Supervising student employees: a guide for supervisors

The Student Employment Office acts as a resource for all students employed at UMass Dartmouth. We administer the Federal Work-Study program and non-work-study employment—and are responsible for advising supervisors and Payroll on student employment policies and procedures.

Important information

This guide for supervisors explains student employment policy and procedures and addresses issues of employment law as it pertains to student employees. Topics include approving hours, tracking FWS funds, supervisor responsibilities, at-will employment, and terminations.

Please read this information carefully. Your failure to follow employment laws could pose a liability to the university.

Definition of a student employee

A student employee is a part-time employee who is concurrently enrolled at UMass Dartmouth with the primary goal of achieving a degree. Both undergraduate and graduate students must be registered in a degree (not certificate) program. Thus, the employment is interim or temporary in nature and is incidental to the pursuit of obtaining a degree.

Students may not perform any work, or subsequently be paid for work performed, until all steps in the hiring process have been completed. It is illegal to have someone work for you and not pay him or her. Do not let student employees begin working before the hiring process is complete.

Limits on hours to be worked

No student may work more than 8 hours per day or 20 hours per week when school is in session for one or any combination of departments. There are no exceptions. The 8 hours per day or 20 hour per week limit applies only during the academic year employment periods. The average student works 4 to 6 hours per week, depending on the requirements of the position.

Students employed through Federal Work-Study (FWS) are allowed to work more than one job, but only one job through FWS.

When school is not in session, students may work 8 hours per day or 40 hours per week (maximum).

Stipend-based positions: These positions have hours associated with them, even though they are not based on hourly wages. A stipend is payment for work performed, and therefore must be viewed as part of the 20 hour limit for when school is in session and, for international students, as considered by Department of Homeland Security regulations. Undergraduate students are not eligible for stipend-based positions.

Graduate students with assistantships that are full-time commitments (that is, 20 hours when school is in session) are not allowed to work additional jobs on campus.

Approving hours

Student employees must enter hours to HR Direct on a weekly basis by noon every Friday so that their biweekly paychecks will be available. We ask students to let their supervisors know (in person or by email) once they've entered their time.

Supervisors are responsible for monitoring the accuracy of the hours which are worked, reported, and entered into the payroll system. Managers are accountable for the truth and accuracy of the payroll expenditures of the students they supervise.

Approvals must be entered by noon every Friday.

Tutorials for approving and managing time in HR Direct

Supervisors are responsible for tracking FWS earnings so students do not work beyond their awards and these monies are not over-spent (see below).

Keeping track of FWS earnings

Both the student and the supervisor are responsible for keeping track of remaining FWS balances during the academic year.

Student Employment provides a spreadsheet to help you manually enter and track FWS student earnings. See "FWS Earnings Tracking" on the Forms page.

The Student Commitment/Balance Report is available in HR Direct to help you monitor outstanding FWS student balances; it lets you to determine what an FWS student employee still has left to earn from his or her FWS award.

Tutorial for Student Commitment Report

NOTE: This report may yield an inaccurate result if the student has held more than one FWS position. Please direct your questions to Payroll: UMassDartmouthPayroll@umassp.edu

Student Payroll Authorization Change Form

Use the Student Payroll Authorization Change Form to:

  • extend a period of employment
  • terminate an employee
  • change the wage
  • change the job title

For example, if the original employment period ends and you wish to continue the employment, use the Change Form to make changes to previously submitted hiring forms, not another hiring form. This paper form is available at the Student Employment Office; it is not available in a downloadable format.

Remember that all hiring periods end with the fiscal year on June 30, and a new hiring form must be submitted for the hiring period beginning July 1 (unless the position is grant funded; then crossing fiscal periods is allowed). A Change Form cannot be used in this instance. You will need to submit two hiring forms for any student working from June through August: one form for the period through June 30 and a second beginning July 1. The recommended policy is to hire only enrolled students for the summer employment period.

