Applaud IRS For Ensuring Adjunct Benefits

Target: Steven T. Miller, Acting Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service

Goal: Thank IRS for mandating benefits for full-time adjuncts

Starting in 2014, all employees working 30 or more hours per week will be counted as full-time and entitled to health insurance under their employers. This law is part of Obama’s Affordable Health Care Act. The IRS and the Treasury Department ruled that time spent grading papers also counts as work time for teachers, which is helpful since adjuncts are generally only compensated based on the hours spent in a classroom. Adjuncts will be entitled to a policy that costs no more than 9.5% of their earnings.

Says Maria Maisto, President of the New Faculty Majority, an advocacy group for teachers, “It is helpful that the IRS is recognizing that there is a lack of uniformity in the way that adjunct work hours are currently calculated and how adjuncts are treated. This seems to be a huge step forward in the government’s education about the true nature of contingent academic work.”

Predictably, many colleges are cutting adjuncts’ hours to avoid giving them these benefits. Several colleges have also contacted the IRS asking for more specific guidelines about what constitutes work.

The effects of the law are yet to be seen, but adjuncts make an average of $2,700 per class with no benefits and have an average of $27,000 in student loan debt.

It’s a start.

Sign the petition below to show your support for this decision.


Dear Mr. Miller,

We would like to applaud you for your efforts to ensure that workers are given health care by their employers, particularly adjuncts. Adjuncts have had a difficult time making a living wage – the average pay for adjuncts is $2,700 per course – and are rarely given any kind of benefits.

It’s an especially good observation that adjuncts are currently being paid for their time in the classroom and not for their time grading papers. It’s estimated that three hours are spent outside the classroom for every hour in the classroom, so that means that an adjunct teaching a 3-hour course would actually be teaching 15 hours a week for that course, meaning that teaching 3 courses would actually be 45 hours of work. We’re glad that anyone who works 30 hours or more is entitled to benefits covered by their employer.

On behalf of the 78% of college teachers who are adjuncts, thank you.


[Your Name Here]

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One Comment

  1. I thought 30 hours is Full time equivalent. Anyone working 60% (meaning 18 hours per week under this formula) should qualify for benefits. Is that correct?

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