Adjunct Rights and Benefits

Click here for this "Adjunct Rights and Benefits" brochure as a PDF.

First and foremost, we urge you to exercise your right to join your union, the Professional Staff Congress, which represents full-time and part-time faculty and the professional staff at CUNY. To join, you must sign a yellow membership card.

How cheap can you be? Five colleges short-changed adjuncts for years -- paying them less than 15 weeks or the 45 hours for the semester. Protests in 2007 stopped the practice, including this one during Thanksgiving week at Baruch (delivering a turkey to the administration.
Dave Sanders

Health Care & Workers’ Compensation: You have the benefit of individual health insurance beginning in your third consecutive semester of teaching if you teach six or more hours CUNY-wide in that semester and have taught one or more courses during your first two semesters; non-teaching adjuncts must work ten hours or more a week for one year on campus to be eligible. You retain this benefit as long as you teach six hours or work ten non-teaching hours. Family coverage is available at additional cost to you. Contact your college Human Resources Office to apply. Teaching and non-teaching adjunct work at CUNY can also be combined to secure health insurance.

Because the Research Foundation does not offer health insurance for adjuncts, if a Department needs to shift an adjunct to the Research Foundation payroll, the Department is obliged to make every effort to only shift an adjunct who is not covered by CUNY health insurance.
For questions about health coverage, call the Welfare Fund at 212-354-5230. You are also covered by Workers’ Compensation for on-the-job injuries. Call the local district office at 1-800-877-1373 for more information.

All part-timers are eligible for vision benefits provided by General Vision Services from the first day of employment. Brochures are available at the PSC office.

COBRA: If you lose your health insurance because you teach fewer than six hours a semester or work under ten non-teaching hours, you may maintain benefits for a period under COBRA, the federal law which allows you to pay for coverage yourself at group rates for 18 months. If after one semester you resume teaching six hours CUNY-wide or working ten non-teaching hours, the Welfare Fund will restore your health insurance. If you are ineligible for two or more semesters you must establish eligibility as you did initially.

Pensions & Annuities: All adjuncts are eligible to join the NYC Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) and Tax-Deferred Annuity programs from their first semester at CUNY. You can get application forms from your campus Human Resources Office or the TRS website. The PSC has a brochure that explains the basics of the TRS pension for CUNY adjuncts, and you can always call the Director of Pension and Welfare Benefits at the PSC at 212-354-1252.

Workload: Under the contract, adjuncts may teach 9 hours at one college regardless of the number of courses and one course, not to exceed 6 hours, at a second college. During the summer months, the University’s policy is to limit adjunct titles to 105 hours, except in departments with four credit courses for which a 120-hour assignment is permitted. Non-teaching adjuncts are limited to 375 hours per semester (225 hours at the first college and 150 hours at the second) and 175 hours during summer months. Adjuncts may combine teaching and non-teaching hours. Non-teaching adjunct hours spent grading the CUNY Writing Test do not count toward workload.

Overload Waivers: If you teach for more than one college or department, it is your responsibility to inform chairs if you are in excess of the contractual workload, so a waiver can be sought. In the event that a college decides to request an overload during the spring and fall semesters, the college has to file for a waiver from the University and the union. These requests are approved on a case-by-case basis based on the stated needs of the college. You should receive payment for the additional hours with your first paycheck. During summer sessions, overload waivers are not covered under the contract and are granted at the discretion of the college and the University.

Office/Professional Hour: Adjuncts assigned to teach six or more contact hours at the same college will be paid at 100% of their teaching rate for one additional hour weekly for work such as office hours and professional development. This hour will not count toward the maximum an adjunct is allowed to teach. This provision does not apply to courses taught during summer sessions, to non-teaching adjunct hours spent grading The CUNY Writing Test or to full-time instructional staff who teach a course as a multiple position.

Semester Reappointment: You must receive written notice of reappointment (which should include your title and hourly rate) or non-reappointment by December 1 in the fall semester and May 1 in the spring semester. If you do not receive a letter by the appropriate date, please notify the union. Class assignments, however, depend on the budget, the curriculum, and sufficiency of registration. Once you have received an appointment, you must be told of changes in the conditions which impact your employment as soon as the college knows of them. Once you have begun teaching a course, you must be paid in full if it is cancelled.

