The Blog

Obamacare Causes Virginia Adjunct Faculty Wages to Be Capped at $17,000

4:06 PM, May 9, 2013 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

Under Obamacare, if you like your job, that doesn't necessarily mean you'll get to keep your job. The AP reports:

health care

"Many adjunct instructors at Virginia's 23 community colleges will see their hours cut starting this summer thanks to Virginia's response to the new federal health reform law, a change that could cripple or kill livelihoods teachers like Ann Hubbard worked hard to build.

"The onrushing 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is forcing governments at all levels to scramble to accommodate changes -- some intended, some not -- to public- and private-sector jobs over the next year."

Of course, it's not just governments that are scrambling.  Nevertheless, the AP continues:

"But the changes in store for about a quarter of Virginia's 9,100 adjunct faculty members have less to do with health insurance -- a benefit they don't receive anyway -- than with the opportunity to teach enough class hours to pay the bills. Hubbard, for example, learned a few days ago that she would see her annual 45 credit-hour load nearly halved.

"As a 48-year-old single mother from Williamsburg with a daughter finishing her freshman year at Virginia Tech, the income from her heavy teaching schedule at two southeastern Virginia community colleges is vital. Asking her what she will do when she's cut to no more than 27 credit hours a year is almost more than she can bear.

"'You ask me that and I literally start shaking,' Hubbard said in a telephone interview last week."

The AP adds:

"Under the new federal law, employers are obliged to provide health benefits for any employee who works 30 hours or more. Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell responded in February by directing that all part-time state employees work 29 hours or less to avoid the 30-hour threshold.

"...The bottom line is that no Virginia adjunct professor at a community college can earn more than $17,000 a year before taxes when the changes take effect in a few weeks, said J. Gabriel Scala, an adjunct English professor at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College, which serves the Richmond area.  

"...Virginia Education Secretary Laura Fornash said limiting the adjuncts' credit hours wasn't what McDonnell's administration wanted, either....

"...Hubbard...worked her way through undergraduate and graduate school and her unfinished doctoral program tending bar and waiting tables, all so she could one day teach history....

"'As you know, finding work is difficult. If I can find something full-time, then I'd have to give up teaching and I really don't want to do that,' Hubbard said."

Recent Blog Posts