Student Employment Policies and Procedures

This publication, intended for both students and employers, is a reference document on student employment policies and procedures, as provided under the umbrella organization, the Career Center. Its information and guidelines will help ensure that a student seeking employment on campus will receive fair and equal treatment by providing students and staff with current employment policies, roles and responsibilities. It is the responsibility of supervisors to make sure that their student employees are aware of the policies and procedures pertinent to their employment. Anyone having questions about university student employment procedures or particular situations is encouraged to contact the Career Center.

Career Center and Student Employment

Student Employment Philosophy

Roles and Responsibilities

Eligibility Criteria for Use of Career Center

Classification and Compensation

Student Employee Casual-Restricted Status

Classification and Compensation

Recruitment and Hiring

Job Posting Guidelines

Student Employment Best Practices

Recruitment and Hiring

Clearance to Commence Work Authorization

Employment Forms and Required Documents

The Employee Request System (ERS)

Work-Study Program

Maintaining, Extending, and Separating Employees

Extension of Employment

Ending Appointments and Separation Guidelines

General Employment Information

Student Employee Benefits

Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act

Critical Positions & Background Checks

Student FICA or "Safe Harbor"

Work Schedules

Policy for Termination and Reduction in Time

Resources for Students and Employees

More Student Employment Information

ER System Help for Faculty, Staff and Employers

ER System Help for Students

University of California Santa Cruz Student Employment Philosophy:

Student employment benefits the student and the University. Research shows that on-campus student employment between 10 and 20 hours per week contributes significantly to retention.* UC Santa Cruz maintains a program of employment that provides students with financial assistance, work experience, and service opportunities.

Meeting Educational Expenses
Students desiring to meet educational expenses through part-time employment are encouraged and assisted in locating employment opportunities. The Career Center offers career development training in the areas of job search and interview techniques. In addition to providing a financial resource, part-time student employment at UC Santa Cruz serves as an educational tool to increase a student's job skills, enhance future career opportunities, and provide opportunities for recognition.

Complementing Academic Experience
Employment complements a student's academic experience by providing skill development and networking opportunities relevant to the student's major and/or career field of interest. It is the policy of the University to employ students part-time, and not interfere with students' academic pursuits or displace full-time employment opportunities.

Meeting Professional Standards
The University's student employment programs are subject to and will be administered in accordance with applicable Federal and State laws and statutes governing employment practices and strive to follow the professional standards of the National Student Employment Association.

* Pike, G. R., Kuh, G. D., & Massa-McKinley, R. (2009). First-Year Students’ Employment, Engagement, and Academic Achievement: Untangling the Relationship Between Work and Grades. NASPA Journal 45(4), pp. 560–582.
Cermak, K. & Filkins, J. (2007), On-Campus Employment as a Factor of Student Retention and Graduation, The Journal of Student Employment 11(1), pp. 10-14.

Back to top

Roles and Responsibilities

The Career Center is responsible for compliance with federal and University regulations and guidelines relevant to student employment. The Student Employment staff is available for campus-wide support on policies and procedures, maintaining an up-to-date web site on Career Center/Student Employment Policies and Procedures, and providing training on current, new or revised programs or systems relating to student employment.

The Human Resource Service Teams are the business entities responsible for both student and staff payroll/personnel processes, time reporting for all the units within their jurisdiction. Human Resource Service Teams are responsible for assuring that the UC Payroll System (PPS) transactions are prepared correctly and in compliance with human resources and compensation guidelines.

The Payroll/Accounting office monitors payroll time-reporting actions and offers guidance on specific payroll problems. The Human Resource Service Team holds primary responsibility for correctness and appropriateness of payroll actions, with the Payroll Office helping to identify and resolve specific issues. The Payroll Office handles reversal of Defined Contribution Plan deductions, if it has been incorrectly charged, upon authorization of the Career Center Student Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) Coordinator. The Payroll Office maintains all employment documents such as W4, Oath and I-9.

The Financial Aid and Scholarship office works closely with the Career Center in administering the Federal Work-Study Program, in compliance with Federal guidelines. The FAO provides current handbooks on the program, and determines work-study award allocations based on students' FAFSA applications for financial aid. All changes to the student's work-study limits throughout the year are updated on-line by the Financial Aid Office and notifications are sent via PAN (PPS notification sub-system) to the Human Resource Teams. Monthly reports detailing total work-study earnings are also sent to the Human Resource Service Teams.

The HR Compensation office establishes student assistant compensation and classification. They provide guidance on policy interpretation associated with attendance and leave accrual and use.

The Benefits office issues "Out of Compliance" reports when the Employee Database coding for student benefits eligibility is not consistent with the student program type or appointment duration. Student holiday, sick leave and vacation policy is based on Staff Human Resources guidelines for students, in accordance with their program type, title code, appointment percentage and duration of appointment. The Benefits Office handles reimbursement requests for DCP (Retirement) savings when a student is separated from University employment, and offers a "UCRS Distribution Kit for Non-Exempt Student Employees" if appropriate.

Back to top

Eligibility Criteria for Use of Career Center

Please see the Career Center Services Access Chart for a complete breakdown of service eligibility.

Full use of student employment services of the Career Center is limited to UCSC graduate and undergraduate students who are registered for the current term. Off-campus part-time and summer job listings are restricted to registered undergraduate students only. Some restrictions also apply to graduate students holding TA positions. Users of Career Center services must present a valid UCSC student registration identification card.

The use of Career Center services during the summer months is limited to any UCSC student who was registered or on approved leave of absence during the previous spring quarter AND who intends to register for the following fall quarter.

