Feb. 2017 Advocate: Adjuncts still eligible for Unemployment


What’s new with Unemployment Insurance Benefits for part-time faculty?

by Monica Malamud, AFT 1493 President

What’s new with Unemployment Insurance Benefits for part-time faculty?  In one word:  nothing.
As part of a weekly update email sent to all employees in late January, Cañada College President Jamillah Moore notified staff of a Department of Labor advisory letter issued on December 22, 2016.

The advisory ( https://wdr.doleta.gov/directives/attach/UIPL/UIPL_5-17.pdf ) provides guidelines for the interpretation of how unemployment compensation applies to public education workers.  This unemployment insurance program letter, UIPL 5-17, aims to provide clarification and further examples beyond what was stated three decades ago, in the UIPL 4-87, an advisory letter on the same subject issued on December 24, 1986.

Even though this recent advisory is a newly written document, it does not reference any recent changes in the law.  In fact, among the twelve references cited, only one is post-1987, and it is another advisory letter dated 1993.

In California, there is case law on the matter of unemployment insurance benefits for part-timers:  the 1989 ruling known as the “Cervisi decision”.  This case, which Cervisi (a part-timer at CCSF), with the assistance of the California Federation of Teachers (CFT), won against the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board, clearly establishes that a part-timer is eligible to receive unemployment benefits at the end of an academic term.

The letter from the Department of Labor may make it easier for part-timers in most other states to receive their unemployment benefits, but it has no effect in California, because of the Cervisi court ruling, nor in Washington, because there is state legislation on this matter.  AFT 1493 has verified this with the legal department of the AFT in Washington D.C.

In summary, part-timers in our District and all other community colleges in California still qualify for unemployment insurance benefits.