Student Employment Policy

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Policy Code: 
1106
Approval Authority: 
Chancellor
Policy Type: 
University Policy
Policy Owner: 
Academic Affairs
Responsible Office: 
Academic Affairs - 828.251.6470

I. Purpose

Student employment at UNC Asheville is intended to be educationally and financially helpful while providing students with valuable work experience.  Research has demonstrated that students who work more than 20 hours per week suffer declines in their academic performance and grade point averages (GPAs).  This policy provides uniform and equitable standards for the campus employment of undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at UNC Asheville.

II. Scope

This policy applies to all university departments and activities hiring UNC Asheville undergraduate and graduate students in hourly and/or stipend positions.

III. Definitions

A. Student Employee: To be eligible for student employment, an undergraduate or graduate student must be degree-seeking and enrolled at UNC Asheville for the current semester or, if working during academic year breaks, enrolled for the following semester at UNC Asheville.
B. Federal Work Study: federally funded financial aid employment program.
C. Non-Federal Work Study: all other student employment apart from the Federal Work Study Program.
D. Intern: a student who is contracted to work on a job or project with a primary educational component, such work can be paid or non-paid.
E. Department Head: a permanent employee with hiring authority and budget approval for their department, program, office or center.   The department head approves expenditures for student employee hires. The department head has the authority to delegate certain decisions (i.e. hiring authority and budget approval) to a designee who is a permanent employee of the University.
F. Designee:  a permanent employee who has been designated to act on the behalf of a department head, fund manager, and/or supervisor, by such person.
G. Fund Manager: a permanent employee with budget approval.  This employee may or may not be the Department Head or supervisor.
H. Supervisor: a permanent employee who may or may not be the department head and has been delegated budget approval and/or hiring authority.  This person supervises the student employee(s).

IV. Policy

A. Types of Student Employment

1. Federal Work Study (FWS) positions

a. FWS is a federally funded financial aid employment program available during fall and spring semesters.  Students who are awarded FWS funds must earn such funds, as part of their financial aid award, through part-time employment with the University. 
b. FWS may not be used to defer college charges.  The earnings are designed to assist students with their personal expenses, not Tuition, Fees, and/or Room and Board.
c. To be eligible for a FWS funded position, a student must be an undergraduate, degree-seeking and enrolled full-time (at least 12 credit hours).   A student must also be a US citizen or permanent resident to be eligible for FWS.  Students who are eligible must also qualify for a FWS award.
d. If a student qualifies for a FWS award, the student is not guaranteed a UNC Asheville FWS position.  Once the student has accepted the award it is his or her responsibility to seek employment and be hired by the University.
e. FWS students may have only one FWS job working up to 10 hours per week as determined by their financial aid allocation.  The student may work only a second Non-FWS job or one or more non-FWS jobs for up to 10 more hours per week with their total work hours not exceeding 20 hours per week during the academic year.  There are no summer FWS awards.
f. All completed FWS contracts will be sent to the Student Payroll Coordinator in the Student Payroll Service Center.

2. Non-Federal Work Study (Non-FWS) positions

a. Non-FWS positions are available to all qualified students.
b. A FWS student can also hold a Non-FWS position, and vice versa when awarded a FWS position, if the combined FWS and Non-FWS positions do not exceed a 20 hour work week (inclusive of all jobs secured on-campus). Work hours during semester breaks and summer  should not exceed a 40 hour work week nor exceed 30 hours per week for 90 or more consecutive days (inclusive of all jobs secured on-campus).
c. To be eligible for Non-FWS, an undergraduate or graduate student must be degree-seeking and enrolled during the semester of employment.
d. To be eligible for student employment during academic year breaks, an undergraduate or graduate student must be degree-seeking and enrolled for the following semester.
e. Non-FWS positions are paid from department funds, grants and/or Career Center Incentive Program funds. 

i. The Career Center Incentive Program was established to promote student employment opportunities.  Funds are available through the Career Center when departments lack the necessary funds to employ students.
ii. Career Center Incentive Program funds must be approved by the Student Job Coordinator in the Career Center.  There is no guarantee that said funds will be available for every request.

