May 2019 Advocate: Unemployment benefits for adjunct faculty


Part-time faculty are eligible for unemployment benefits;
Come to an AFT workshop on May 6 to learn how to apply

All part-time faculty members should remember that you are eligible for unemployment compensation benefits over the summer break and between semesters, unless you are working another job 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 Dept. (EDD) office and file a claim, or reactivate the one you have from last winter (if you applied between semesters). 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 terms and summer school.

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 break, you should answer: “Not with reasonable assurance. I only have a tentative assignment contingent on enrollment, funding and program needs.” Do not just tell them that you have an assignment for Fall or Spring or you will be disqualified. According to the Cervisi decision of the State Court of Appeals, 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 do and are denied for any reason, call the AFT office (650-574-6649) 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.

AFT Workshops on Unemployment Benefits

Join AFT for a workshop to demystify the process of applying for unemployment benefits. Learn about requirements of the EDD and the step-by-step process when applying for benefits. This workshop will benefit part-time faculty, and anyone with a reduced, cancelled, or unscheduled teaching load. On Monday, May 6th we will be holding these workshops on all campuses at the following times and locations:

  • College of San Mateo – 11:30-1:00pm, Building 16-209
  • Cañada College – 2:00-3:30pm, Building 13-117
  • Skyline College – 4:30-6:00pm, Building 1-311F

We’ve been hearing from part-time faculty about issues from the EDD asking for more interviews regarding unemployment claims. While this can increase the hoops to jump through in the process and, unfortunately delay your payment, this by no means should be seen as discrediting your claim to benefits. Our union has notified the District about these issues and we will continue to work to support faculty with EDD claims. Please let us know if you can join us at one of these workshops by emailing Paul Bissember at: