Maricopa Community Colleges

Adjunct Faculty Load Limits - FAQ

Adjunct faculty load limits are 9 load hours per term, with a possible exception up to 12.0 in the Fall or Spring terms and up to 11.0 during the Summer term. The weekly maximum hours worked for employees who work a combination of adjunct and other temporary work is 25 hours per week.

  1. How does the Affordable Care Act affect adjunct faculty loads?
  2. Why is the strict enforcement of the 9-hour load limit beginning in July of 2013?
  3. What is the teaching load limit?
  4. Will there be a provision for various load types (e.g., lecture, lab, and practicum)?
  5. Will teaching-related and other activities be counted in adjunct work load?
  6. Will adjuncts be allowed to exceed 9 load in one term if they go below 9 in the other?
  7. What will happen if we can't find enough adjuncts to cover our scheduled classes?
  8. Do the same assumptions of work per instructional load apply to service faculty?
  9. What are the work hour limits for service faculty?
  10. Is the same ratio used for noncredit teaching as for credit teaching?
  11. How are classes like “private music lessons,” that are paid by the hour counted in the load calculation?
  12. How are classes that are paid by the student, such as co-ops, special projects, etc. counted in the load calculation?
  13. How are assignments paid as a stipend such as Theater Director, Band Director, club advisor, etc. calculated for work hours?
  14. What about classes taught over five weeks, eight weeks, or other periods less than the entire term?
  15. Can I sign a waiver of healthcare insurance and teach more load hours than the limit?
  16. How is substitute pay calculated into the limit?
  17. What is the work hour limit for someone who is teaching and performing other part-time work as described in question 5?
  18. How will an adjunct faculty employee overseeing internships calculate their hours worked for that portion of their assignment?
  19. Can adjuncts work at multiple colleges?
  20. My question isn't listed, is there someone I can talk to?


If you have further questions, please please contact your college's Vice President of Academic Affairs or contact your College HR or HR Solutions Business Partner

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1. How does the Affordable Care Act affect adjunct faculty loads?

The Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) requires that employers provide health insurance coverage for all full-time employees. The definition of full-time employee for purposes of the Act is persons working an average of 30 hours or more per week. Our long-standing policy, and the method we use to calculate and report hours worked for our adjunct faculty (for credit instruction) for ASRS purposes, is one hour of work outside of class for each load hour, or two hours worked for each load hour of instruction (Hereafter “2:1”). This is how we will continue to calculate and report adjunct hours worked. We are aware, however, that at other higher education institutions in other parts of the country, different methods are used to calculate hours worked for adjuncts, including two hours outside class for each load hour (“3:1”). To date the IRS has not issued regulations establishing how hours worked will be calculated for adjunct faculty in higher education for purposes of the ACA. We were hoping to have this information before establishing our policies in this area. Therefore, continuing to use our established method of calculating hours worked in conjunction with strictly enforcing our long-standing load limit of 9 load hours per term (with a limited exception of up to 3.0 load in certain circumstances) will allow MCCCD to employ the valuable services of our dedicated and talented corps of adjunct instructors in a fiscally-responsible fashion to supplement the instructional services provided by our residential faculty. The effective date of these limits is July 1, 2013.

2. Why is the strict enforcement of the 9-hour load limit beginning in July of 2013?

These limits were put in place for numerous operational, strategic, and other reasons and it is important that they are adhered to. Additionally, provisions of the Affordable Care Act that become effective January 1, 2015, will look back one year to establish workers' eligibility for employer-provided health insurance. If someone has worked an average of 30 or more hours per week beginning July 1, 2014, he or she would be considered benefits-eligible.

3. What is the teaching load limit?

The limit is 9, which under our calculation method for ASRS purposes equates to 18 hours of work per week, and under the calculation method the IRS might adopt going forward would be 27 hours of work per week. The load limit includes teaching assignments at all MCCCD colleges. We will allow one small, limited exception to the 9-hour load limit, being up to 3.0 additional load hours in those situations, usually found in our math, science, and nursing disciplines, where different load hour combinations often result in instructors who are teaching two classes having between 9 and 12.0 load. These exceptions will be considered under the current exception process using the existing form.

