Revised HR Policies to Affect Student Worker Hours, Enrollment Requirements
Starting in the fall, new guidelines will take effect that will change enrollment requirements and work hour limits for UA student workers and graduate assistants and associates.
The revised Human Resources policies are intended to ensure University compliance with Arizona State Retirement System requirements and provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Currently, student workers must be enrolled at the UA with a minimum of one credit hour. Under the revised policy, they will need to be enrolled in at least six credit hours during the academic year. Enrollment during the winter and summer sessions is not required as long as students are enrolled for the previous and subsequent semesters.
The change will ensure that student workers will not be considered University employees by the Arizona State Retirement System and thereby will not be required, along with their hiring department, to pay into the system.
"We carefully examined the data on our student worker population, which is roughly about 6,000 student workers on campus," said Helena Rodrigues, director of Human Resources strategy and planning. "The vast majority of our student workers are already enrolled in six credits or more. We don't feel like the policy change is an enormous change, but it helps guarantee better compliance with ASRS rules and the ACA."
Students who are enrolled for less than six credit hours will still be eligible for employment on campus, but must be employed in a non-student worker employment category. Students who are enrolled at another institution, such as Pima Community College, may also be employed at the UA in a non-student worker employment category.
Also beginning in the fall, the amount of hours student workers can work will be reduced to comply with provisions of the Affordable Care Act.
Student workers will be able to work up to 25 hours per week during the academic year, and up to 35 hours per week during the winter and summer sessions. This is a change from the previous policy, which allowed for 30 hours per week during the academic year and 40 hours per week during vacation periods when classes are not in session – except for students enrolled in summer courses, who were limited to 30 hours.
Meanwhile, for graduate assistant and associate positions, the maximum appointment of .75 full-time equivalent will no longer be an option. The new maximum appointment will be .66 full-time equivalent during the academic year. Full-time equivalent, or FTE, represents the number of hours worked to the number of workable hours in the week.
Under the Employer Mandate portion of the Affordable Care Act, student workers or graduate assistant and associates who average 30 hours per week or more during the course of a one-year evaluative period become eligible for employer-sponsored health insurance and will not be eligible to remain in student worker or graduate assistant and graduate associate positions.
"We developed these guidelines based on broad community input, but we are committed to revising them if necessary," Rodrigues said. "We want to ensure that our policies and guidelines support the University in meeting its goals."
To help departments monitor student worker hours and enrolled credit hours, University Information Technology Services and Human Resources have developed two dashboard tools, available here.
"The most pressing question that we get is, 'How am I going to keep track of my student worker's hours?'" Rodrigues said. "Student workers sometimes take on more than just one job sometimes on campus."