  • New and Transfer Students may use Career Center services and apply for on and off campus jobs 10 working days before the beginning of the quarter to which they have been admitted.
  • Students who have graduated are considered alumni and may not apply for or continue in student jobs. An exception is made for students graduating at the end of spring quarter who may retain their current position through 09/30/XX, but may not apply for new positions. For further information, see Extensions policy.
  • Students on Leave of Absence
    • may continue in an existing student job for one quarter only, plus summer, if they are returning the next quarter.
    • If on leave during spring quarter only, and intending to return in fall, may apply for new on-campus summer only jobs through an exception process (contact Career Center).
    • are not eligible for any other services (off-campus jobs, internships or advising)
    • must be paid from non work-study funds only and will be subject to FICA deductions.
  • Summer Session only students may apply for on-campus summer only jobs by paying a $30 fee to the Career Center. No other career services are available. More Information
  • Graduate Students holding 50% teaching assistant positions must receive approval from the graduate department before any additional appointments can be processed. The Graduate Dean requires a letter requesting the exception from the student's department and/or faculty adviser. The letter must give the details for the job (amount of time involved), and how the additional work will affect the student's progress to degree.
  • University of California Alumni may have access to various Career Center services by purchasing a Career Center Access card for an annual fee. This card entitles alumni to career advising, job fair participation, and access to the SlugQuest system. Alumni are not permitted to hold jobs in student titles. Please see our Alumni page for more information.

Students ineligible to use Career Center Services are those who:

  • Have terminated their student-status (have withdrawn or graduated). See information above regarding access for alumni.
  • Are barred or disqualified from student status
  • Are not registered and only enrolled through University Extension or Summer Session.

(Note: Some services are available by paying a fee or are extended through summer, see above)

Back to top

Student Employee Casual-Restricted Status

The terms and conditions of student assistant positions are governed by Personnel Policies for Staff Members (PPSM) and student employees are designated as Professional and Support Staff (PSS) with Casual/Restricted status.

  • Student assistants normally work less than fifty percent, except for quarter breaks or during the summer, during which time the student may work up to full-time.
  • Student assistant positions are reserved for registered undergraduate and graduate students of the University of California, Santa Cruz.
  • The appointment is temporary.
  • Working hours are irregular.
  • Work is secondary to the student's academic and student life.
  • Work schedules are flexible enough to support the academic program of the student.
  • As distinguished from regular staff positions, student assistant positions have less-complex responsibilities, require fewer skills, less knowledge, experience and training; continuing responsibility and/or on-going accountability for the work performed. Incumbents work less independently and exercise judgment less often and must be directly supervised.

Back to top

Classification and Compensation

Determining Classification:

The classification determination is a flexible one whereby Human Resource Service Teams have authority to determine/suggest the classification of student positions. The final approval for the classification/compensation is given by the Career Center when the Employee Request (ER) is submitted.

As an aid in the creation of new ERs, Human Resource Service Teams and hiring supervisors with ER system logins have universal access to ERs created by all other Human Resource Service Teams, and may save and modify an existing ER as their own ER creation.

If the position does not fit the majority of the criteria at each level, the Human Resource Service Team may consult with the Career Center regarding the appropriate classification or indicate on the Employee Request (ER) that they wish the Career Center to determine the classification. When the Career Center classifies a position, Human Resource Service Teams are encouraged to record that information for future reference when classifying similar positions. Human Resource Service Teams are encouraged to determine the classification level for replacement or similar positions.

Determining Compensation:

Student Assistant IV pay rates are ranged according to the pay schedule (see below) for a given academic year. Students are normally hired at the minimum pay rate of the range for a given classification. However, Human Resource Teams will have the flexibility to recruit above the minimum pay rate. Recruitment and/or retention issues are the primary consideration for posting of positions with above minimum pay rates. Consistency in pay rates is strongly encouraged for future hires for like/similar positions within Human Resource Service Teams. If the pay rate exceeds 10% of the minimum pay rate, there must be a justification statement included in the "Notes for Career Center" section of the ER. (The assumption is that there will not be many requests for salary rates exceeding 10% of the minimum; such requests will be approved by the Career Center based on existing or known criteria/circumstances, e.g. higher summer pay rates due to retention issues, etc.)

Student Assistant Pay Schedule

Note: on 6/22/2014 the Student Assistant series was consolidated into a single classification, Student Assistant IV.

Current Salary Range for Student Assistant IV (effective 01/01/2016)

Minimum Maximum
Assistant IV $10.00 $30.00

Policy for Movement through the Salary Range

The Student Assistant classification allows for unit funded movement through the salary range, whereby the Human Resource Service Team may grant increases up to 25% in a single fiscal year based on either merit performance or "unit specific" considerations such as:

  • assumption of greater independence
  • difficulty retaining incumbents
  • extensive/significant experience related to the requirements of the position
  • performance recognition (merit increase)

NOTE: Human Resource Service Teams have the option to adopt merit/performance related salary adjustments and to establish their own internal criteria, policies, procedures and forms.

The unit will fund such increases.

Authority/Documentation for Pay Increase:

  • Increase within 25% of current pay - Human Resource Service Teams have the authority to approve "Movement Through the Range" increases for individual pay rate increases not exceeding 25% of the student's current pay rate. All such changes will require some form of supportive documentation that initiates the action (e-mail or other written request from the supervisor and/or performance evaluation) and action/budgetary authorization according to Human Resource Service Team procedures.
  • Merit Increase - Documentation for performance-related increases may be maintained by the Human Resource Service Teams. A revised ER is not required.
  • Changed Duties - If the duties change, the student should be re-hired under a new or modified ER to reflect the increased level of responsibility.
  • Increase above 25% of current pay - Any increase exceeding 25% of the student's current pay rate require approval by the Career Center. As above, no ER is required for merit increases, however, if duties change, the existing ER must be modified and approved by the Career Center.

Back to top

Job Posting Guidelines

After review by the Career Center, the job listing (ER) will be posted for students under non-work-study listing, work-study listing or both. If the Human Resource Team wishes to publicize its position further at different colleges, divisions or student service units, they are encouraged to do so.

Period of Job Posting

As student employees are temporary and part-time (Casual-Restricted), recruitment is not held to the strict hiring guidelines of career recruitment. However, in order to allow all interested students to apply and to draw the largest applicant pool, hiring units are encouraged to indicate a final filing (posting) date.

Please see the HR Fair Hiring Guide and the Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action Office web sites for best practices.

Non Discrimination and Affirmative Action Policy

Non discrimination and affirmative action guidelines exist to ensure that fair employment practices will be applied to all UCSC employees. Campus employers are expected to recruit openly through the Career Center to fill vacant and new student positions.

