Saturday, January 12, 2013

IRS goes to bat for adjunct faculty health insurance

This is one of the first things I've heard about how Obamacare will benefit part time faculty. If the Feds actually pursue this angle aggressively, it could take away a lot of the economic benefit for colleges of relying so heavily on part time faculty and maybe make them offer more full time jobs instead.

IRS: Adjunct Faculty Hours Must Be Calculated With 'Reasonable' Method
The Internal Revenue Service put colleges and universities on warning with new proposed rules issued this month, warning them not to skimp when counting the hours adjunct faculty work. The guidelines from the IRS could be critical to ensuring whether part-time college instructors receive health care benefits as new Affordable Care Act laws take effect. 
The IRS noted in the Federal Register that "educational organizations generally do not track the full hours of service of adjunct faculty, but instead compensate adjunct faculty on the basis of credit hours taught." In short, most colleges are only paying part-time instructors for time spent in a classroom, and nothing for time spent grading or preparing. 
The Treasury Department and the IRS are considering and "invite further comment on how best to determine the full-time status of employees" like educators, who may work many hours after students leave the classroom. 
Starting in January 2014, any employee working 30 hours or more per week will be considered a full-time faculty member andwill be entitled to health insurance through an employer under new federal rules, with an exception for certain small businesses. So far, several schools have cut adjuncts' hours to avoid the requirement and save cash. Matt Williams, vice president of New Faculty Majority, a group that advocates for collective bargaining rights of adjunct instructors and professors, told The Huffington Post in November he expects this type of action to happen more often. 
From the Huffington Post