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South Carolina Legislator to Focus on Jobless Benefits for Substitute Teachers

Greenville News (South Carolina) (04/30/12)

South Carolina lawmakers are moving to prevent substitute teachers from collecting unemployment benefits for being out during school breaks, such as summer recess. Though South Carolina teachers, including substitutes, are already forbidden by law from collecting unemployment when they are not working during holiday, spring, or summer breaks, the law refers to teachers employed by school systems, and some staffing companies are now employing hundreds of substitute teachers, making the teachers exempt from the unemployment law.

Jim McIntire, a vice president for Kelly Services Inc., which provides 250-300 substitutes each day in several South Carolina school districts, says the issue of whether such teachers can collect unemployment has surfaced in other states where the company employs the teachers. “That is why we are supporting this legislation in South Carolina,” McIntire says. “We are trying to take steps so it doesn’t become a big problem. There are some states where it is a significant problem for us.” Kelly Services coordinates the use of substitutes with school districts that use its services, significantly increasing the percentage of teaching posts that are filled each day to about 98%.