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LRAs and Summer Break

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School districts and colleges should issue a Letter of Reasonable Assurance (LRA) to noncontract employees who work less than 12 months or who may have an unpaid summer break before the upcoming school year.

All employees, including college and school district employees assigned to educational cooperatives (i.e., adult and special education) and substitutes, are entitled to file a claim for unemployment benefits with the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) upon separation from employment. TWC treats employees filing unemployment claims on breaks as laid off since this is a temporary work stoppage, although the employee has not been fired or quit work.  As a result, employees may be able to file for benefits during a scheduled break (e.g., summer vacation, winter break, Thanksgiving, spring break).


The LRA is not a guarantee of future employment or a contract; it is a statement that there is a reasonable expectation — at present — that a position will be available when school resumes for noncontract employees who work less than 12 months.

LRAs should be issued in early spring to current noncontract employees. This allows time for employees to sign and return the forms before the school or academic year ends. With­out a signed letter, unemployment benefits may be charged back to the educational entity. The signed forms should be kept on file and attached as documentation when responding to unemployment claims occurring during summer break or over holiday periods.

Failure to return a signed LRA could be considered a resignation. The model letter of reasonable assurance (LRA) found in the HR Services Resource Library (member login required) simply states failure to sign and return this letter by the designated date will be treated as a voluntary resignation. If, after follow-up, a signed LRA is not secured, the district should take appropriate action to terminate the employee for this reason. If an employee who fails to return the LRA files an unemployment claim, the district should respond to TWC by providing a copy of the unsigned letter and supporting documentation showing it was sent and not returned.

It's also a good practice to provide an LRA to new employees and secure a signed copy. Making this part of the hiring process will ensure com­plete, year-round protection from unemployment claims.

Reducing Costs

Issuing LRAs to noncontract personnel, including substitutes, is a loss-control tool that saves unemployment benefit dollars and administration time in processing and paying unnecessary unemployment claims. Ultimately, such notice may help the employer lower its annual budget for unemployment compensation costs and prevent claims that may arise due to summer break.

For more information on the impact of summer breaks on unemployment claims and LRAs, check out Unemployment Benefits in the HR Services Resource Library.   

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Lauren Wurman
Lauren Wurman
HR and Compensation Consultant

Lauren Wurman joined the HR Services team as an HR and compensation consultant in 2023. She assists with compensation plan development, training, and other HR projects. Prior to TASB, Wurman spent 18 years working in education. Most recently, she was the executive director of human resources for a Texas public school district.

Wurman holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and a master’s degree in educational administration from the University of North Texas. She also has a pHCLE certification.

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TASB HR Services supports HR leadership in Texas schools through membership offerings in specialized training, consulting, and other services.
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