Palm Beach State College is the latest to announce it will begin limiting the hours adjunct instructors can work in order to avoid new requirements under the Affordable Care Act.
The college told employees in December it will limit adjunct faculty to no more than three classes and a maximum of 30 hours per week, which would require the college to provide health insurance, according to a letter obtained by The Huffington Post.
"All of us want to ensure that we have enough adjuncts to staff classes, but we are faced with new rules," a letter circulated on the Boca Raton campus stated.
Under the new federal rules included in the Affordable Care Act, sometimes called Obamacare, any employee who works 30 hours or more per week will be considered a full-time and subject to employer provided health insurance.
"[I]n essence," the letter said, "adjuncts can only work three-fifths of a full-time faculty load."
Many restaurants, heavily reliant on part-time employees who work nearly full-time schedules, have already begun scaling back the hours they permit employees to work in order to avoid this requirement.
The Internal Revenue Service recently issued new guidelines on how to approach counting hours worked by adjunct instructors, specifically saying colleges need to include time spent grading and preparing for class.
Part-time faculty already earn roughly one-fourth of what tenure-track professors bring home, according to the American Association of University Professors. In 1969, "78 percent of instructional staff comprised tenured or tenure-track professors," with the rest being adjuncts, according to Inside Higher Education. Today. Those statistics have essentially flipped, and now only a third are tenured faculty.
Officials with PBSC did not issue a comment by press time.
Read the letter sent to adjunct instructors at the Boca Raton, Fla. campus below:
Yesterday we received an e-mail from Human Resources advising us of important changes to adjunct teaching loads. I am sharing this information with you since it affects the number of classes you can teach for us. If any changes occur, we will keep you informed.
“Now that we are certain that we must implement the Patient Protection Affordability Care Act (Obamcare), we must limit the amount of classes that adjuncts teach. Effective the Spring term, 2013, credit adjuncts cannot teach more than 27 points per term (Spring, Summer and Fall), or a total of no more than 81 points in a calendar year. The total of 81 points per calendar year applies to classes and assignments at all campus. (Please note that contact hours for credit classes are not the only hours that we must account for; we have to factor in prep, grading, etc., and, in essence, adjuncts can only work three-fifths of a full time faculty load.)”
[my comment: reminiscent of the three-fifths compromise of 1787, regarding the slave population. If anyone cared, this abhorrent slur would be called out.]
For PSAV adjuncts, they can teach no more than 480 contacts hours per term (Spring, Summer and Fall).
All of us want to ensure that we have enough adjuncts to staff classes, but we are faced with new rules. If you have already been scheduled for a 4th class and we have made that commitment, we will honor it for spring semester. However, adjuncts may not teach more than a total of 81 points next calendar year (January - December 2013).
Do you work in higher education, and have been told your college will begin limiting the hours you can work to avoid new rules from the Affordable Care Act? Send a tip to tyler.kingkade[at]huffingtonpost.com.