On campus student employment is a critical factor in student retention, therefore campus employers are requested to give priority consideration to the hiring of UCSC students for all temporary staff positions requiring less than 20 hours of work per week during the academic year and temporary positions during the summer months for 20 to 40 hours of work per week.

Please see the policies listed on the Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action Policy page.

Back to top

Student Employment Best Practices

  • Establish clear goals.
  • Provide clear written expectations.
  • Utilize active listening.
  • Regularly schedule meetings.
  • Provide student with the tools necessary for performing the work assigned (training, materials, etc.)
  • Give plenty of feedback. Let employees know if their work is on or off track. Expect new workers to make some mistakes. When performance is off track, assume first that the instructions were not clear, and clarify expectations.
  • Set a positive example of professional, polite and ethical behavior.
  • Remember that student employees are students first.
  • Show appreciation for exceptional work.
  • Ask for student's input.
  • Be an accessible supervisor.
  • Be a continuous learner.
  • Be a teacher.
  • Encourage risk taking and decision-making.
  • Communicate openly and honestly.
  • Get to know your people. Offer a friendly greeting at the beginning of each workday; talk to them occasionally about outside interests. Let them know that you care about them as individuals.
  • Don't ignore non-performance. As soon as you realize someone is not doing the job, check to see what's happening. Let the worker know that you expect performance.
  • Remember that the most important intangible part of the work climate is a healthy sense of self-esteem. When workers feel good about themselves, about the company and the work they do, it will be much easier to get cooperation from them.
  • Follow-up. After assigning work, be sure it is being done correctly.

Back to top

Guidelines for the Hiring and Interview Process

Beginning the Hiring Process

  • Plan ahead and hire students prior to peak work periods.
  • Be clear about the job being offered. Know the job duties, hours, who will supervise, etc.
  • Read the applications carefully before the interviews.
  • If you have questions regarding the hiring process, refer to this manual. If you still need information, call the Career Center prior to starting the hiring process.

The Interview Process

  • The interview is the most important part of the hiring process. Treat the student applicant as if you were hiring a regular career employee, as this person may become a part of your work force.
  • Be organized going into the interview to create a sense of security and relaxation for the job applicant.
  • Have a copy of the job description available for review by the applicant.
  • Before the interview, make a list of the job requirements to use as criteria, and from which to develop interview questions.
  • Introduce yourself and address the applicant by name.
  • Let the applicant know how long the interview will last.
  • Do not allow interruptions from telephone calls, knocks on door, etc.
  • Be enthusiastic and courteous during the interview.
  • Evaluate the applicant objectively.
  • It is expected that interviewers create a set of questions, based on the job duties and qualifications, which all applicants will be asked. Careful, written notes about applicant responses will assist in making the correct hiring decisions.
  • Questions asked in an interview should be relevant to the job. Personal questions are inappropriate.
  • Do not criticize an applicant during the interview. If, for example, an applicant's appearance is not acceptable, you may not provide a critique on this personal issue. However, you may point out that the hiring unit has a dress code if a dress code was advertised as part of the job description.
  • Tell the applicant what the job requires, including a description of office rules. You can explain rules about coming to work on time and when work breaks are allowed, for example. Talk with the students about wages and benefits.
  • Have the applicant tell you how his or her experience relates to the job. Many students have relevant unpaid or volunteer experience that should be explored in the interview.
  • Do not hesitate to encourage the applicant to respond to a question in more detail.
  • Silence is acceptable. Give the applicant time to think before answering an interview question.

Simultaneous Non-Work-Study and Work-Study Recruitment

Employing units may opt to post a job for both non-work-study and work-study candidates simultaneously. In this case it is important that during the interview process the candidates are interwoven so that neither work-study nor non-work-study students are given priority. No hiring decision should be made until all applications have been reviewed and all potential candidates have been interviewed.

Making a Decision

  • Make a list of the advertised job requirements for the job prior to the interview and evaluate each applicant against the items on the list after each interview.
  • Be prepared to explain selection criteria and why a particular applicant was or was not hired.
  • For candidates not selected for a position, there is a standard email letter included in the supervisor's list of options in the ER system. Supervisors are encouraged to send either this generic letter or a personal email informing the candidate that the job is already filled.

Hiring Process

  • Supervisor agrees to hire student and clicks the "Start Hire" button at the bottom of the application in the ER system.
  • Supervisor checks that all information is correct, especially the account number.
  • Supervisor verifies or changes start date, end date and estimated hours per week.
  • Supervisor clicks the "Complete Hire" button. The student is now hired. Before clicking "Complete Hire", you may cancel the hire action.

Getting the student on Payroll

When the "Complete Hire" button is clicked, there are basically two different scenarios:

  • Student is already active in the payroll system (PPS) and may start work as of the start date indicated. The Human Resource Service Team will complete the PPS data entry.
  • Student is NOT active in PPS. Student must come to the Career Center with the required documents to complete payroll signup. A "Blue Card" will be issued to the student so the supervisor can confirm they have completed the signup process. Student may not start work before signup is completed.

After Hiring

  • This may be a student's first job, so do not assume he or she knows what to do without training and supervision.
  • Supporting and training a student for a position will enhance performance.
  • Explain work-rules and regulations; what the employee's rights are; when a longevity increase can be expected, etc.
  • This may not be the student's only job; make the work hours clear so scheduling conflicts do not arise.

Back to top

Clearance to Commence Work Authorization

Students New to the UCSC Payroll System:

It is the supervisor's responsibility to verify that its student employees have completed the initial hire procedures at the Career Center. The Clearance to Commence Work Authorization (blue card) is issued to the newly hired student and must be given to the supervisor before s/he begins work. Consequences for allowing a student to work before employment forms are completed at the Career Center include the following:

  • The student is not officially employed.
  • The student is not covered by worker's compensation.
  • The employing unit is responsible for processing a damage payment.
  • The student's paycheck for hours worked before the signing of UC employment forms will be considerably delayed.

Re-hired Students:

If the student is "Inactive" or "Separated" on the Employee Data-base, s/he must come to the Career Center as "re-hire" to update any necessary employment forms after which the Clearance to Commence Work Authorization will be issued.