B. In order to obtain a FWS or Non-FWS position, students are required to:

1. Identify job opportunities, such as those posted on the Career Center’s RockyLink, and submit applications (including resumes and cover letters, if requested) to hiring supervisor before the job posting deadline.

2. Complete all employment documents, prior to employment start date, including but not limited to:

a. I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification, completed in Human Resources
b. Federal Tax W-4 Form, submitted to Student Payroll Coordinator in Payroll
c. State Tax NC-4 EZ Form, submitted to Student Payroll Coordinator in Payroll
d. Direct Deposit Form, submitted to Student Payroll Coordinator in Payroll

3. Sign the Student Employment Contract and check with supervisor to ensure that the contract has been completed and submitted to the Student Payroll Service Center.  

C. In order to maintain employment in a FWS or Non-FWS position, students must:

1. Abide by the Student Code of Conduct, applicable UNC Asheville and UNC policies as well as federal and state law.
2. Monitor fall and spring academic work hours to not exceed a 20 hour work week (inclusive of all jobs secured on-campus).  Monitor work hours during semester breaks and summer to not exceed a 40 hour work week nor exceed 30 hours per week for 90 or more consecutive days (inclusive of all jobs secured on-campus).
3. If paid an hourly wage, enter hours worked and submit a Web Time Entry (WTE) bi-weekly online time sheet on OnePort at the conclusion of each pay period.  Student must enter exact hours on the day(s) they actually work.
4. If paid a flat rate or stipend, confirm with supervisor the date(s) for receiving the payment(s).
5. Adhere to all policies and procedures listed in the Student Employment Contract, as well as those detailed in the Student Employee Rights and Responsibilities or communicated to them by the hiring department.
6. Complete all work assignments and duties as requested by supervisor.
7. Maintain confidentiality of private and/or confidential information as required by federal and state law.

V. Procedures 

A. Supervisor Requirements and Responsibilities

1. The supervisor approves all student employment hires and terminations.  He or she is responsible for communicating personnel decisions to the department head and/or fund manager.

2. Complete a mandatory annual Student Employment Supervisor Training.   It is the responsibility of each department head and student employee supervisor to ensure uniform and consistent compliance with the student employment policies and procedures for their department.

3. Approve all hiring decisions through the department head and follow all Student Employment policies and procedures.

4. If a student employee will be working with minors, the supervisor must follow the guidelines regarding background checks as outlined in the policies on Background Check (Policy 3127) and Programs and Activities Involving Minors (Policy 5204). 

5. Ensure a separate Student Employment Contract is completed for an employee for each paid position and submitted to the Student Payroll Service Center.

6. The Student Employment Change Form must be completed by the supervisor and then submitted to the Student Payroll Coordinator in the Student Payroll Service Center if any of the following occurs:

a. A student’s job is terminated prior to the end date on the contract and a written justification is included on the form
b. The funding source for a job changes
c. The hourly pay rate or stipend amount changes
d. The student graduates, is academically suspended, or takes a leave of absence.

7. Write the FWS or Non-FWS job description identifying specific job duties, competencies and position responsibilities.

8. Advertise the job posting on the Career Center’s RockyLink, the online job and internship search system.  Notify the Career Center once you have hired and remove job posting from RockyLink.

9. Screen applications, interview candidates, conduct reference checks and select qualified student candidates based on the job description qualifications and before making the final hiring decision.

10. Prepare and submit Student Employment Contract prior to student beginning job assignment.  The supervisor ensures that the student employee submits all employment documents, prior to employment start date, including but not limited to:

a. I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification, completed in Human Resources
b. Federal Tax W-4 Form, submitted to Student Payroll Coordinator in Payroll
c. State Tax NC-4 EZ Form, submitted to Student Payroll Coordinator in Payroll
d. Direct Deposit Form, submitted to Student Payroll Coordinator in Payroll

11. Monitor work hours of student employee(s) to ensure that total hours worked comply with the stated requirements of this policy.

