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Student Employment

[Policy] Last Updated: October, 2005

Purpose

This policy provides information related to Student Employment policies, procedures, supervisor responsibilities, and student responsibilities.

Policy

I. Employment Funding Sources and Definitions

  1. Regular Student Employment
    Regular student employment is employment that is funded by university fiscal year allocations or grants, other than the Federal Work-Study grant. Students employed as regular student workers are subject to all criteria, policies, and guidelines set forth by the State, University, and Federal Government. Employment in this category is dependent on the department’s fiscal-year budget.
  2. Work-Study Employment
    Work-Study employment is employment that is funded by university fiscal year allocations and the Federal Work-Study grant. All students employed as work-study students are subject to all criteria, policies, and guidelines set forth by the State, University, and Federal Government. Generally, for this type of employment, 55% of the student’s hourly rate or salary is paid for by the Federal Work-Study grant and the remaining 45% is paid from the department’s fiscal year budget. Employment in this category is dependent on work-study eligibility and on the department’s fiscal year budget.
    1. General Work-Study Information
      The Federal Work-Study (FWS) program is a federally funded financial aid program offered to qualifying students who demonstrate financial need as set forth in the U.S. Department of Education guidelines. The program is partially funded by the federal government with a designated percentage matched by the employing party (university, department, or outside agency). The availability of funds is directed by the annual appropriation from Congress, the U.S. Department of Education, and a department or university match.
      To apply for the Federal Work-Study program, students must complete the necessary financial aid applications. For more information on how to apply and what forms are necessary, go to the Student Financial Aid Office (Swen Parson, room 232) or go on-line to http://www.fa.niu.edu/.
    2. Summer Work-Study Information
      To be employed on Federal Work-Study during the summer, students attending summer school must have completed financial aid applications for the current academic year and the Summer Financial Aid application. Students not attending summer school may be employed under the Federal Work-Study Program during the summer after completing financial aid applications for the next academic year and completing a Summer Work-Study Application.
  3. Graduate Student Employment
    Graduate students employed in non-assistantship appointments are considered regular student employees. This employment type is funded by university fiscal year budget allocations, or grants other than the Federal Work-Study grant. Students employed in this category cannot have a Graduate Assistantship of any kind, and are subject to all criteria, policies, and guidelines set forth by the State, University, and Federal Government.
  4. Students-at-Large Employment
    Students-at-large can be employed as regular student employees. This employment type is funded by university fiscal year allocations, or grants other than the Federal Work-Study grant. Students employed in this category cannot have a Graduate Assistantship of any kind and are subject to all criteria, policies, and guidelines set forth by the State, University, and Federal Government.
  5. Off-Campus Community Employment
    Students, who qualify and accept Federal Work-Study, also qualify for off-campus community employment. The types of agencies that qualify to hire federal work-study eligible students off-campus are: federal or state agencies and non-profit or not-for profit agencies. Each off-campus agency must enter into an agreement with the University, pay the student from its agency’s funds, and submit time sheets to the Student Employment Office for a 55% reimbursement of funds paid.

II. Student Employment Policy Guidelines

A. Employment Eligibility

In accordance with the Illinois Civil Service Statute and Rules (Chapter VI, Section 250.70) and University Policies, a student must meet the following criteria to be considered for hire as a student employee:

Fall and Spring Semesters

A student may be hired as a student worker for the fall and spring semester if:

      • The student is registered for a minimum of 6 credit hours.
      • The student meets the cumulative GPA requirements
        • 2.0 or above for undergraduate, postgraduate and law students
        • 3.0 or above for graduate student

If the student employee does not meet the minimum GPA requirement, refer to the Academic Probation section of this policy.

Summer Semester

A student may be hired as a student worker for the summer semester if:

      • The student is enrolled for at least 3 credit hours during the summer semester; or
      • The student was enrolled as a student during the spring semester; or
      • The student has indicated their intention to be registered for the Fall semester for a minimum of 6 semester hours.
      • The student must have a GPA of 2.0 or above if they are an undergraduate, and a GPA of 3.0 or above if they are a graduate student. If the student employee does not meet the minimum GPA requirement refer to the Academic Probation section of this policy.

Note: 

      • Students taking less than three semester hours during the summer are subject to FICA deductions.
      • Student employees are not permitted to work flex-hours during the summer. 
      • If the student does not meet the above listed 6-hour enrollment requirement for the fall and spring semester, the student will need to be hired as Extra Help, and processed through Human Resource Services’ Contracts, Records, and Reports.

International Students

International Students on a visa must, in accordance with INS regulations, be enrolled for a minimum of 12 hours during the fall and spring semesters to qualify for student employment and are subject to the same GPA requirements as non-international students Graduate students are required to maintain 9 credit hours. International students are not required to attend summer session and may work 20 hours during the summer.