Students Currently Active on the UCSC Payroll System:

New jobs for "Continuing" employees (those already active on PPS) are entered in PPS by the hiring Human Resource Service Team. Every job must have an approved Employee Request (ER).

Back to top

Employment Forms and Required Documents

Employment Forms

The Career Center coordinates university employment for students who are new or returning to the UCSC payroll system. It is the policy of the University that all individuals must sign the State Oath of Allegiance, (unless a non-citizen) and Patent Agreement prior to commencing employment. Supervisors are responsible for assuring that work is not performed prior to Career Center employment authorization. The individual is not an employee of the University until the Oath and the Patent Agreement are signed. If employment forms are not completed before work commences, damage payment forms will need to be completed by the Human Resource Service Team, and the student's paycheck will be considerably delayed. After employment and on-line entry is completed at the Career Center, a Post Authorization Notification (PAN) will be sent to the employing unit's Human Resource Service Team.

I-9 Process

Under the Federal Department of Homeland Security, employers must certify that anyone they hire is legally entitled to work in the U.S. This law applies to EVERYONE, native-born U.S. citizens as well as immigrants, foreign visitors, and naturalized citizens. Whether a student intends to work on or off-campus (anywhere in the US), s/he must provide documentation of eligibility to work before s/he can be hired or re-hired. No one will be hired or re-hired at UCSC for any position, including academic appointments, without proof of identity and employment eligibility. To avoid delays in hiring dates, late paychecks, etc., please see the list of acceptable documents needed to complete payroll signup at the Career Center.

Back to top

The Employee Request System (ERS)

The online ER system integrates the recruitment, application and hiring of all student positions in one unified process. The basic requirements of hiring are:

  • All student hires must have an approved Employee Request (ER)
  • All students must be hired through the ER system
  • For complete steps for hiring students, creating/posting ERs, reviewing submitted applications, and completing the authorization process, please refer to the appropriate heading in the Help system at the Employee Request website.

Back to top

Work-Study Program

The purpose of the Work-Study Program is to stimulate and promote part-time employment of registered students who are eligible for financial aid and are awarded a work-study allocation. The program provides a variety of on and off-campus positions, and the goal is to provide job experience in areas closely related to the student's career or educational goals. The Federal government or other funding sources supply a portion of work-study student salaries, and the hiring unit pays the remaining balance.

Work Study Eligibility

The Financial Aid and Scholarship Office is responsible for determining the financial need and eligibility for each student who applies for financial aid. Nationally established guidelines determined by federal and university policies are used to calculate eligibility. Students who are eligible may be awarded aid through a variety of programs including grants, loans, scholarships, and work-study.

A student must complete an application for financial aid in order to be considered for a work-study award. A Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or renewal application must be submitted to the federal processor by the deadline in early March. In addition, documents such as tax returns must be submitted to the Financial Aid Office by the published deadline in early May. As funding permits, late applicants are processed on a first-come, first-served basis after all applications completed on time have been awarded.

Work-Study Calendar

Work-study is awarded for the academic year only. Due to limited funds, summer work-study is not available. Work-study funds may be used during breaks within the academic year.

Types of Funding Sources

The two Work-Study programs used by the Financial Aid Office when awarding aid are Federal and President's. Federal work-study is funded federally, while the President's program uses University funding. In the work-study program field (WSP) field on PPS, an "F" designates Federal program; a "P" designates President's. The employing unit is charged for 40% of the student's earnings, plus a 10% Financial Aid administrative surcharge. The student's work-study allocation represents the gross earnings that the student is eligible to earn with work-study funds, not the amount the employer is charged. Once the student has earned all of the work-study allocated to him or her, the unit has the option of changing the student employee to non-work-study status and continuing to pay the entire wage from its own non work-study funding sources. Work-study funding is applicable only for gross hours worked and may not cover bonuses, holiday pay, etc. Since students during the academic year are normally employed less than 50%, they rarely would accrue vacation, holiday or sick pay.

Work-Study Limits

An Academic Information System (AIS) and an Employment Database (EDB) interface manage work-study award limits in the Payroll/Personnel System. Once work-study jobs are updated in the EDB and work-study students are paid without a work-study limit, a '99999' default work-study limit is established in the EDB. The AIS/EDB interface will automatically see this 99999-default amount and then insert the correct work-study amount in the EDB. All changes to the work-study limit throughout the year are maintained by the interface or updated by the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office.

The work-study award is placed at the employee level in the EDB in one grand total. As work-study students add jobs and/or earn work-study earnings, the total award is reduced until it is exhausted. Students and multiple employing units will be responsible for tracking earned work-study awards. There will be a report sent out to Human Resource Service Teams each month by the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office that details total work-study earnings.

Revision of Work-Study Eligibility Limits

If it becomes necessary to revise a work-study award due to a change in financial circumstances or a student's request, a Post Authorization Notification (PAN) will be sent by the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office to the Human Resource Service Team. A Work-Study Award Report is sent out to employers monthly, which also serves as official notification of a change in award. Each subsequent award revision supersedes prior notifications.

Types of Work-Study Jobs Available

  • On-Campus: Most work-study jobs are on-campus and differ from non-work-study jobs only in terms of the funding source and the employment process.
  • Off-Campus: An off-campus employer must be non-profit, non-religious and non-political. They must contract with the University through the work-study coordinator at the Career Center. A student may initiate a conversation with a qualifying employer to encourage them to participate in the work-study program. The Financial Aid and Scholarship Office will act as the Human Resource Service Team for all off-campus work-study positions.

Continuing Work-study students

When students are returning to work in fall, the student MUST be re-hired as work-study through the ER system. The start date for a work-study appointment is the start date specified on the ER hire record. In no case shall a student be set up as work-study in PPS unless there is a corresponding work-study hire in the ER system.

Academic Eligibility

Work-study eligibility is contingent upon the student employee making satisfactory academic progress and being a currently registered student. Any student who is barred from enrollment, withdraws, takes a leave of absence, or is not registered loses eligibility for all financial aid including work-study. If a student is notified that s/he has been barred from enrollment and is appealing the decision, it is NOT advisable that the student continue to work. If the appeal is denied and the student has worked, the employer will be responsible for 100% of those earnings. Work-study employees may work up to the effective date of withdrawal.

