Enacts the "Higher Education Employment Protection Act"; provides that an offer of employment or assignment made to a part-time faculty employee by a higher education institution which is contingent on enrollment, funding, or programmatic changes shall not constitute reasonable assurance of continued employment.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the labor law, in relation to unemployment insurance benefits for professional employment by certain education institutions
PURPOSE: This legislation amends the Labor Law to provide that part-time professional employment in an instructional, research, or principal administrative capacity with SUNY, CUNY and any public community college is exempt from those provisions which make eligibility for unemployment benefits contingent upon the presence or absence of reasonable assurance of continued employment.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Subdivision 10 of section 590 of the labor law is amended by adding language that says any provisions which make eligibility for benefits contingent upon the presence or absence of reasonable assurance of continued employment, shall not apply to part-time professional employment in an instructional, research or principal administrative capacity with SUNY, CUNY, and any public community colleges and entitlement of claims shall be determined in the same manner as is applicable to claimants not employed by education institutions.
JUSTIFICATION: Unemployment insurance is a benefit that is supposed to cover workers during times of unemployment when they have no income. Under current law however, many part-time faculty working in colleges and universities in New York State are unable to receive employment insurance when they have become unemployed between semesters because the college or university holds that they have a "reasonable assurance" of continuous employment under the provisions of subdivision 10 of section 590 of the Labor Law. Yet, these employees who generally work 30 weeks a year are seasonal workers, like actors, construction workers, diamond, cutters, and furriers, all of whom are eligible for benefits during periods they are not employed. These employees have no "reasonable assurance" that they will have a job when the next semester starts as that decision rests entirely with the employer and is often based on contingent factors such as enrollment, funding, and programmatic changes. In many cases, these employees, are not notified by the college or university that there is no position for them Until they Are. very close to the start of the next semester. In fact, current law provides an incentive for colleges and universities to wait as long as possible to officially disclose to part-time faculty that they will not be employed for the upcoming semester to avoid paying unemployment insurance costs, for those employed between semesters. Part-time faculty are treated unfairly under the current law as they are only eligible for unemployment insurance benefits from the time they are officially notified they are not renewed by the college or university for the next semester. It is only at this time that they can file a claim to be eligible for benefits even though they may have been out of work for months before this notification and have absolutely no control over their employment. Both the California and Washington State Legislatures have passed legislation that assures the ability of part-time professional, employees to collect benefits during periods when they are not working. This measure will help to ensure that part-time faculty members are treated equitably under the current law as other workers who have no reasonable assurance of future
employment. It is certainly reasonable and just to afford these benefits to part-time faculty who have no control over their contract employment and therefore have "no reasonable assurance" of employment.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: S. 7393 of 2012 Session
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: To be determined.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 4470 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE April 3, 2013 ___________Introduced by Sen. SAVINO -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Labor AN ACT to amend the labor law, in relation to unemployment insurance benefits for professional employment by certain education institutions THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. This act shall be known and may be cited as the "Higher Education Employment Protection Act." S 2. Subdivision 10 of section 590 of the labor law is amended by adding a new paragraph (d) to read as follows: (D) IN THE CASE OF COLLEGES OR UNIVERSITIES ASSIGNED THE NORTH AMERI- CAN INDUSTRY CLASSIFICATION CODE 611310 OR 611210 FOR SERVICES PERFORMED IN A PRINCIPAL, ADMINISTRATIVE, RESEARCH OR INSTRUCTIONAL CAPACITY A PERSON IS PRESUMED NOT TO HAVE REASONABLE ASSURANCE UNDER AN OFFER THAT IS CONDITIONED ON ENROLLMENT, FUNDING OR PROGRAMMATIC CHANGES. IT IS THE EMPLOYER'S BURDEN TO PROVIDE SUFFICIENT DOCUMENTATION TO OVERCOME THIS PRESUMPTION. REASONABLE ASSURANCE MUST BE DETERMINED ON A CASE-BY-CASE BASIS BY THE TOTAL WEIGHT OF EVIDENCE RATHER THAN THE EXISTENCE OF ANY ONE FACTOR. PRIMARY WEIGHT MUST BE GIVEN TO THE CONTINGENT NATURE OF AN OFFER OF EMPLOYMENT BASED ON ENROLLMENT, FUNDING AND PROGRAM CHANGES. PROVIDED, HOWEVER, THAT IN ANY UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE PROCEEDING A WRIT- TEN LETTER FROM AN EMPLOYER TO AN EMPLOYEE WHICH MAKES EMPLOYMENT CONDI- TIONAL SHALL NOT BE PRIMA FACIE EVIDENCE OF REASONABLE ASSURANCE TO BE USED TO DENY A CLAIM FOR UNEMPLOYMENT. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD00713-01-3