During a teacher’s career, there are certain times when the support of the employment insurance (EI) program is available, such as during a maternity or parental leave, when sick leave has been exhausted, for a period when compassionate care is being provided or when employment with a school board is no longer available. Qualification for EI benefits is based in part on obtaining sufficient insurable hours of work.
When a teacher ceases to work or goes on certain types of leave, employers produce a record of employment that the teacher uses for filing an EI claim. The number of hours reported by the school board on the record varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Since teacher work extends beyond regular school hours, the record may not reflect the actual amount of time worked. Many professional responsibilities can only be accomplished after school, during evenings or on weekends.
Typically, substitute teachers, part-time teachers and teachers who work only a portion of a full year are most vulnerable when it comes to being denied an EI claim due to insufficient hours.
The Alberta Teachers’ Association has assisted teachers in successfully appealing EI claims relating to a shortage of hours. Teachers whose appeals succeeded had kept accurate and detailed records of additional hours they spent outside their normally scheduled instructional hours and were able to prove that they qualified for benefits.
If you are a teacher working as a substitute, part-time or less than a full school year, you are advised to keep a record of any time worked so that if you ever file for EI and are denied benefits, you will be able to provide evidence of work you have done.
Keep an ongoing record of hours and days worked. Keep a daily planner and a copy of your school calendar and timetable. Note when you arrive at work and when you leave. Record all hours worked, including preparation time before and after school, supervision and completing report cards and time spent marking assignments at home. Where possible, have your log book hours signed by a principal or other supervisor who can certify these are hours you spent working. This log book record can be extremely helpful if you are denied EI and wish to appeal the decision.❚
For more information, visit the Service Canada or the Association’s websites, or contact the Association’s Teacher Welfare program area at 780-447-9400 (Edmonton area) or toll free at 1-800-232-7208.