Termination of Work-Study

It is the responsibility of the employing unit to keep accurate records of work-study earnings and remove students from work-study payroll status when allocations are exhausted. Any earnings in excess of work-study allocations will be automatically charged to the unit for 100% of earnings.

A "Notice of Termination of Work-Study" will be sent to those units that have not complied with the above procedures and responsibilities when their employees earn more than their award. The department should then immediately take the employee off of work-study status. The employee will not be paid from work-study funds after this Notice of Termination is issued. The employing unit will transfer any work-study earnings in excess of the award to its non-work-study payroll account.

It is recommended that at the time of the initial interview for the work-study position, the employer make it clear to the student whether his or her services will be retained once the work-study funds are depleted (i.e. converted to non-work study).

Classification and Wage Rates for Work-Study Students

Classifications and wage rates are established in accordance with the UCSC Class Specifications. See: Student Assistant Classification Series Concept.

Work-Study and Benefits

As UCSC casual/restricted employees, work-study employees are eligible to accrue sick leave and holiday pay when they work over 50% of the hours of the month. PPSM policies apply to work-study employees, as well as non-work-study employees. However, if a student works more than 20 hours per week for one month or longer and qualifies for these benefits, the employing unit must pay 100% of those benefits. (Call the Career Center or the Payroll Office for information should this situation occur.) The Work-Study Program will not pay for any time other than hours actually worked, (although a 15 minute rest period may be granted for each work period of three continuous hours or more, not to exceed two rest periods per day). See: Student Benefits.

Work-Study Split Awards

Work-study funds will be used on a first come, first served basis when there are multiple jobs. Funds will be split among all work-study jobs until they are exhausted. Employers will be notified via email when a student is hired into an additional work-study job. A student may have the option of working with their supervisor to convert any job from work-study to non work-study.

Re-allocation of Funds by Student

Students are NOT able to designate specific amounts of their award to specific jobs.

Unused Work-Study Allocations

Unused work-study allocations cannot be carried over from one academic year to the next. By student request, approved by the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office, a work-study award or a portion of it may be converted to loan.

Back to top

Extension of Employment

Maintaining of Employment Status for Student Casual/Restricted Appointments

Student employee appointments have a unique configuration. The appointment line on the EDB is typically set to 10/31/xx and the distribution end date for non-work-study jobs is 6/30/xx. (For work-study positions, the distribution end-date is the last day of the academic year, as work-study funding does not apply beyond the academic year.) This sustained appointment configuration greatly streamlines the employment procedure, enabling students who may not be working for your department next year (but who intend to work somewhere else on campus) to remain active in the employee data-base (EDB) over the summer months.

Extending Appointments

Any student employee who is a registered student in the spring quarter and who will be a regularly registered student in the ensuing fall quarter is eligible to be extended through the summer and the next fiscal year. Persons not eligible for extension are those students who will not be returning as registered students in the fall quarter.

Because Student Casual Restricted positions automatically end at the end of the academic or fiscal year, campus units must formally extend the appointment of those students who will continue to work over the summer or who will return to work in the same position in the fall quarter. Student employees should be extended only if there is reasonable certainty that the student will return to the same unit and job in the fall. In fall, they will need to provide only address changes, check disposition, or W-4 changes in order to update their EDB (Employment Database) record.

Policy for Employees Graduating in Spring:

Staff, upon the request of the appropriate unit supervisor, may extend a student who is graduating at the END of the academic year, for up to three months during the summer.

The criteria for extending graduating students are as follows:

  • Extensions under this policy may begin at the end of the school year and may remain in effect through September 30 only.
  • Extension requests beyond September 30 must be submitted to Staff Human Resources for review and approval. (Student status will terminate after September 30.)
  • Graduating seniors must be employed during the spring term, and may be extended in an existing position only.

Extension Timeline

  1. Beginning in March:
    • Human Resource Service Teams start thinking about extensions and separations of registered students whose positions will end on or before 6/30/XX.
    • The Payroll department coordinates the distribution of the Extend/Separate Report to Human Resource Service Teams, which includes student employees with distributions ending 6/30/XX.
    • Human Resource Service Teams collect from supervisors information about students to be extended or separated and can use the Extend/Separate Report as a data collection tool for extending or separating student employees.
  2. By the end of June:
    • Extend student employees whose positions extend through the summer. Give these student employees first priority to ensure they will list on the July time sheet.
  3. By the end of July:
    • Extend through 6/30 of the following year any student employees you are reasonably sure will return in the fall.
    • Separate student employees you are positive are not returning to the University (e.g. graduated, withdrawn, transferred, studying abroad).
    • Leave "as is" any other student employees for whom your unit is the only employer. In most instances this will result in a "hanging" appointment (i.e. distribution with 6/30/XX end date drops off; appointment with 10/31/XX end date remains). Extension or separation action will be taken in the fall as appropriate (see #4 and #5 below)
  4. Beginning in September:
    • In coordination with supervisors, determine appropriate action for student employees not previously extended or separated.
  5. By the end of October
    • Extend any returning student. Assure there is no break in service.
    • Add any additional positions for "continuing" status employees; assuring that there is no break in service. Change the home department, if appropriate, communicating as necessary with the Human Resource Service Team currently recorded as home department.
  6. In December:
    • The Career Center coordinates the distribution of the Inactive Student Employee Report to Human Resource Service Teams. This report will be run after the November purge (when appointments with end dates of 10/31/XX become Inactive). If Human Resource Service Teams are systematically separating student employees who are inactive or not returning to work, there should be very few (ideally zero) employees on this list.
    • Home departments separate any employee who did not return to unit and who has no current appointment with another unit; this includes:
      • Students with inactive status and
      • Students previously extended who did not return.
    • By the end of December MA open period; separate any student whose name appears on Inactive Student Employee Report.
    • At UCSC, the current practice is to process a "mass separation" in February for any students remaining on the "Inactive Student Employee Report" who have not already been separated.

Extending Non Work-Study Students

To extend a non-work-study appointment, the Human Resource Service Team will enter a new 10/31/XX end date (for the following fiscal year), and a new future distribution is entered beginning on the appropriate day of the following fall quarter and ending 6/30/XX. If the student is continuing to work through the summer and into the next year at the same pay rate and percentage, simply extend the distribution end date to 6/30 of the next fiscal year.

