Labor Dept clarifies unemployment standards for adjuncts

Dive Brief:

  • Adjunct faculty members will have an easier time of collecting unemployment from states, thanks in part to new guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor outlining new rules for part-time faculty members.
  • Instructors who can prove that they received reasonable assurance of employment from an authorized hiring designee to work the same job in the following semester for at least 90% of the pay previously earned have a right to claim unemployment benefits under the new rules.
  • Faculty who worked at two or more institutions also have new protections based upon the prerequisites, but graduate students do not have the same protections at the institution at which they may be enrolled.

Dive Insight:

The new guidance on unemployment benefits ushers in a new consideration for campuses already in limbo about overtime rules and facing potential labor unionization efforts from adjunct faculty members and graduate students. For college leaders, making financial decisions to cover benefits and potential pay increases are nearly impossible, given the volatility of enrollment and subsidies for student education.

The delicate financial times demand that presidents and chancellors look closely at which programs are essential to accreditation and industrial needs. Those programs which cannot attract respectable levels of grant or private funding should be under consideration for consolidation or termination, in order to strengthen other programs which justify rising costs for personnel.

Filed Under: Higher Ed Policy & Regulation
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