Student paychecks

We recommend that students use direct deposit, which can be set up via HR Direct. For students who do not use direct deposit, a paper check will be mailed to his or her on-campus mailbox, if one is on file in COIN, or otherwise to his or her local home address.

If a student does not receive a paycheck, he or she should contact Payroll.

Summer employment & OBRA withholding

During summer employment (when students are not enrolled at least half-time in classes), students are considered non-benefited employees and are subject to mandatory retirement withholding, called OBRA.

More information: OBRA Program for non-benefited employees

Supervisor rights & responsibilities

Supervisors have the right to expect from their student employees:

  • quality work
  • punctuality
  • quality customer service
  • appropriate dress in the workplace
  • adherence to requirements of your office or department
  • notification of any limitations that might impact the employee’s ability to work

As a supervisor, it is your responsibility to: 

  • list each position in the CORSAIR Jobs student employment database
  • interview and hire student employees
  • not allow students to work until the hiring process is complete
  • monitor the remaining FWS work award for each student
  • provide the appropriate training for each student employee (see below)
  • provide information regarding time and attendance procedures
  • accurately approve student hours
  • complete student evaluations; see the Forms page
  • not employ any student who has been dismissed by or has withdrawn from UMass Dartmouth (if you have such knowledge you must immediately ensure that the student discontinues work)
  • notify Student Employment if there is a problem with the student worker that cannot be resolved (see Termination Procedures, below)

Training checklist for new student employees

Tours & introductions

  • Layout of the work area
  • Locations for restrooms, lunch room; where to put coats and belongings
  • Staff introductions

Office protocol

  • Daily duties; expectations and consequences; who does the student report to?
  • Dress code (if applicable)
  • Time and attendance
  • Handling confidential information
  • Visitor policy: can friends stop by to chat?

Phone & computer use

  • Phone etiquette; transferring calls; taking messages; important numbers; student use policy
  • Copy machine and fax: how to use and student use policy

Computers

  • Passwords and security
  • Computer use by student: checking personal email, doing homework, web researches

Frequently asked questions

Be prepared to answer these questions:

  • How do I get paid?
  • Do I get breaks?
  • Do I get paid for lunch?

At-will employment

Employment at UMass Dartmouth is voluntarily entered into and students are free to resign at any time, with or without cause. Similarly, the University is free to terminate any employment relationship at any time, with or without notice or cause, so long as there is no violation of applicable law. This is normally referred to as an “at-will” employment relationship. Accordingly, neither the employee nor UMass Dartmouth has entered into any contract of employment, express or implied.

Terminations

There are two types of employment termination: voluntary and involuntary.

Voluntary Termination: A voluntary termination is usually initiated by the student, and the student is requested to give his/her supervisor two-weeks’ notice.

Involuntary Termination: A student employee must act in a professional manner, particularly concerning confidentiality of university and student records as well as information  that comes to the student by virtue of his/her work. An involuntary termination is initiated by the employer due to an employee’s unsatisfactory performance in her/his position due to an employee inability to comply with university and/or office rules and regulations. A student employee may be involuntarily terminated immediately from his/her position for breach of confidentiality, theft of equipment or personal property, gross insubordination, or any other acts of gross misconduct deemed detrimental to the operation of the employing department.

In the event that the misconduct constitutes a violation of community standards or policies published in the Code of Student Conduct, file a complaint with the Office of Student Affairs for possible referral to the Student Judicial System.

Employers who terminate employees for just cause are required to:

a. Give the employee a verbal warning documented with a memo to the Student Employment Office.

b. Give the employee a second warning in writing with a copy to the Student Employment Office.

c. Give the employee a termination note with a copy to the Student Employment Office and the Financial Aid Office. A student involuntarily terminated will receive consideration for jobs only after all aided and non-aided students have been placed.

If you have any questions or concerns at any time, please contact Student Employment: 508.999.8647 (x8647).

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