4. Will there be a provision for various load types (e.g., lecture, lab, and practicum)?

Provisions are already in place that relate load to student contact hours. We will use existing load formulas and limit all adjuncts to 9 load hours (up to 12.0 for fall/spring and 11.0 for summer with approved exception) per term.

5. Will teaching-related and other activities be counted in adjunct work load?

Yes, other activities such as non-credit courses, educational development work, professional growth, RPS/timecard, and special services contract work are included in the work hour count.  All work done at MCCCD will count and will be limited to a maximum total of 25 hours per week.

6. Will adjuncts be allowed to exceed 9 load in one term if they go below 9 in the other?

No. Unfortunately that is not an option currently, which complies with our intent to enforce the 9 load per term limit.

7. What will happen if we can't find enough adjuncts to cover our scheduled classes?

The District HR Solutions Center is available to assist colleges with recruiting efforts such as job fairs. It is possible that course offerings will be curtailed in some areas such as science, art, math, etc. We will make all efforts to avoid this.

8. Do the same assumptions of work per instructional load apply to service faculty?

No. Service faculty hours are counted as clock hours on a 1:1 basis.

9. What are the work hour limits for service faculty?

Adjunct service faculty should be scheduled for no more than 25 hours per week, including service, service related work, and teaching.

10. Is the same ratio used for noncredit teaching as for credit teaching?

No, noncredit teaching is calculated at the 1:1 ratio.

11. How are classes like “private music lessons,” that are paid by the hour counted in the load calculation?

Classes like “private music lessons” that are paid via a timecard and by the hour will count 1:1. 

12. How are classes that are paid by the student, such as co-ops, special projects, etc. counted in the load calculation?

These classes will count 1:1 since they don't represent classroom type teaching (lecture, lab or combination) and are more for oversight and consultation than instruction. The limit on works hours is 25 per week.

13. How are assignments paid as a stipend such as Theater Director, Band Director, club advisor, etc. calculated for work hours?

These assignments will be calculated at the 1:1 ratio because they are for activities rather than the traditional teaching.

14. What about classes taught over five weeks, eight weeks, or other periods less than the entire term? How will the hours worked be calculated in these cases?

The hours worked are under the 2:1 or 1:1 methods discussed herein, depending on whether credit instructional, service, or other type of work. For credit classes, 9 load can be taught over any period of time during the term, for example an instructor could teach a 9 load class over 12 weeks. In such a case, the instructor could not teach for the remainder of that term. For non-credit work, the 25-hour limit is a weekly limit that cannot be exceeded in any week.

15. Can I sign a waiver of healthcare insurance and teach more load hours than the limit?

The federal law does not allow this option and these limits are in place for reasons other than healthcare limitations.

16. How is substitute pay calculated into the limit?

For every 50-minute class you count 1 clock hour towards the limit. Two units equals one clock hour.

17. What is the work hour limit for someone who is teaching and performing other part-time work as described in question 5?

The 25 hour limit for someone who is both teaching and doing part-time work, is calculated by taking the teaching load hours, multiplying them by two, then subtracting that total from 25 to arrive at the amount of additional temporary hours that can be worked.

18.How will an adjunct faculty employee overseeing internships calculate their hours worked for that portion of their assignment?

Internships have a load assigned to them. This load will be accounted for the same as any other load, using the 1:2 ratio. Any load assigned for supervising internships will be added to any other load the adjunct faculty employee has, the total load for any term must not exceed 9 load hours (or 9.9 with exception) per term.

19. Can adjuncts work at multiple colleges?

Yes, adjunct faculty are permitted to teach at multiple MCCCD colleges during the same term. Work hours for part-time instructional employees (adjunct faculty) are determined and tracked by total load.

20. My question isn't listed, is there someone I can talk to?

If you still have questions, please contact your college's Vice President of Academic Affairs or contact your College HR or HR Solutions Business Partner.