Remember to inform your extended students that they have been continued into the next year. Many students do not understand the casual/restricted extension process, and will not know what to do when they return to school.

Extending Work-Study Employees Over the Summer

The employment period for the Work-Study Program is from the first day of the fall quarter through the last day of the spring quarter. There is no work-study during summer. Employers can continue to employ students from one academic year to the next by extending an appointment/distribution as non-work-study. Units will be responsible for 100% of the student's wages.

Extension for Students with Full Time Summer Work

Human Resource Service Teams must update student EDB records to extend those students who will work in summer maintenance or custodial crews, or for Summer Conference Office. If the student adding a full-time (100%) summer position through 9/30/xx has other position(s) which are extendible through the following year the other positions will need to be ended for the summer months (to avoid exceeding 100% on the EDB). Those other positions may be set up with a future appointment beginning 10/1/xx in the coming fall quarter. This temporary interruption is not considered a break in service and will not require a recruitment action.


Be sure that a student holding two summer jobs does not work more than 40 hours per week. This would require payment of overtime, paid proportionately by the Human Resource Service Teams involved.

Changing from Non Work-Study to Work-Study Status

If a student already has the position and is simply changing from non-work-study to work-study status, the student must be re-hired in the ER system as work-study. Students cannot be paid out of work-study funds unless there is a corresponding work-study hire with start and end dates specified.

Extension Calendar Guidelines

The normal extension process begins in March, with the Human Resource Service Teams gathering information from supervisors as to which students will be returning. Human Resource Service Teams distribute a report showing end dates of 6/30/xx as a data collection tool.

By the end of the June Monthly Arrears (MA) open period, students working summer jobs should be extended on the Employee Data-base through 9/30/xx. By the end of the July MA period, students who will probably return should be extended through the following fiscal year (through 10/31/xx)

It is extremely important when extending full-time (100%) summer appointments into the coming academic year, that the appointment is reduced to a normal (under 50%) percentage. Otherwise, derivation into the UC Retirement System will automatically occur, a status, which is very difficult to reverse.

Back to top

Multi-Unit Student Employees

When two or more units employ a student in non-academic jobs, it is the responsibility of the Human Resource Service Teams to communicate with each other to decide which one will act as HOME Department. The following guidelines may determine which employer will act as the home Human Resource Service Team.

  • The unit in which the person was first employed will act automatically as the home department.
  • If two or more units hired the person at the same time, the unit in which the person will work the greatest number of hours per month will act as the home department.
  • In the event the person begins working for two or more units on the same date and for the same percentage of time, the home department will be determined as follows:
    1. The earliest time or date of the unit's Employee Request Form would establish the home department, or, if not determinable,
    2. The Career Center will assign the home department.

Once the Home HRT has been identified, that HRT is responsible for:

  1. Maintaining Time and Attendance records on total hours its student employee has worked in each of his or her jobs in other departments. It is the responsibility of the home department to ensure that the person is credited with sick leave, holiday (or in rare cases vacation pay) when appropriate, and that these leaves are taken and then recorded by all the student's employing units. Sick leave and holiday pay for work-study students must be compensated 100% with non-work-study funds. See Multiple Part-time Appointments chart.
  2. Separating the student when that action is deemed appropriate.
  3. Receiving and maintaining student FICA reports to be reviewed and investigated if there are questions on a student's FICA exempt/non-exempt status.
  4. Granting alternate access to another Human Resource Service Team. When an additional job is added for a student, the new employing unit will need access to the EDB in order to complete the on-line entry for the new position. In an email request, the employing unit should provide the following information:
    • name of employee and student or employee ID
    • Home department code to be added
    • information about the position being added, including title, percentage of time, begin and end dates of appointment

If a HRT is the employee's only employer and the appointment is ending, it is appropriate to separate the student, even if s/he is still eligible to work on campus. An actual break in service between jobs constitutes a valid reason for separation. When the HRT simply ends the appointment, or lets the distribution "fall off," the student will change to "Inactive" status once they are purged from the EDB. Any subsequent re-hire action will not be possible without a retroactive separation action by the former HRT home department. The separation process is important for these reasons:

  • student must be separated before any future re-hire action can take place
  • a clean, more accurate EDB
  • student able to access DCP accumulations if leaving the University
  • an opportunity to update address and W-4 information during re-hire process
  • cessation of sure pay (direct deposit)
  • accuracy of Student FICA reports tracking student employee/registered status

Back to top

Ending Appointments and Separation Guidelines

Inactive appointments ("hanging" appointments) without distributions that remain on the database after the student has ceased to work have no viability on the Employee database. Students without active appointments should be separated so that they can be re-hired to future positions.

Definition of terms:

Break in Service - any gap in employment status of one day or more (e.g. appointment ends on 10/31/xx and new appointment begins 10/5/xx). If there is a break in service, the student must be formally separated and re-hired.

Ending Appointment - giving an end date to an appointment and distribution will cause the student to become 'Inactive' on the Employee Database (EDB). Inactive students must be separated before they can be re-hired for a different job.

Separation - ending (by home department action) all appointments and separating student from the EDB via the "separation" bundle.

The Separation Process

The student is formally separated from the Employee Database by the Home Department Human Resource Service Team via the separation bundle which includes a function for ending all active appointments, and a function showing Last Day Worked, Separation Date and Reason for Separation. The actual last day worked should be used, not the appointment end date (which may be 10/31/xx). If the student is actually leaving the University, s/he may be offered a "UCRS Distribution Kit for Non-Exempt Student Employees’ provided to Human Resource Service Teams by the Benefits Office.

Recording Sick Leave/Holiday Accruals

All holiday or sick leave accrued by the student employee must be kept on record in case the student is later re-hired to another unit on campus. The Human Resource Service Teams must communicate with each other to ensure that all Attendance, Leave Use and Accrual Records are maintained and transferred appropriately to the current Human Resource Service Team. See: Student Benefits for Reinstatement of Sick Leave details.

