05. Denial Periods

Petrelius v. Houghton-Portage Township Schools – 5.24

Petrelius v. Houghton-Portage Township Schools, UIA
Digest No. 5.24

Section 421.27(i)(2)


Cite as: Petrelius v Houghton-Portage Township Schools, 761 N.W.2d 395 (2008).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: William M. Petrelius
Employer: Houghton-Portage Township Schools
Date of decision: November 20, 2008

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HOLDING: The district court and board of review erred in finding that claimant is eligible for unemployment benefits. The plain language of MCL 421.27(i)(2) precludes the award of unemployment benefits for any week of unemployment commencing between successive academic years under such circumstances.

FACTS: Claimant performed services for the Houghton-Portage Township Schools during two successive academic years. The period of unemployment at issue occurred between these two successive academic years. Claimant worked for the school in the first of those two years. Claimant was given reasonable assurance that he would be brought back to work in the second academic year. Claimant stated that in the years before 2003, he was employed throughout the summer. He also stated that his pay structure and benefits reflected that full-year employment.

DECISION: The Court of Appeals reversed the Board of Review’s decision. Claimant is ineligible for unemployment benefits.

RATIONALE: The only consideration necessary under MCL 421.27(i)(2) is whether the period of unemployment took place during the period between two successive academic years. MCL 421.27(i)(2) provides that “benefits shall not be paid” for any week of unemployment commencing between successive academic years.

The Court referenced its explanation of MCL 421.27(i)(2) in Adams v West Ottawa Schools 277 Mich App 461, 463, 746 N.W.2d 113 (2008): “[E]mployees working for an educational institution, who are not teachers, researchers, or principal administrators, may not receive unemployment benefits during summer break if they have a reasonable assurance that they will be working in the academic year that follows the summer break.”

Since Claimant’s layoff period in this case was during the summer break, and he had reasonable assurance that his job duties would resume in the upcoming academic year, he is not eligible for benefits. See Riekse v Grand Rapids Pub Schools, 144 Mich App 790, 792-793 (1985).

Furthermore, MCL 421.27(i)(2) does not provide an exception for employees who were offered employment for the period between two successive academic years in past years. In addition, an employee’s subjective expectations about continued employment between two successive academic years should not be considered under MCL 421.27(i)(2).

Digest author: Rita Samaan, Michigan Law, Class of 2017
Digest updated: October 30, 2017

05. Denial Periods

Billups v Howell Public Schools – 5.07

Billups v Howell Public Schools
Digest no. 5.07

Section 27(i)

Cite as: Billups v Howard Pub Schools, 167 Mich App 407 (1988).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Robert A. Billups, et al.
Employer: Howell Public Schools
Docket no.: B63 06942 R01 95895 et al.
Date of decision: March 22, 1988

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COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: When non-teachers had a tradition of working from 12-26 thru 1-1 and the collective bargaining agreement provided for a 52 week work year, they had a reasonable expectation to work during that period and the layoffs in question did not occur during an established or customary vacation period under 27(i)(2)(b).

FACTS: The claimants were custodial and maintenance employees. Their unions’ bargaining agreement with the employer provided for work on an hourly basis for 52 weeks per year not including holidays. Their work schedule included the days between Christmas and New Years, spring break, and summer vacation.

The claimants were notified of a 1 week layoff 12-26-82 thru 1-1-83. This had never occurred before during this time and the period was not an established holiday for the claimants although classes were not in session.

DECISION: The school denial period is not applicable. Claimants are entitled to benefits under Section 27(i)(2)(b) of the Act.

RATIONALE: Based upon their previous history and their collective bargaining agreement the claimants had a reasonable expectation of working between 12-26 and 1-1. While school may not have been in session, this is not the determinative factor as to what constitutes an “established and customary vacation period”. Rather it refers to periods where the employees did not traditionally work and did not have a collective bargaining agreement to work.

Digest Author: Board of Review (original digest here)
Digest Updated: