Even if you have received a tentative offer of employment for the next semester, you are entitled to apply for unemployment benefits over the break immediately upon completion of your last working day of the semester.

Adjunct instructors are considered at-will employees, because despite the “tentative assignment offer” one may receive, this is not legally considered a “reasonable assurance of employment.”

This means over the winter and summer breaks, adjuncts who are either fully unemployed or underemployed can be entitled to unemployment benefits through the Employment Development Department. The benefit provides you a percentage of your income each week.

This benefit is the result of CFT’s landmark victory in Cervisi v. California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board. In 1989, CFT mounted a legal challenge to the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board and won.

After part-time French instructor Gisele Cervisi and other part-timers at City College of San Francisco were denied unemployment benefits at the end of an academic term, the so-called “Cervisi ruling” held that temporary (i.e., part-time) faculty are eligible for unemployment benefits between academic terms because they do not have “reasonable assurance of reemployment” given that future assignments are contingent upon enrollment, funding, or “bumping” by other faculty members.

In order to apply, you must file a claim online with the EDD. All claims are processed electronically and any necessary paperwork is mailed to you.

If you aren’t sure what to do, or need help in applying for unemployment benefits, the union has developed a step-by-step guide to applying for unemployment benefits online. Thanks to the CFT Part-Time Faculty Committee and the AFT Guild, Local 1931, part-time faculty members can learn how to answer questions asked by the EDD, when to reference the Cervisi case, and what to say in the event of an interview with the EDD.

Find the union’s guide to applying for unemployment benefits here.