Employing Student Workers

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Interim Guidance on Employing Student Workers (RA/GA/TAs and Undergraduates)

Compliance with the Affordable Care Act and related ongoing discussions on campus have prompted the University to consider and to clarify its positions on the employment of student workers. Traditionally, college policies have limited graduate students to a maximum of 20 hours of work per week during the academic year. In fact, an overwhelming majority of all student workers average less than 25 hours per week during the academic year. Moving forward, this general practice – limiting student employment hours to 20 hours per week on average1 unless special approval is secured – will be applicable to all students, graduate and undergraduate.

Students seeking approval to work in excess of 20 hours per week, up to 25 hours per week (taking into consideration all of a student’s University’s employment commitments) during the academic year, must petition the Associate Dean of Students (if an undergraduate student) or their college’s Graduate Associate Dean (if a graduate student) for permission to do so. Approved petitions must be sent to the Payroll Office with the appropriate Payroll forms completed in connection with the student’s first week of more than 20 hours of work, even if the student and his/her supervisor do not intend for the student to average over 20 hours of work per week for an extended period of time.

In order to ensure that students have sufficient time and effort to focus on their academic studies, students will not be permitted to work in excess of 25 hours per week during the academic year. However, Gryphons shall be permitted to work in excess of 25 hours per week.2 Student appointments made before December 19, 2014 for the spring 2015 semester shall be honored, even if those appointments permit a student to work in excess of 25 hours per week. However, departments employing students in hourly wage positions should make reasonable efforts to comply with this guidance immediately.

The University recognizes that in order to advance his/her personal educational goals, a RA/GA/TA may choose to devote additional hours – in excess of his/her appointment – to his/her research activities (in the case of RAs) or activities similar to his/her service responsibilities (in the case of GA and TAs). Those hours will be considered part of the student’s educational experience, rather than work hours dedicated to his/her service commitment, and will not be compensable unless the student’s supervisor advises the relevant Dean’s Office that the supervisor requires employment services beyond the required service commitment described in the student’s appointment letter. Any disagreements as to whether work the student conducts beyond the weekly commitment described in his/her appointment letter is part of his/her educational experience may be brought to the relevant department chair, graduate director, or Dean’s Office to discuss this situation.

Because student employment is an important issue, discussions on this matter will continue and guidance elaborating on the general principles described here will be codified in college policies.

1 References to weekly employment workloads in this guidance document should be considered references to average weekly workloads.
2 Gryphons do not need to petition the Associate Dean of Students or their Graduate Associate Dean in order to work in excess of 20 or 25 hours per week.