12. Orient, train, coach and evaluate work performance to ensure a fair, respectful and productive work environment.

13. Ensure that all hourly student employees have initiated and submitted online student time sheets at the conclusion of each pay period.

14. Verify and approve online student time sheet(s) for completeness and accuracy, at the conclusion of each pay period and within the payroll deadline for hourly wage student employee.

15. Designate online time sheet proxy to act on their behalf in event of absence.

16. Hiring supervisors have the option of renewing a student's current contract for the same position for the next semester or academic year, provided that the position still exists and is funded, the student meets all current elegibility and job requirements and the supervisor submits an updated Student Employment Contract. However, contract renewal is not guaranteed and is at the discretion of the hiring department.

B. Student Job Vacancy Posting

1. All student employment positions must be advertised with the Career Center on RockyLink to ensure fair and equal access to all students.  When student employment is needed on short notice, the supervisor may hire without posting the position on RockyLink.  The supervisor must then submit a justification for the hire to the Student Job Coordinator in the Career Center and a completed contract to the Student Payroll Coordinator in Payroll. This justification will be encouraged but not required for grant-funded stipend positions.

C. Compensation

1. Any student who performs services that on the whole constitute an employee-employer relationship and are for the primary benefit of the university must be paid in accordance with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and minimum wage law.  Students who perform such services for the university should not be considered volunteers.  Working without employment status or “off the clock” is prohibited.
2. Students performing activities that are primarily educational in purpose (e.g., undergraduate research, student government, etc.) are provided with a stipend.   The purpose of providing the stipend is to support and enhance the overall student educational experience.  It is not the purpose of the stipend to fully compensate students for all of their contributions.  Additional specific rules may apply to externally grant funded positions.
3. FWS hourly pay rate is determined by the Financial Aid Office based on financial aid allocations and award amounts.
4. Non-FWS Student Employees may be paid by either an hourly rate, flat rate and/or stipend

a. Non-FWS student hourly rate, flat pay and/or stipend is determined by the department head of the hiring department.
b. Hourly rate of pay (wages):

i. The hourly pay rate must be set at or above North Carolina State’s minimum wage, and must be fair and equitable with respect to experience and required skill level.
ii. Hourly pay requires student employees to enter hours worked each day on a bi-weekly frequency on an online time sheet (Web Time Entry) in OnePort.

c. Stipend pay (wages):

i. Stipend payments are subject to Human Resources review to assure compliance with FLSA guidelines.
ii. The hiring supervisor determines if the stipend or flat rate of pay is justified based on the higher level skills needed to complete the project or the increased duties such as exempt level work (i.e. journalist, photographer, project management).
iii. Flat rate and stipend payments are set up in the Banner Payroll system to pay automatically on the pay dates.

D. Work Hours

1. Student employees are not eligible to work overtime or accrue compensatory time or holiday leave. 
2. Students may not work as student employees after the date of their commencement.

E. Benefits

1. Student employees do not receive state benefits such as the state health insurance plan.
2. Student employees are covered by the Worker’s Compensation Act.
3. Student employees who are enrolled in at least half-time (6 credit hours during the academic semesters for undergraduates, 5 credit hours during academic semesters for graduate students, and 3 credit hours during the summer for both undergraduate and graduate students) are exempt from paying FICA taxes. 

VI. Enforcement & Penalties

A. I-9 and Late Time Sheet

1. Student employees receive a notice each time they fail to submit their time sheets on time or exceed the hours-per-week policy.
2. Supervisors also receive a notice each time they fail to approve student time sheets, ensure the completion of the I-9 paperwork with the UNC Asheville Office of Human Resources by their respective deadlines, or adequately monitor student work hours in accordance with the hours-per-week policy.