B. Acceptable Work Hours

Student employees may generally work a maximum of 20 hours per week, while classes are in session. The Academic Advising Dean may decrease the 20 hour per week maximum for those students not in good academic standing, refer to the Academic Probation section of this policy. The 20 hour per week maximum may be increased by the Student Employment office, if an Excess Hour Permit has been completed and approved, refer to the Excess Hour section of this policy.

During vacation periods while the university is open, students may work up to 25 hours a week. For the summer semester, those students taking 3 semester hours or more are subject to the 20 hours per week limitation, unless an Excess Hour Permit has been filed and approved, refer to the Excess Hour section of this policy. All other students meeting summer eligibility requirements may work 25 hours per week.

If a student is working more than one on-campus job, the student must schedule work so that the total hours combined are less than or equal to the 20 hours allotted.  The same holds true during vacation periods: the total number of hours for all positions cannot exceed 20.

International Students

The maximum number of hours that an international student may work is 20 hours a week, including during vacation periods. If more than one department employs the student, the student will need to ensure that the total number of work hours does not exceed 20.

During the summer semester, an international student may work up to 25 hours per week as long as they are not enrolled for the semester. If the student is enrolled, the 20-hour limitation is enforced.

C. Overtime

University regulations prohibit overtime hours for students, except in emergency situations. Any hours over 7.5 in one day or 37.5 in one week are considered overtime hours worked. Student employees are considered non-exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and may not be scheduled to work or be paid overtime. If a student employee inadvertently works over 37.5 hours in one week, the student must be compensated at the rate of one and one-half times the regular rate.

If an emergency situation arises and overtime occurs, the Student Employment Office will need a memorandum explaining the nature of the emergency.

D. Excess Hours

Undergraduate, postgraduate or law students with a minimum GPA of 2.5 and Graduate students with a minimum GPA of 3.0 may receive permission to work a maximum of 25 hours per week. Supervisors must submit the Excess Hours Permit form, found on the Human Resource Services (HRS) website (www.hr.niu.edu). The form will need to be submitted to the Student Employment Office prior to the student working excess hours. Students, even after the excess hour permit has been issued, are not to be employed more than 7.5 hours in any one day, except in emergencies.

If an emergency arises, please justify the overtime by submitting an email to the Student Employment Office explaining the nature of the emergency.

When classes are not in session students may work 25 hours per week without obtaining an Excess Hours Permit.

Students are not permitted to work flex-hours during the summer.

E. Breaks

Student Employees should be provided one 15-minute break period for every continuous four-hour work period. The 15-minute break period should be preceded and followed by work. Students are not allowed to accumulate break periods nor can break periods be shortened to cover a student arriving late or leaving early. Break periods should be scheduled at the discretion of the student’s supervisor.

If a student works a normal 7.5-hour day (8:00 to 4:30) they are entitled to a one-hour lunch break without pay. If a student works for an 8-hour period of time (8:30 to 4:30 or 8:00 to 4:00) they are entitled to a 30-minute lunch break without pay.

F. Absences

Supervisors should advise student employees on department protocols regarding absences. A student worker should notify their respective supervisor no later than the beginning of the scheduled work time that they are unable to work.; If a student is going to be absent for a prolonged period of time, they must notify their supervisor as soon as they become aware of the absence.

G. Benefits

Student employees are not eligible to receive the following employment benefits:

      • Health Insurance
      • Holiday pay
      • Life insurance
      • Paid sick leave
      • Paid vacation
      • Retirement Benefits
      • Unemployment Insurance

H. Academic Probation

An undergraduate, postgraduate or law student is considered to be on academic probation if they have less than a 2.0 GPA. A graduate student is on academic probation if they have less than a 3.0 GPA. Student employment eligibility requirements indicate that a student must be in good academic standing to be employed. This requirement can be waived if permission is obtained from the student’s major college academic advisement office.  Employment paperwork for students on academic probation will not be processed until permission is received.

To obtain this permission, the student needs to take the Academic Probation Permit, which can be found on the Human Resource website (www.hr.niu.edu) under Forms, to their major Academic Advising Dean for approval and signature. It is important that a maximum number of work hours per week be indicated on the form; the Student Employment Office will not accept “work at own risk”. Once the student meets with their respective major Academic Advising Dean, the student needs to submit the form to the Student Employment Office or to the hiring department, so that the hiring paperwork may be processed.

If the student is currently employed and goes on academic probation, the departments will be notified that the academic probation permit is required. It is the hiring department’s responsibility to notify the student of this requirement. If the form is not received within the specified time period, the student will be administratively terminated.

I. Additional Job

Students are permitted to hold more than one student job on campus. Effective 7-1-02 students are allowed to hold more than one work-study job during the academic year. Students cannot exceed a total of 20 hours for all positions held on campus. Departments should assist the students in the monitoring of these hours. To request that a student be allowed to work in excess of the 20-hour limit, the department must submit an Excess Hours Permit form. Refer to the Excess Hours section of this policy.

J. Probation Period

The Student Employment office does not have an established policy regarding probation periods for student employees.

