Pledge To Support Contingent Faculty Unemployment Claims
Institutional policies regarding unemployment claims by workers, including contingent* faculty, often result in initial denial of claims based on purported “reasonable assurance” of continued employment. Such workers are then required to go through a lengthy and often costly appeals process in order to secure their unemployment benefits. While the CARES Act expands access to unemployment benefits for “typically excluded workers,” which should cover contingent faculty, we anticipate that many contingent faculty are in danger of being improperly denied based even on that designation because they are not specifically named in the law and because of the inconsistent application of federal unemployment law to contingent faculty claims across the country.
Therefore, in the interest of expediting access to needed benefits, New Faculty Majority and Tenure for the Common Good call on college and university administrators, tenured faculty, and others to pledge your support for contingent faculty access to unemployment benefits in one or more of the following ways.
The Pledge (See below to sign on behalf of your institution)
Our institution pledges to support unemployment insurance claims filed by contingent faculty for at least the foreseeable future. In cases where the language of “reasonable assurance” protects health benefits beyond the current term, we agree not to take a position on claims.
Other Ways You Can Help (See below to pledge to take individual action.)
If you do not have the authority to make this your institution’s official policy, you can still support contingent faculty claims in the following ways:
1. If you are a department head or contingent faculty hiring manager, provide claimants with emails stating specifically that they do not have reasonable assurance of continued employment. Contingent faculty can include this documentation with their claims.
2. If you are a tenured faculty member, you can provide a statement for claimants to submit that explains that contingent faculty, unlike tenured faculty, do not have reasonable assurance of continued employment. (State unemployment agencies often do not understand the difference between tenure-line and contingent faculty.)
3. If you are a student or staff member or community member, write to the institution and demand that it support contingent faculty unemployment claims.
4. If you belong to a union, ask your union leadership to support the pledge and these requests, even if your own membership is not affected.
In addition, we invite you to join us in contacting state and federal legislators to demand that PUA guidelines on eligibility of “typically excluded workers” specifically include workers who are denied benefits on the basis of purported “reasonable assurance.” Strongly supporting contingent faculty access to unemployment benefits, especially during a national crisis, is simply the right thing to do.
*We use the term “contingent” inclusively: adjunct, non-tenure-track, lecturer, visiting professor, etc.
Pledge of Support for Contingent Faculty Unemployment Claims
Click here to pledge to support unemployment insurance claims filed by contingent faculty for at least the foreseeable future.