Center for Career and Professional Development

Affordable Care Act and Student Employment Policy Change FAQ

What is the new work hour policy for student employment?

Students may now work up to, but not exceed, 25 hours per week total without prior permission. Temporary allowances may be requested and granted based on the nature of the job and the student’s previous work hour record. Students may still work up to 40 hours per week during times when classes are not in session (Fall, Winter, or Spring breaks) or during Summer Sessions, provided the student is not enrolled in a Summer School class.

Why the policy change?

The policy has changed in preparation and compliance of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), as well as to streamline the former 20/30 rule and to help avoid overloading students with non-academic work.

When does this policy go into effect?

The new work hour policy will be in effect January 1, 2015.

What constitutes a work week?

We work week for students begins each Monday and ends each Sunday.

What about Work Study students? International students?

The Federal Work Study program is exempted from the Affordable Care Act and therefore Work Study hours will not be measured. However, Work Study students, as defined by the program, may only work up to 20 hours per week in their Work Study position. They may, in addition to their Work Study position, work a Non Work Study job but must also adhere to the new 25-hour total rule. For example, a student may work 10 hours per week in a Work Study job and an additional 15 hours per week in a Non Work Study job for a total of 25 hours per week.

International students on a J-1 or F-1 visa may only work up to 20 hours per week during the school year, but may work up to 40 hours per week during times when classes are not in session (Fall, Winter, and Spring breaks or during Summer Sessions, provided they are not enrolled in a Summer School class).

Are students who are paid on stipend affected?

Yes. The number of hours listed on a student's stipend paperwork will be used in their measurement period. If a student has a stipend position which requires he/she work 15 hours per week, he/she may accept an additional job working up to 10 hours per week.

Can a student work more than 25 hours on a temporary basis?

Yes. There may be times during the semester in which a department would rely more heavily on student workers. Employers may allow student workers to work more than 25 hours in a week on an extremely temporary basis with valid reasons only and must keep the total number of hours as close to 25 hours as possible.

Employers who need students to work extended hours more than two weeks in a semester may fill out the Exemption Request Form and return to Carrie Hachadurian, Student Employment Specialist, in 205 Killian Annex ( cphachadurian@email.wcu.edu). Please allow at least one week for processing, or two weeks during peak times (e.g. the start of a semester).

Who is responsible for tracking student time?

Students need to track their work hours on a daily basis; however, supervisors need to be in communication with their student workers on how many hours per week they may be working in other jobs. The Center for Career and Professional Development is also tracking student work time after each payroll and will notify the appropriate departments should a student work more than the allotted time.

What happens if a student violates this policy?

A notification will be emailed to the department if a student works more than 25 hours. An Exemption Request Form may be requested, and the department may need to offer the student(s) health insurance if eligible. The result of students who blatantly disregard university policy (e.g. working 35 or 40 hours in a week during times when classes are in session after being notified of the policy) may end in termination of student employment.

If I hire a student to work more than 30 hours in the summer, will my department need to offer him/her insurance?

It depends. If the department is hiring a student who previously worked on campus within the last six months and would like the student to work 30 hours or more per week for 3 consecutive months, the student would not be eligible (provided the student has not averaged more than 30 hours per week during their measurement period).

However, if the department is hiring a student who has never worked on campus before or has not worked in six months and would like the student to work 30 hours or more per week for at least 3 consecutive months, the department would need to offer the student health insurance at the beginning of the work duration.

Will I be notified if a student becomes eligible for health insurance?

Eligible students will be notified via the Office of Human Resources if they are eligible for the state's high deductible plan. Students will have up to 30 days to enroll if they wish. If a student accepts the plan, the department will be notified.

What is the cost of the high deductible plan to the department?

Currently, the monthly rate for the department is $117.62 per eligible student per month. The student will also pay a monthly fee of approximately $92 per month for the plan if he/she wishes to enroll.

What is included in the plan?

Please see information regarding the High Deductible Health Plan on the State Health Plan's website.

How will students enroll?

The Office of Human Resources will notify each eligible student with the information they need to make their decision. Students will have up to 30 days to decide if they would like to enroll in the plan.

Who do I contact if I have further questions?

Questions regarding the student employment policy change may be addressed to Carrie Hachadurian, Student Employment Specialist, at 828-227-3888 or cphachadurian@email.wcu.edu. Questions regarding insurance or the Affordable Care Act may be addressed to the Office of Human Resources.

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