Revised August 20, 2007

I. Introduction

As the costs of higher education continue to rise, students are finding it increasingly necessary to seek monetary assistance to finance their education. University financial aid programs offer assistance to students in four basic forms: grants, loans, assistantships and part-time employment. The university, acting in the best interest of the students, continues to identify jobs within the university environment that can be performed by a part-time student employee. Often the jobs are closely related to the educational pursuits of the student. Further effort is made to offer work schedules that are flexible to accommodate the limitations imposed by class schedules. Through the employment of students, the university can maximize its financial assistance to students.

Students may be hired to assist administrators, faculty and staff in carrying out their duties in the University of Wisconsin System. This paper sets forth the University of Wisconsin System operating policies for employment of student employees, since the Wisconsin Statutes do not define procedures relating to student employees. UW System Administrative Policy 215 (SYS 215), Payment Methods and Timing for Payroll addresses payroll payment policies.

Special rules apply for the Student FICA Exemption and are addressed in UW System Administrative Policy 206 (SYS 206), Student FICA Exemptions. SYS 206, Student FICA Exemptions states: “The following services shall be excluded from OASDHI coverage, and subsequent modifications of the state-federal agreement shall continue to provide for their exclusion:….Services performed in the employ of a school, college, or university, if the service is performed by a student who is enrolled and regularly attending classes at the school, college, or university.”

II. Definition

For the purposes of this policy, “student employee” is defined as an unclassified employee, at least sixteen (16) years old[1], of the University of Wisconsin System who:

  1. is registered/enrolled for academic credit at an educational institution for the current or upcoming semester. An educational institution shall be defined as:
    1. an accredited institution of higher learning granting associate degrees or higher;
    2. a technical college;
    3. a vocational or trade school; and
    4. a high school.
  2. provide part-time and/or temporary administrative, clerical, laborer, technical, or other general support to administrators, faculty, and staff of the institution.
  3. are not appointed as a student assistant or employee in training as specified in s. 36.19, Wis. Stats. and as defined in Unclassified Personnel Guideline #1.
  4. participate in an employment relationship as defined in UW System Administrative Policy 235 (SYS 235), Personal Services Payments.

Eligibility for summer employment extends to (a) students enrolled for the summer term, (b) students registered during the prior spring term who are planning to continue as students during the fall semester or (c) new students or pre-registered continuing students accepted for the next fall term.

III. Types of Student Employee and Compensation

A. Hourly Student Employee

Students are normally compensated on an hourly basis and are paid through the regular student payroll system.

B. Non-Hourly Student Appointments and Employment

On occasion, jobs may be of such a nature that determination of an hourly wage rate is not practical. Compensation for these types of positions can be on a non-hourly or salaried basis. When the duties of the position mandate irregular working hours such that timecard/sheet record keeping is impractical or there is no direct relationship between effort and hours worked, the position may be established as non-hourly or salaried. Such positions are frequently managerial/supervisory or otherwise semi- or para-professional in nature, requiring the employee to “work upon demand,” apply special skills, or both. Student managers/supervisors of University Centers or Unions, theaters and other cultural events; summer orientation leaders and residence hall counselors are typical examples of non-hourly student employees. Student employees in this category are paid through the regular student payroll system.

C. Compensation

When a job that can be performed by a student is established to include an employment relationship as defined in SYS 235Personal Services Payments every attempt should be made to establish an hourly wage rate as a compensation basis. Under special conditions, student employees may be paid on a non-hourly basis. In establishing compensation levels, the rates shall:

  1. reflect local student employee job market conditions.
  2. comply with applicable state and federal statutes, and policies of the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System.
  3. when hourly, shall not exceed the minimum of the salary range for classified employees with similar duties, and shall provide compatibility between regular student rates and work-study rates as governed by federal regulations promulgated by the U.S. Department of Education. Exceptions may be granted by an appropriately designated official of the institution.

IV. System Administration Responsibilities

  1. Develop and approve broad operating policies and procedures.
  2. Communicate to the institutions the federal and state regulations governing student employment and, in particular, the statutory changes affecting such employees.
  3. Provide counsel and coordination of administrative services to the institutions as required to support the development of consistent and uniform student employment and payroll policies, administrative procedures, and technical systems.
  4. Monitor the student employment program through management audits of student employment and payroll systems.
  5. Through the UWS Service Center, produce the following for each student employee:
    1. An earnings statement that includes:
      1. The employee’s name
      2. Gross earnings
      3. Net earnings
      4. Federal and state taxes
      5. Social Security (if any)
      6. Identification of the pay period
      7. Year-to-date totals for gross earnings as well as for federal, state, and Social Security tax deductions
    2. A W-2 income tax statement at the end of each calendar year.

V. Institutional Responsibilities

  1. The Chancellor of each institution (or designee) is assigned the responsibility to operate its student employment program, including implementation of UW System policies and procedures, institutional compensation plans and monitoring processes.
  2. The Chancellor shall appoint a committee to review and advise on the operation of the institution’s student employment wage plan.
  3. The Chancellor (or designee) shall determine which student employment jobs will be compensated on a non-hourly pay basis (salaried).
  4. The Chancellor (or designee), with advice of the appointed Committee, shall establish a rate structure that is consistent with the compensation policies in this paper, and that will:
    1. allow for an adjustment to the hourly and non-hourly rates if there is a change in the assigned work responsibilities or the student achieves relevant work experience.
    2. establish a maximum rate which cannot be exceeded without approval of the university official designated by the Chancellor to monitor the student employment program.
  5. The Chancellor shall establish guidelines relating to the maximum amount of time which can be worked by student employees. Student employment should be part time or temporary, except during breaks between academic terms and during the summer.
  6. Institutions shall communicate to their student employees the conditions of employment, performance expectations, and insurance coverages (FICA, Worker’s Compensation). Such understanding can be facilitated by written communications.
  7. Hourly and non-hourly student employees shall be paid on a bi-weekly schedule.
  8. Provide or make available through automated means tax and earnings statements to student employees.
  9. Each institution shall maintain student payroll records which constitute adequate financial records and audit trails, including the certification of time and effort as required by federal regulations (OMB Circular A-21).

VI. Nondiscrimination and Affirmative Action

Affirmative action considerations apply to student employee and student employee should not be subject to discrimination on the basis of age, ancestry, color, creed, disability, national origin, marital status, parental status, political affiliation, pregnancy, sex or sexual orientation.

[1]Individuals under the age of 18 may be subject to various child labor laws and regulations. These laws and regulations may require work permits and place restrictions on work hours and type of employment.