Distribution of DCP Accumulations

A student employee must be separated from the EDB before they can request a distribution of any retirement funds (DCP) that may have been withheld in accordance with FICA regulations. If a student employee requests a distribution of DCP accumulations, they will need to be made aware that UCOP will not process the disposition should the student become an active UCSC employee again prior to the disposition being processed.

Separation During the Academic Year

If the appointment end date has past, and an employee is represented by only one Human Resource Service Team, it is appropriate to separate the student, even if s/he is still eligible to work on campus. It is also appropriate to process a separation action if it is known that the student has graduated or left the University. When the Human Resource Service Team simply ends an appointment, or the appointment end date has passed, the student will change to "Inactive" status. Any subsequent re-hire action will not be possible without a retroactive separation action by the former Human Resource Service Team home department. If the appointment and/or distribution has "fallen off", a new appointment and/or distribution must be created from history before the student can be separated. An appointment that has a future end date will not become inactive, even if there is no current distribution. Students who's appointment end date has past, or have left the University, should be separated as soon as possible for these reasons:

Back to top

Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act (CANRA)

Per the Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act (CANRA), some positions must be identified as a Mandated Reporter. The selected candidates will be required to report known or suspected child abuse or neglect as defined by CANRA and will be required to sign a Statement Acknowledging Requirement to Report Child Abuse prior to commencing employment. CANRA Penal Codes, and related definitions, requirements, and responsibilities may be obtained here:

Full text of Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act


CANRA Decision Tree

CANRA Mandated Reporter Packet

Separate from CANRA, the California Penal Code requires any person who reasonably believes he or she has observed murder, rape, or certain lewd or lascivious acts where the victim is a child under the age of 14 years to notify a peace officer (such as a campus or community police officer or a county sheriff) of the potential crime. This reporting mandate applies whether or not the witness is a mandated reporter and regardless of his or her affiliation with the University.

Back to top

Critical Positions & Background Checks

Critical positions are those requiring a credit report, verification of certificate, license or degree, and/or fingerprinting. These positions include:

  • cafe/coffee shop worker
  • cashier
  • residential assistant
  • student custodian
  • student lifeguard
  • **Child care workers (see below)

Procedures for Initial Hiring to Student Positions Defined as "Critical"

  1. In the ER system, check the "FINGERPRINTING REQUIRED" box. The Career Center Employment Forms Specialist will provide the forms necessary for fingerprinting and/or background checks. The student fills out their portion, then the Forms Specialist sends the forms to the appropriate Human Resource Service Team for processing.
  2. Human Resource Service Team fills out their section on the request forms and forwards them to Mail Services.
  3. Mail Services contact supervisor/student with appointment date and time. Results will go to Human Resources, which will inform the hiring unit. Students hired with knowledge of the fingerprinting requirement would be informed at the time of hiring that their employment status is contingent upon results of the background check. The same background check criteria apply to students who are transferred, promoted or reclassified into critical positions.

**Child Care program is exempt from the above process when they hire students to care for children. They require Child Abuse Index Check. They process their own background checks through the Department of Social Services.

Back to top

Student Employee Benefits

The sick leave, holiday, and vacation benefit policies may be found in the University of California Personnel Policies for Staff Members (PPSM 2.210).

Note: Since student appointments are casual/restricted, and rarely exceed 50% of full-time for longer than six months, a student assistant title position will rarely accrue vacation.

Back to top

Student FICA (DCP/Medicare) or "Safe Harbor"

The IRS has clarified the exemption from FICA taxes available to student employees published by the Internal Revenue Service on December 21, 2004, which modified the student FICA exception provided under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) section 3121(b)(10). Detailed FICA information from UCOP

A student employee (non-career) who is a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or resident alien must be registered a minimum of half-time (6 units for undergraduates and 5 units for graduate students at UCSC) and have appointments totaling less than 80% for any portion of the month to remain exempt from DCP/Medicare deductions.

During the academic year, a registered graduate student who has advanced to Ph.D. candidacy is not subject to the unit requirement but is subject to the less than 80% requirement.

Units taken through summer session do count in figuring exempt status, however graduate student employees enrolled in the special IFG summer session program will not be exempt from DCP/Medicare charges during the summer, even if they have enough units, in accordance with current IRS regulations.

DCP withholding and Medicare charges will not be required during intercession and break periods.

September is typically an 'exempt' month due to the guidelines stating that: "as long as the pay period (of a month or less) falls partially within the term, the student is eligible for the exemption." In early October while new quarter registration is occurring, the "Fall Process" is run, setting the registered units for student employees with a Student Status of 3 (undergraduate) or 4 (graduate) to 99.9, until the AIS/EDB interface (see "Monthly Reports" below) occurring after the registration deadline late in October.

University student employees who do not meet the minimum unit requirement will be subject to withholding in the same manner as other non-career employees; that is, they will be required to contribute 7.5% of their gross earnings to the Defined Contribution Plan (DCP), as an alternative to Social Security contributions, and 1.45% to Medicare (total FICA percentage will equal 8.95%).

FICA Status Codes: H/M = Harbor Medicare (Safe Harbor); N/N (exempt)

FICA Paycheck Example (H/M)

Student's Gross Earnings $400.00
Medicare ($5.80)
DCP ($30.00)
Total Deduction
Net Earnings

(Net earnings would be less any other withholding, taxes or deductions.)

Defined Contribution Plan (DCP)

For clarification, the DCP is a savings plan that allows participants to accumulate tax-sheltered money for retirement. Each pay period, 7.5% of salary will be deposited automatically in the Defined Contribution Plan and credited to an individual tax-sheltered account. The contributions are made on a pre-tax basis, which means they are deducted from salary before income taxes are calculated, so taxable income is reduced. Income taxes on the DC Plan contributions, as well as any earnings, are deferred (i.e., postponed) until the money is withdrawn.

The money accumulated in the DC Plan is intended primarily for use when an employee retires. When a student employee leaves University service, the account balance may be withdrawn and rolled over into another employer's 401(a) or 401(k) retirement plan (or an IRA) to retain the tax-deferred status. Student employees may also choose to cash out the account balance when they leave University service; however they may have to pay federal and state penalty taxes (currently amounting to 22%) in addition to federal/state income taxes (12.5%) which would be due upon tax filing. Questions regarding DCP accumulations can be directed to University of California, Office of the President at 1-800-888-8267, extension 70651. Information for Safe Harbor participants.

