Statement from Georgia Department of Labor Commissioner Mark Butler:
"For the past several years, school bus drivers, cafeteria workers, crossing guards and pre-kindergarten employees not employed by a public school system were able to collect unemployment benefits during summer months - this included private school employees and people working for private companies contracting with public schools. This policy, unfortunately, conflicted with federal and state laws.
"The law requires us to treat all educational workers fairly and the same. When reviewing our educational worker policy and US Department of Labor's interpretation of reasonable assurance, we determined that a rule change was necessary to be in compliance with the law. Georgia Department of Labor rules must comply with existing law. To effectively serve as stewards of unemployment-tax money, the rule regarding summertime unemployment benefits had to be changed.
"Teachers were not previously allowed to receive unemployment insurance benefits during regularly scheduled breaks in work. Non-teaching educational employees, such as school bus drivers, cafeteria workers and crossing guards must be treated the same as all other educational employees such as teachers, substitute teachers and administrators. An educational worker, unemployed during a summer or customary break with reasonable assurance to return to the same or similar job for the next school term, is not entitled to benefits.
"Our limited resources for unemployment benefits are reserved for people who have lost their job through no fault of their own and are seeking another job. I am hopeful that the coming months will bring greater prosperity for all Georgians."