In the USA, the Affordable Care Act requires employers to provide health care to employees working above 30 hours. Some employers to save on costs have either cut full-time employees hours to part-time or eliminated some full-time positions entirely. I'm a part-time instructor at my university. My hours were cut to put them below the 30 hour cut off for next semester. This reduced my classes from three to two, with a reduction in pay.

Have there been any studies on how the ACA has affected employment of adjunct faculty?

  • 1
    Hi Bob, your question is not really the kind of question that is suitable for this site. Stack Exchange focusses on specific, factual questions. If you rephrase your question to ask about statistics of how many academic employers in the USA have responded to the ACA by reducing hours of employees, it could probably be on-topic for this site. – gerrit Jun 7 '14 at 13:26
  • 1
    Edited to make it a general question on hiring. – Robert Clark Jun 7 '14 at 14:48
  • 11
    It's a reasonable question, but the answer is almost certainly no. ACA hasn't been around long enough fir any eeasonable studies. – JeffE Jun 8 '14 at 2:39
  • 1
    I think it's more than just ACA, as there has lately been a general trend toward employing more adjunct professors than in previous years. – Jonathan Landrum Oct 14 '14 at 13:20

While the requirement of "adjunct faculty" likely makes this too specific to have a study done looking at this, that doesn't mean we can't at least drawn some expected inferences from wider observed market forces and more general studies.

It's a "known issue" that the 30-hour requirement is resulting in some people having their work hours reduced so they don't count as full time. Back when the Affordable Care Act was not even passed yet there were employers - especially restaurants and other low-wage institutions - stating explicitly that this is what they'd be doing. So without a study, we'd explicitly expect this to be one effect of the law

As for studies seeking to quantify the effects, there are some, such as Effects of Federal Policy to Insure Young Adults: Evidence from the 2010 Affordable Care Act’s Dependent-Coverage Mandate. On page 23 we see:

Our data allow us to investigate the effects of the federal mandate on whether young adults report working, whether they report working full-time (30 hours or more), their weekly work hours, and their rate of job turnover. We also examine the impact of the mandate on their work schedule flexibility by evaluating the probability that young adults have work hours that vary from week to week.

Our results, starting with the first column of Table 7, show no statistically significant evidence that the mandate affected the probability of employment of young adults. Since the receipt of ESI is usually tied to full-time work, we examined this measure next and find that the law is associated with a reduced prevalence of full-time work by close to 2 percentage points (roughly 5.8 percent) during the period after implementation began, relative to pre-ACA enactment. We also find statistically significant evidence for a reduction in hours of work (about a 3 percent reduction); these effects are statistically weaker when we examine log hours as the dependent variable.

So this isn't a specific study to adjuncts, and this study specifically looks at young adults who aren't so likely to be adjunts, but without a specific study we are certainly permitted to assume that this is a real effect of the law - some people will see a cut in pay/hours so as to avoid having to be provideded benefits.

  • Thanks for that info. That report though is from 2013.The ACA was just barely coming into effect then so I would not expect the effects to be large at that time. For instance, at my university, part-time workers, including adjunct faculty, were only warned in 2013 of the coming changes in work-hours. The changes came into effect in Fall, 2014 which forced a 1/3rd cut in hours, and of course salary, for many part-timers. I would like to see survey starting from 2014. Bob Clark – Robert Clark Mar 26 '15 at 14:53
  • @user3544 Me too! There are some government reports, but the only ones I've seen are aggregate and don't parse reasons well (and aren't specific to academia either). – BrianH Mar 26 '15 at 15:36

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.