More information is also available by logging into At Your Service Online.

Monthly Interface and Reports

Twice each month before the MA (monthly arrears) and the MO (monthly) payroll computes, maintenance reports are produced based on matching identification data between the Academic Information System (AIS) and the Employee Database (EDB). The match is made between the two systems using social security number and birth date. The EDB will correctly set the FICA codes to exempt (N/N) or non-exempt (H/M) status, based on registered units in AIS and appointment percentage in PPS. The Career Center FICA coordinator uses these reports to investigate any questions regarding registered status or payroll status, and also as an aid in determining whether or not to separate employees who are inactive on the EDB. The Human Resource Service Teams receive a summary of these investigations from the Career Center and are asked to take any necessary corrective actions.

Possible Reasons for incorrect derivation of zero units:

  • Discrepancy between SS# on AIS and EDB. If an SS number is input incorrectly into either the AIS or the EDB, please report this to the Career Center. If the EDB number is incorrect, the Accounting Office needs to be notified so that Social Security records can be rectified. The Registrar must make corrections if the AIS information is incorrect.
  • Late Registration. If a student registers after the add/drop deadline in any given quarter, the AIS/EDB will be run before the course units are entered, and the student will appear to have 0 registered units.
  • Students registered at another UC campus (status 6 or 7) have not had their course units manually set by the HRT, as required.


If a student feels s/he has been incorrectly charged DCP/Medicare, s/he may request a refund. The Career Center FICA coordinator will investigate the student's registered/employee status for the pay period in question, and if the student has been incorrectly charged an authorization will be sent to the Accounting Office Payroll Department to issue a refund of the Retirement portion of the charges.

In order for a student to receive a refund of DCP funds that were withheld in error, the Career Center must provide information from the home department as to how the error occurred and how and when it was corrected (i.e., incorrect DOB or SS#). This information will be forwarded to the Payroll department for further investigation and final approval.

If Human Resource Service Teams have reason to believe that a student employee in 'Safe Harbor' is registered for the minimum course units, please call the Student FICA Coordinator at the Career Center who will investigate the matter and authorize a refund if appropriate.

Back to top

Work Schedules

Undergraduate Student Employees

Although not a mandate, it is strongly recommended that student employees carrying a full schedule of classes work fewer than 20 hours per week while school is in session. They are entitled to work up to a maximum of 40 hours per week when school is not in session, between quarters and during summer vacation. Students with a full course load desiring to work more than 20 hours per week while school is in session must seek approval from their college provost. The provost must inform the Career Center in writing that the student is in good academic standing and that an increased workload is not expected to affect negatively the individual's academic performance.

Graduate Student Employees

Graduate students holding 50% Teaching Assistant positions must receive approval from the Graduate Board before any additional appointments can be processed. The Graduate Dean requires a letter requesting the exception from the student's board and/or faculty adviser. The letter must give the details for the job (amount of time involved), and how the additional work will affect the student's progress to degree.

Meal and Rest Periods

From PPSM-30:

Meal Periods. "An employee whose total workday is at least five hours will be provided with a meal period of at least 30 minutes unless the employee and his/her supervisor agree to waive this period or unless operational considerations require the employee to continue working during this period. An employee must be completely relieved from duty during meal periods. Meal periods are neither time worked nor time on pay status."

Rest Periods.  "The supervisor will grant a part-time employee one 15-minute rest period for each work period of three continuous hours or more, not to exceed two rest periods per day, unless operational considerations require the employee to continue working during these periods. Such rest periods are considered time worked."

Worker's Compensation

The University is required by law to pay worker's medical expenses and disability payments for on-the-job injuries. Contact your Human Resource Service Team or Risk Management for further information regarding Worker's Compensation.

Back to top

Complaint Process

If you have a problem or complaint about your employer, the Career Center will try to help you informally resolve the issue and can direct you on how to proceed with a formal complaint if the issue is not immediately resolved. The Career Center contacts and other offices that can assist you are listed below.

For all student employment issues, both on and off-campus, please contact the Career Center Director, Barbara Silverthorne, through her assistant at (831) 459-4021, or directly at (831) 459-4590

The Career Center director will review and process all complaints related to the Career Center policies and procedures that are submitted to the Career Center by both students and employers. If an informal resolution cannot be reached, the Career Center director will advise the individual(s) of their options and of the available administrative resources.

A student employee has the right to file a complaint with the Career Center office and/or to utilize the campus grievance procedures in the following situations:

  • if the student employee has reason to believe that an employer has not adhered to an established Student Employment policy and/or procedure; or
  • in the case of alleged violation of Title VIII or Title IX regulations or of university policy precluding discrimination based on sex, race, religion, national origin, age, or sexual orientation.

Prior to contacting the Career Center director regarding a specific complaint, it is recommended that the individual(s) filing the complaint(s) first seek an informal in-house resolution to the issue of concern. Persons who are unsure as to how to attempt this informal in-house resolution should contact the Career Center director immediately for advice. After informal efforts have been exhausted and the complaint remains unresolved, it is then appropriate to seek advice from the Career Center director on how to proceed.

The Career Center director will hear all the facts. If it is determined that there may have been a misapplication of university policies or Career Center policies and/or procedures, the Career Center director will attempt to facilitate an informal resolution.

Information regarding applicable policies and procedures for resolving complaints of discrimination and harassment and for pursuing available remedies is available in the Personnel Policies for Staff Members (PPSM)-Section 70.

Additional Resources:

Back to top

Policy for Termination and Reduction in Time

Because of the student Casual/Restricted designation, student employees may be terminated at any time without specifying a reason. Written notice shall not include a reason. Please consult with your Human Resource Service Team.

Best practices:

  • Student employees should be given as much notice as possible before changing schedules or terminating employment.
  • Employers should provide feedback to improve and/or correct the conduct or performance of student employees.
  • Employers should be fair and make sure all student employees are treated consistently.
  • The Career Center director is available to mediate employee/employer problems.
  • Employers should strive to work out any disciplinary issues with their employees and dismissal should be used as a last resort.

Back to top