation COBRA The Federal Consolidated Omnibus BudgetS.C. Code of Laws §41-10-10- When an employer Reconciliation Act (COBRA) allows employeesseparates an employee from the payroll for any who lose coverage due to job loss to continuereason, the employer shall pay all wages due to group coverage for a limited period of time. Thethe employee within 48 hours of the time of individual in the school district’s administrativeseparation or the next regular payday which office who handles COBRA benefits must givemay not exceed 30 days. “Wages” means all you a notice stating your right to choose toamounts at which labor rendered is continue benefits provided by the plan. You thenrecompensed, whether the amount is fixed or have 60 days to accept coverage or lose all rightsascertained on a time, task, piece, or to the benefits. Once you select COBRAcommission basis, or other method of coverage, you may have to pay 100 percent ofcalculating the amount and includes vacation, the total insurance cost, plus a two percentholiday, and sick leave payments which are due processing fee. If you do not have preexistingto an employee under any employer policy or conditions, purchasing a private temporaryemployment contract. Funds placed in pension health insurance policy may be less expensive. Ifplans or profit sharing plans are not wages you do not elect coverage within the 60-daysubject to this chapter. window, you will lose your right to COBRA coverage. Also, there is no grace period for NEA Member Assistance Program payments. Payments not made by the due date http://www.neamb.com will result in a loss of coverage. SC Retirement System COBRA FAQs: http://www.retirement.sc.gov/ http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/newsroom/fscobra.ht A Publication of ml. South Carolina State Insurance Department: The SCEA Member SC Unemployment Tel: (803) 737-6180 Advocacy Center http://dew.sc.gov/claim-land.asp
  • 2. Dear Educators, Contract Non-RenewalFor the past few years, school districts have  Consider a lower paying position for one SC Code of Laws Section 59-25-410–860. Thesestruggled with strapped budgets and there is year. This keeps your insurance and statutes provide continuing contract teachersno way to know how long this trend will benefits in place. the following rights:continue. We want to believe that school  If you do leave the district, check your 1. Priority re-employment following a RIFdistricts do the right thing when they make personnel file and get copies of anything 2. Notice of separation from employmentdecisions related to staffing levels; however, you don’t already have in your files. and opportunity for hearingthis doesn’t lessen the impact to someone  Check the state department to make sure 3. Dismissal for cause onlywho ends up without a job. The SCEA wants their records are current related to your 4. Notice of reasons for potential separationto provide you with information and guidance certificate renewal credits, evaluations, 5. Due process including:in navigating these situations. This brochure and so forth. If anything is wrong, it will 1. written notice of cause;cannot possibly address all situations but we easier to correct it before you leave. 2. written notice of opportunity forhope you will find it informative.  Seek written references from credible hearing (public or private); professionals, especially your principal. If 3. availability of subpoenas for witness your principal will give you a written attendance; reference that is positive, it is unlikely he 4. testimony under oath;If you are facing unemployment, here are or she will say anything contrary to that 5. record of proceedings;considerations. Some of these may not apply when contacted for a reference by a 6. a decision by the teacher’s boardto you. prospective hiring principal. 6. Hearing requirements include:  Download personal files and e-mail that 1. hearing held by the board within Being told you won’t have a job next year fifteen days of request upon demand; can be upsetting. How it will impact you you stored on the school computer onto your personal flash drive and remove it 2. five days written notice prior to the and your family depends on several from the school computer. hearing date; variables but for many educators, it can 3. the privilege of being present with be devastating. This emotion can make it  If you are not familiar with the district’s policy related to unused leave, ask how it counsel at the hearing; difficult to focus and know what to do will be handled. 4. the opportunity to cross-examine next. You may want to call school board  Follow up with the district about COBRA witnesses; members or call an attorney. It is 5. the opportunity to offer witnesses important to remain calm and focused benefits. Stay on top of this to avoid missteps that can jeopardize you. 6. a written decision by the board within while you process what has happened.  Make sure the district has your correct ten days following the hearing. Call The SCEA immediately. Meet with Human Resources and try to mailing address. Watch for mail from the convince them that you are an asset to district or a notice of certified mail, and the district and the children, and they  pick it up promptly. If you need help with the emotional stress, Seniority should keep you. Sell yourself. Most school districts in South Carolina treat Explore other jobs in the district that you seek the support and help you need from seniority only as a “consideration” in deciding believe you can handle with competence, family, friends or professionals. which employees will be cut in a reduction in even if it’s only for one year, to give  Contact The SCEA as soon as you receive force. The specific policy for Reduction in things a chance to improve in the notice of employment action! There is a Force is usually in the school district’s board district, or find another job. deadline for grievances and appeals. policy manual. 421 Zimalcrest Drive, Columbia, SC 229210 – 800-422-7232 – www.thescea.org