One-Year Appointments: If reappointed after working six consecutive semesters (exclusive of summers) in the same department at the same college over a three year period, an adjunct is entitled to a year-long (fall and spring) appointment and must be notified on or about May 15 for the following academic year.

Substitute Appointments: If an adjunct appointment immediately precedes and follows a substitute appointment, substitute appointments will count as adjunct service for health care, salary schedule, and tuition waivers. Adjuncts do not have to re-establish eligibility for one-year appointments; however, the time worked as a substitute does not count as part of continuous service as an adjunct.

Observation: Observations should be conducted during the first ten weeks of a semester for your first 10 semesters at a college. You must have at least 24 hours’ notice before an observation by a member of your department. The observer will submit a written observation report to the chair within one week. The chairperson should schedule a post-observation conference (including the employee and the observer) within two weeks of receipt of the written observation report. If the observation or the post-observation conference is not held within these times, you must file a request with the chairperson within 10 working days or lose your rights to have one held. Requests for a third party at the post-observation conference may be made to the chairperson. You should receive a written report of the observation and the post-observation conference for your signature before it is placed in your file. Your signature indicates only that you have seen the report. You may place a response to your evaluation in your file. If you refuse to initial any document after having been given an opportunity to read it, a statement to that effect may be affixed to the document. After 10 semesters of required observations, you may be observed at the request of your chairperson or yourself.

Annual Evaluation: At least once each year, all teaching faculty including adjuncts and all instructional staff including non-teaching adjuncts are required to have an annual evaluation conference. Within ten days of the conference, you should receive a record of the conference which is also placed in your personal file. If the overall evaluation is unsatisfactory, the memorandum shall so state. In such case, you have the right to request to appear in person before the department Personnel and Budget Committee. If your annual evaluation is not scheduled by March 1, you must file a request with the chairperson within 10 working days or lose your right to have one conducted. After four semesters of service, annual evaluations for adjuncts shall be at the request of the chairperson or the adjunct. If at the request of the adjunct, annual evaluations may not be conducted more than once every four semesters.
Personnel Files You have the right to examine and initial your personal file as well as add any information on your academic and professional accomplishments.

Communication Resources: for Adjuncts On campuses where capacity exists, teaching adjunct instructional staff will be provided with a CUNY e-mail address. The colleges will use their best efforts to provide teaching adjunct instructional staff with voicemail, and where feasible, to include them in department directories.

Complaints & Grievances: A complaint is an informal claim by an employee or the PSC of improper, unfair, arbitrary, or discriminatory treatment. A complaint may, but need not, constitute a grievance, and is processed through an informal procedure.

A grievance is an allegation by an employee or the PSC that there has been: 1) a breach, misinterpretation, or improper application of the contract; 2) an arbitrary or discriminatory application of or a failure to follow the Board Bylaws related to terms and conditions of employment. Contact your campus grievance officer or the union headquarters to discuss a complaint or grievance. Grievances and complaints must be filed within 30 days, not counting weekends and legal holidays, from the time you and/or the PSC become aware of a problem and within 30 workdays of a scheduled date of notification of appointment. Contact an adjunct grievance counselor at the PSC office at 212-354-1252.

Promotion: Apply to your chair for promotion on the same basis as a full-timer. Receiving a doctorate is often recognized as grounds for promotion, as are professional achievements. Promotion is made at the discretion of your department Personnel and Budget Committee.

Full-time Lecturer Positions: With the last PSC/CUNY contract settlement, 100 new full-time lecturer positions were created, for which the hiring pool will be restricted to experienced CUNY adjuncts. To be eligible to apply, you must have taught in the department in which the position is offered or have taught a related course in a different department of the same college for 8 of the 10 most recent semesters (excluding summers), and in 7 of those 10 semesters, you must have taught at least 6 classroom hours including the semester in which the search is conducted. As with regular full-time lines, specific hiring criteria are established by each department.

Sick Leave: During the semester, adjuncts, non-teaching adjuncts, and adjunct College Laboratory Technicians may be excused for personal illness or personal emergencies, including religious observances, death in the immediate family, or similar personal needs which cannot be postponed, for a period of 1/15 of the total number of clock hours in a particular session or semester. Request for such leave, when possible, must be made in advance in writing. If it is not possible to make such a request in advance, the department chairperson or supervisor should be informed as soon as possible. The reason provided must be satisfactory to the chairperson or supervisor.

