At the close of 2016, the U.S Department of Labor issued new guidance that updated a nearly 30 year old protocol for establishing unemployment eligibility for “contingent” and “adjunct” employees. Many organizations, such as the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), pushed for this updated guidance as the old standards from 1986 mainly addressed primary and secondary education and not higher education. This new guidance issued in Unemployment Insurance Program Letter No. 05-17 highlighted various circumstances of university faculty who are considered to be “contingent” or “adjunct” employees. It explains that, in order to deny unemployment to contingent faculty based on a claim of employment in the following semester, the state unemployment compensation office must first determine that three prerequisites are all met: the offer of employment must be genuine and made by an individual with authority to offer employment; the employment offered must be in the same capacity; and the earnings in the following year or term may not be significantly less (generally at least 90%) than the preceding one.

Read more about this new guidance here: https://www.aaup.org/unemployment-compensation-contingent-faculty