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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Student workers to face cuts in working hours

Rebecca Marie Sasnett

Leah Chen, a sophomore studying Eastern Asian studies and anthropology, talks with a student customer in the Park Avenue Market on Sunday.

The policy regarding the number of hours students employed by the UA can work is changing in order to comply with standards of the Affordable Care Act.

The changes in policy officially go into effect at the beginning of the next academic year, but some student workers have already started to see changes to their work schedules.
Students who work at UA offices, labs, businesses and other institutions are coded as “student employees.” The Student Employment Manual specifies that a student employee is a part-time employee who is concurrently enrolled at the UA, with the primary goal of achieving a degree.

The current work hours policy allows student employees to work 30 hours a week while classes are in session and 40 hours a week during school vacations. Helena Rodrigues, director of Human Resources Strategy and Planning, said that those numbers will be lowered under the new policies.

“[ACA] requires all large employers, like the UA, to provide health insurance benefits to employees who are full-time,” Rodrigues said. “And full-time, according to the law, is 30 hours or more a week.”

The change in policy is not an attempt by the UA to avoid insuring student employees, Rodrigues said. Students are not benefits-eligible employees because their primary relationship to the UA is that of a student, she added.

HR will be overseeing compliance to the augmented student employee policies, Rodrigues said, because the office has taken responsibility to see that UA complies with ACA.

HR looked at a large amount of student data, including the credit hours and time sheets of the nearly 6,000 student employees at the UA, Rodrigues said. She said they found that the majority of student employees at the UA worked less than 25 hours a week.

“From our perspective, we’re not suggesting a big change to what’s currently happening on campus,” Rodrigues said.

Many student employees on campus said that a change in the allowable work hours policy would not affect them because they already work less than 25 hours per week.

However, some student employees are feeling the cuts. Gibraham Morgan, an interpretation and translation junior, has worked at Canyon Coffee in the Student Union Memorial Center since January.

He said that he was working around 30 hours a week until his hours were cut to less than 25 a week at the end of March. He was not told specifically why his hours were reduced but only that it was due to budget concerns.

Morgan said he does not want his hours to be cut and that he feels he could work 30 hours or more. He said he wants to save up money to cover the $1,500 in tuition not covered by scholarships rather than take out loans.

Morgan said he is not going to seek employment elsewhere, but that he will have to adjust his spending from now on.

Rodrigues said that the UA wants to help students reach the goal of receiving an education. The change in policy may increase the number of student-worker positions in order to meet the needs of campus, which would create more job opportunities.

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