You have /5 articles left.
Sign up for a free account or log in.

The Labor Department has updated its guidance for temporary unemployment in ways that adjunct advocates say may make it easier to collect benefits between academic terms. The department’s 1986 Unemployment Insurance Program Letter doesn’t mention higher education and has long been used to deny part-time faculty members’ requests for coverage on those grounds. A newly released letter from the department “supersedes” the old guidance “and applies to all levels of education for public and nonprofit educational institutions, including primary, secondary and postsecondary education.”

The document mentions adjuncts specifically, saying that their numbers have increased significantly and that many “have contracts or offers to perform services in subsequent years or terms that are contingent on factors such as funding, enrollment and program changes.”

The New Faculty Majority, a national adjunct advocacy organization that campaigned for the updated letter, called it “long-overdue guidance to address the new reality of contingent academic employment in higher education. … [This] is a tool that adjunct faculty can use at the state level, both individually and collectively, to ensure that state agencies are correctly understanding and applying federal law.”