Reasonable Assurance of Returning to Work

In Glassmire v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 856 A.2d 269 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2004), the Board held that the claimant, an instructor at a community college, was ineligible for benefits under Section 402.1(1) of the Law. The legal issue on appeal to this Court was whether the claimant had received "reasonable assurance" of returning to work after the summer break. Claimant argued, inter alia, that the Board erred by failing to apply another guideline of the U.S. Labor Department, UIPL 4-87, to its interpretation of "reasonable assurance." In rejecting the claimant's argument, we noted that in the "system of cooperative federalism" of unemployment insurance, Pennsylvania's only obligation under Federal Unemployment Tax Act, 26 U.S.C. 3301-3320, (FUTA) was to enact a "between and within terms denial provision" similar to 26 U.S.C. 3304(a)(6)(A)(i). Glassmire, 856 A.2d at 274-275. Our General Assembly has satisfied that requirement, which is more accurately described as a prerequisite to the receipt of federal funding, by enacting Section 402.1 of the Law. A federal Unemployment Insurance Program letter, issued to help states interpret FUTA, is simply "not binding authority upon this Court or the agencies of this Commonwealth since it is merely an administrative interpretation of federal law." Id. at 275.