December 2019 Advocate: Adjuncts eligible for unemployment benefits between semesters


Part-timers eligible for unemployment benefits between semesters

All part-time faculty should remember that you are eligible for unemployment compensation benefits during the winter break and over the summer, unless you are working another job between semesters or over the summer and you are earning more than your unemployment grant would be. As soon as you give your last final exam, you should contact the local Employment Development Department (EDD) office and file a claim, or reactivate the one you have from summer (if you applied then). If it is a new claim, you will have a one-week waiting period before benefits start, so do not delay. You can also claim for the period between regular term and summer school. When filling out your weekly forms, don’t forget to claim paid flex days.

When applying, tell them about all your jobs, since your benefit is based on all your income over the previous year. When they ask if you have a job to go back to after summer or winter break, answer: “Not with reasonable assurance. I only have a tentative assignment contingent on enrollment, funding and program needs.”

This is important: Do not just tell them that you have an assignment for next semester or you will be disqualified. According to the Cervisi decision of the State Court of Appeals (and the Ed. Code), part-timers, as a class, do not have “reasonable assurance” of a job and hence are eligible for benefits between terms. If questioned further, mention the Cervisi case.

Be sure to fill out all job search forms correctly, and appear as directed in person or by phone or mail. You should not have any problems, but if you are denied for any reason, contact Paul Bissember in the AFT office ( as soon as possible and the union will advise you on how to file an appeal. Don’t be reluctant to file. This is your right, not charity!