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Reduction in Force and Unemployment Claims FAQ

What Impact can a Layoff have on a District Unemployment Account?

The state of Illinois and the economy have taken quite a toll on school districts this past year. Feeling the crunch, school districts have been forced to make significant cutbacks up to and including staff. But what can a school district in Illinois expect to pay when a layoff occurs and an unemployment claim is filed?

First, Illinois charges one employer for the entire unemployment claim. That employer is the last employer to employ the claimant for 30 working days. It is possible for more than one employer to fall in this category so the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) will determine the most recent employer to be liable for the claim.

The next question is what the unemployment claim will cost the school district? This can be difficult to determine accurately since there can be a number of unknown factors making up the weekly benefit amount. When a claim is filed IDES establishes a benefit year and determines the base period for the claimant. The chargeable base period is the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters for the claimant. The wages paid to the claimant in those four quarters will determine the weekly benefit amount available for the unemployment claim. It may be difficult to determine those wages depending on how long the district employed the claimant.

A claimant can receive a minimum of $1,326 to a maximum of $13,806 in benefits if they were to collect the full 26 weeks available to them in Illinois. This does not included extended benefits, which currently is not charged back to the employer.

At the end of each calendar quarter IDES notifies employers of the benefits paid to former employees against their account. If the employer is reimbursing (most school districts in Illinois have elected this option) then a check needs to be mailed to IDES to cover the benefits paid for the quarter within a specified time period. For the tax paying employers the benefits will impact the following year unemployment tax rate which is normally mailed out December 1, of each year.

It is important to note if school district personnel have been given a reduction in force notification they will be eligible to begin collecting unemployment benefits during the summer break provided all other qualifications have been met. Claimants will continue to be eligible until they return to full employment.

Questions regarding a specific district can be directed to Marty Nagle at NSN Employer Services, 708.478-8051, or email him at:


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