K. Security Sensitive Positions

The Illinois Campus Security Act (PA: 88-629) requires that public institutions of higher education identify security sensitive” positions and provide for criminal background investigations prior to employing individuals in those positions. In compliance with this act, certain positions require completion of a criminal background investigation prior to employment. No hiring paperwork will be processed without receipt of the security clearance and student employees are not permitted to work until clearance has been received.

The following types of positions are covered within the scope of the act and will therefore require that the individual occupying the position have a criminal background investigation prior to employment.

      • Positions involving responsibility for the care and supervision of minor children
      • Positions involving responsibility for the safety of students, employees, or the general public
      • Positions involving responsibility for expenditure or control of university financial resources.

Human Resource Services (HRS) will maintain a list of “security sensitive” positions. Positions identified as “security sensitive” will normally require that a preponderance of responsibility is involved with one or more of the categories described above. The extent of the background investigation is limited to identity verification, valid criminal convictions, employment history, and the highest degree attained. Any information therefore obtained shall be considered only to the extent that such information is relevant to qualifications, fitness, or suitability. All potential applicants for “security sensitive” positions shall be notified that any offer of employment may be subject to a criminal background or other pre-employment investigation.

No offer of employment may be extended and accepted relating to a candidate selected for a “security sensitive” position until the background investigation is complete and the Associate Vice President for Administration & Human Resources, or designee, has approved the candidate’s qualification pertaining to this policy.

L. Evaluation

Student Evaluations are a tool for measuring a student employee’s performance as it relates to their duties. A copy of the Human Resource approved evaluation form can be found on the Human Resource Services (HRS) website (www.hr.niu.edu), under Forms. It is recommended that a department evaluate student employees:

      1. At the end of each academic semester
      2. When a raise is being given in the middle of the semester
      3. When the student is not maintaining satisfactory performance
      4. When an employee terminates.

When the evaluation process has been completed and signed by both the student and the supervisor, the original should be sent to the Student Employment Office.  The evaluation will be kept in the student employment file for future job references.

M. Nepotism

Northern Illinois University (NIU)’s policy for the employment of relatives is the same for student employees as it is for all other university employees.

Employees are selected for employment and promotion without regard to relationship by blood or marriage in accordance with appropriate qualifications for the performance of specified duties. However, no individual shall initiate or participate in personnel decisions involving initial employment, retention, promotion, salary, leave of absence or other direct benefit to an individual employee who is a member of the same immediate family or immediate household. Immediate family includes an employee's spouse, parent, brother, sister, and child.

IV. Hiring Procedures for Student Employees

  1. Determining Job Classification
    Currently the Student Employment Office has several classifications available for student employment, which are available on the human resource website. Employees should be put in a classification based on the duties being performed and not the rate the department wishes to pay.
  2. Determining Rate of Pay
    All departments must comply with the pay rates set forth for each classification. The source of the department’s funding does not influence the wage. Salary increases may be given each semester and merit increases may be given during the semester provided a valid justification is received and approved.
    Wage justification in memorandum form addressed to the Student Employment Office must be received for the following circumstances:
    • Salary starting above the range minimum
    • Salary increases in the middle of the semester
    • An increase of more than $0.25 per hour
  3. Creating or Changing a Student Position
    Departments can create a new student position by submitting a Position Request Form to the Student Employment Office. For instructions on how to complete the Position Request Form, see the Student Employment Handbook for Departments.
  4. Posting a Vacancy
    The On-Line Student Application System allows departments to post their vacancies to the system themselves. To obtain your login and password, contact Student Employment to sign up for a training session.
  5. Hiring Student Employees
    Before starting the hiring paperwork, hiring departments should check to see if the university is currently employing, or has previously employed, the student you desire to hire. To do this, go to the PeopleSoft section of the Human Resource Services’ website (http://www.hr.niu.edu/peoplesoft/index.cfm).
    The Required Forms Matrix located on the Human Resource Services website (www.hr.niu.edu) is designed to serve as a quick reference for department preparing paperwork for different employment transactions.
    Initial Hiring Paperwork
    Prior to employing a student employee, the department must have an established position on file with Human Resource Services. If you do not have a position available, please refer to the Creating or Changing a Student Position section of this policy. A department can submit a Position Request Form and the hiring paperwork at the same time.
    A department will complete all initial hire paperwork requirements when a student has never been employed at Northern Illinois University in any capacity. The department will be able to determine this by looking up the employee on the Human Resource Services’ web site (see the Hiring Student Employees section of this policy).
    It is important that all of the documents are completed in their entirety and sent to the Student Employment Office by the Human Resource Services (HRS) paperwork deadline. These deadlines are identified on the payroll calendar, which is available under the documents section of the Human Resource Services’ website. Failure to comply will result in the student employee being paid late.

           

III. References

Illinois Civil Service Statute and Rules (Chapter VI, Section 250.70)

Board of Trustee Regulations

Illinois Campus Security Act (PA: 88-629)