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Unemployment Charges FAQ

(Information provided by NSN Employer Services, IASB's endorsed provider for unemployment cost containment)

Who is liable to pay unemployment charges?
Illinois is unique in using a 30-day rule to determine which employer will be charged for an unemployment claim. In Illinois the employer who pays the claim will be the most recent 30-working-day employer when the separation from that employer was qualifying. Qualifying separations can include lack of work, reduction in hours or other chargeable situations. When a claim is filed, the state can go back to the beginning of the employee's base period to tally 30 working days.

If an employee works for a school district for 30 working days, and becomes unemployed for a qualifying reason, then the school district can be charged for the entire claim.

How does the state determine the benefit amount to be paid? Does it depend on how much we paid the employee?
The weekly benefit amount is based on past earnings from all employers. The benefit charge is then paid by the last 30-day employer.

Can someone collect wages and unemployment at the same time?
An eligible claimant can earn wages up to 50 percent of their weekly benefit and still collect unemployment.

What happens when we discharge someone?
In order to protest a discharge successfully, the employer must prove willful misconduct. The burden of proof is on the employer to demonstrate:

  • the employee knows what is expected.
  • the employee was counseled or warned.
  • the employee knows the consequences of their actions, including that they may be discharged if the behavior continues.
  • the employee is treated fairly and consistently with others.

In proving misconduct the employer must provide a detailed description of the final triggering incident leading to discharge as well as a record of progressive discipline. Good documentation is critical in discharge situations.

If someone quits can they collect unemployment?
If an employee quits then that employee must prove that the reason for quitting is attributable to the employer. The employer will usually be charged for changes in job duties, hours, pay, or location. When an employee quits the employer should obtain a letter of resignation or document an exit interview to solidify the employee's reason for leaving.

What about part-time or on-call employees, or substitute teachers? Are they eligible for unemployment?
An employee is eligible to collect benefits for any week they did not work and did not receive wages. There is an exception for school employees who do not work during normal school breaks or vacation periods. Over the summer break, many school districts provide a letter to employees that gives a reasonable assurance of work when school reconvenes.

It is possible to be relieved of charges if a school district offers the same employment and if the hours of work do not fluctuate.

Are temporary employees eligible for unemployment?
A temporary employee can be eligible to collect unemployment when an assignment ends; and the last 30-day employer would be liable for those charges. This can happen even when it is understood that the position is temporary, such as coaching staff or a temporary teacher.

If you have any questions or want more information please contact Jorie Cummis at NSN Employer Services at 312/469-1977 or by email,


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