Jury Duty: You must be paid your regular salary for jury duty and give CUNY any pay you receive.

Tuition Waiver: An adjunct who has taught one or more courses at the same college for 10 consecutive semesters (not including summers) and who is appointed to teach a course of three or more contact hours per week in the fall or spring semester shall be entitled to tuition reimbursement for up to one course in that semester. (For graduate courses this depends on space availability.) An adjunct will lose eligibility if in any two out of three academic years the adjunct teaches in only one semester of the year at that college. Application forms are available at your college Human Resources Office.

Adjunct Professional Development Fund: An adjunct faculty member who is teaching six or more classroom contact hours in the semester and has taught one or more courses for the two most recent consecutive semesters (not including summer session) shall be eligible to apply for a grant. Applications must be signed by a department chairperson. To be eligible for a grant used during an intersession or summer session period when not otherwise employed at the college, an adjunct must also have been notified of reappointment for the next consecutive semester. The maximum award in any academic year to an individual is $3,000. Approved grant funds are paid based on submission of expense records for professional development activities. Grants must be approved prior to the activity. Preference will be given to employees who have not previously received professional development funds. (Click here for more information and application forms.)

Travel Funds: You may apply for travel funds for professional reasons at your college.

Transportation Spending Account (TSA): Transit Checks allow you to pay for MetroCards with pre-tax money. There is a very small monthly administrative fee. Application forms are available at your campus Human Resources Office. For additional information go to

Adjunct Pay: Scale Following your completion of six semesters of teaching at CUNY over a three-year period, including summers, you are entitled to a pay increment which should take effect July 1 after you become eligible. It is your responsibility to notify the Human Resource Office at each college where you teach regarding your CUNY-wide work history to make sure that you are on the right salary step. The college has the contractual obligation to notify you of your title and hourly rate of pay in your appointment letter. If you believe that your hourly rate of pay is incorrect, you must notify your college’s Office of Human Resources within 30 work days of the first day of the semester to receive a retroactive pay adjustment for the semester. It is a good idea to periodically check your records for accuracy.

Pay Schedules & Advances: Adjuncts must be paid in nine equal paychecks commencing with the first scheduled pay date. If your check is not ready for you on the first (or second) scheduled pay date, you may receive an advance on your pay based on need. Contact your Human Resources Office.

The entire contract is available at,

Adjunct Hourly Rates*

Adjunct Lecturer
Adjunct I & 2
  10/06/08 10/20/09   10/06/09 10/20/09
Step 1 $62.95 $64.84   $37.77 $38.91
Step 2  65.46  67.42    39.27  40.45
Step 3  68.11  70.15    40.86  42.09
Step 4  71.15  73.28    42.70  43.98
Step 5  74.20  80.70    44.52  48.41


Assistant Professor
Non-Teaching Adjunct
  10/06/08 10/20/09   10/06/09 10/20/09
Step 1 $71.39 $73.53   $42.84 $44.12
Step 2  74.26  76.48    44.56  45.90
Step 3  77.23  79.54    46.34  47.73
Step 4  80.26  87.29    48.16  52.37


Associate Professor
Non-Teaching Adjunct
  10/06/08 10/20/09   10/06/09 10/20/09
Step 1 $76.98 $79.29   $46.19 $47.58
Step 2  80.07  82.47    48.05  49.49
Step 3  83.28  85.78    49.97  51.47
Step 4  86.35  88.94    51.80  53.36
Step 5  89.34  97.16    54.61  58.30


Adjunct Professor

Adjunct V
  10/06/08 10/20/09   10/06/09 10/20/09
Step 1 $85.38 $87.94   $51.22 $52.76
Step 2  88.79  91.46    53.27  54.87
Step 3  92.35  95.12    55.41  57.07
Step 4  95.41  98.27    57.24  58.96
Step 5  98.43 107.47    59.07  64.23

*The 10/6/08 rates include the
9/20/07 increase

Click here for this "Adjunct Rights and Benefits" brochure as a PDF.

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