Can teachers collect unemployment during the summer?

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Q. My daughter is a teacher and her work year is 10 months. According to her contract, she can’t collect unemployment benefits. Did the CARES Act change this for teachers?
— Worried mom

A. New Jersey teachers are paid based on an annual salary. Payroll procedures, however, vary by district.

Many teachers are paid bi-weekly on a 10-month schedule, but they may opt-into a year-round program to distribute the 10-month salary over 12 months, said Altair Gobo, a certified financial planner with U.S. Financial Services in Fairfield.

“If teachers opt for the 10-month schedule, they need to budget in order to have a ‘salary’ over the summer months,” he said. “If not, teachers may find themselves without a paycheck in the summer, thus requiring them to find part-time work.”

Because the contract is year-to-year, they are technically not unemployed during the summer months, Gobo said.

At this time, he said, it appears that full-time teachers who have an offer to return in the next semester are not eligible for unemployment benefits in New Jersey.

“We are not aware of any upcoming proposals that would alter these details during the coronavirus emergency at this time,” Gobo said.

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This story was originally published on July 20, 2020.

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