|STUDENT FINANCIAL SERVICES | OFFICE OF THE UNIVERSITY REGISTRAR | STUDENT EMPLOYMENT|
How to Create a Job
Student Employment Management System (SEMS)
A work-study student may only work for a supervisor who has a SEMS account and job listing. The Student Employment Management System (SEMS) is the method by which faculty and staff can create and post work-study and/or non-work-study jobs online. If you wish to create a job, login to SEMS on our website.
The use of work-study student labor on non-University or personal projects is considered a misuse of federal or University funds and is forbidden. Violators will be subject to University sanctions and penalties.
Federal Work-Study Community Service
Federal Work-Study students are encouraged to pursue employment that is community service related. Community service positions contribute to the improvement in the quality of life for area residents by helping solve particular problems related to their needs. Job categories that are considered community service include:
However, on-campus jobs must involve a program, project, or service that is provided to the general public in the local community. On-campus jobs that serve only the campus community do not qualify as community service employment. All off-campus jobs, including community service jobs require a contract, which contains a description of the job and the conditions for employment.
Online Job Appointment Form
Once you have chosen a student to hire, the supervisor will use the student section of the Student Employment Management System (SEMS) to appoint a student to a job number using the student's Penn ID number.
An e-mail confirming the student's job appointment will be sent to the student, supervisor, and department SEMS coordinator.
New international student employees, need a valid Social Security Number in order to work in the United States. For information about the F-1 and J-1 Social Security Application Instructions students can go to the International and Scholarship Services (ISSS) website.
Students must also check with ISSS to make sure their employment will be considered on-campus employment as some entities on Penn's campus are not considered on-campus for immigration purposes depending on their federal employer identification number.
New student employees must also present the following documents to the employing department's business administrator:
Student Workers (non-work-study)
The appointment of a non-work-study job is handled directly by the employing department's business administrator. New student employees are required to complete a W-4 (Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate) and online I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification). The student's employing department's business administrator will instruct the student accordingly.
It is the supervisor's responsibility to familiarize the student employee with the departmental standards of behavior and to make sure the student receives proper training in order to accomplish the tasks assigned.
We recommend that the supervisor review the following topics with the student:
Job Class Codes, Object Codes, and Earnings Types
Job Class Codes
Penn/Federal Work-Study Program
International Student Work-Study Program
Student Worker (non-work-study)
Penn/Federal Work-Study Program
International Student Work-Study Program
Student Worker (non-work-study)
Federal and University regulations require that weekly hours must be supported by a listing of clock hours worked for each student. A student must sign in and out with the employing department at the beginning and end of each work period.
A student's on-campus weekly time sheet must be signed by the student and supervisor. The supervisor is responsible for submitting the student's time sheet to the department's business administrator for the payment of wages. The student is paid based on the actual hours worked.
A student cannot be paid for lunch, holidays, sick time, and other time off, or for receiving instruction in the classroom, laboratory, or other academic setting.
Work-Study wages are subject to the same federal, state, and local income taxes as any other earned income.
However, students enrolled in classes and working for the University are exempt from the 6.20% Social Security (FICA) Tax and 1.45% Medicare Tax deductions. This exemption does not apply to students employed off-campus by a nonprofit organization or government agency.
International students have the same taxes withheld that United States students do. Students that are from a country that has a tax treaty with the United States may be able to claim a refund of the taxes withheld when they file their yearly income tax returns. If the student has any questions regarding taxation, the student may go to the Payroll Taxes Office, 310 Franklin Building, 3451 Walnut Street. The service window hours are Monday through Friday, from 10:00am to 2:00pm.
Wage Rate Increase
The supervisor may increase the student's wage rate at the time of the appointment to a job number, up to the SEMS maximum wage rate of $12.80 per hour.
If the wage rate increase occurs after the initial job appointment, or the increase exceeds the SEMS limit of $12.80 per hour, the supervisor must submit the request to the department's business administrator (usually the SEMS coordinator) for approval.
A student and supervisor are encouraged to discuss any work-related problems. Experience has shown that most minor disagreements can be resolved by honest, non-confrontational discussion of the problem. An attempt should be made to informally resolve the disagreement between the student and the immediate supervisor. If the problem cannot be resolved within the department, the student should make an appointment with the Manager of the Student Employment Office to discuss the problem.
Termination of Employment
If a student is unreliable or does not perform assigned duties responsibly, it may be necessary to terminate the student's employment. A student should be treated fairly and courteously, as would any full-time employee. In most cases, the following disciplinary guidelines are suggested in dealing with unsatisfactory performance. Keep in mind that learning also occurs outside the classroom.
Auditing of Federal Work-Study
Federal Title IV regulations require an annual audit of the Federal Work-Study Program. One segment of this review is to ensure that students are correctly paid and that time reporting is properly monitored by the appropriate supervisor. Each department has the option of paper or electronic time recording of the hours worked by its student employee. Approved supervisors are also responsible for the necessary signature, which is their confirmation of the students time worked. Those opting for paper time sheets must sign every form for which they are paying the student employee; those using electronic reporting can submit hours to the business administrator by e-mail with attached spreadsheet, then the e-mail must be retained by the business administrator, as this will suffice as the supervisor's electronic signature.
Failure to comply with the above mentioned policy and procedures will result in the department having to reimburse the Federal Work-Study account for all applicable student wages. If there is continued failure on the part of the department to comply, then the department will have its privilege of employing Federal Work-Study students suspended.
Verification of Employment
The Division of Human Resources/Information Management/Records maintains personnel records for all present and past employees, including student employees.
Verification requests received by mail and accompanied by written consent should be forwarded to Human Resources/Records, Suite 527A, 3401 Walnut Street/6228, for inclusion in the student's employment files.
If a call is received by a department from an outside employer seeking employment verification, please instruct the employer to call The Work Number for Everyone at 1-800-996-7566, or go to the website.
Retention of Records
Regulations require that all records supporting federal programs, including the Federal Work-Study Program, must be retained for three years after the end of the award year (academic or summer) for which the aid was awarded and disbursed under the program. Therefore, it is necessary for each department to retain all supporting documents and records for that amount of time.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Many Jobs May A Student Have?
While it is preferred that a student have one job, we recognize the need for a student to work an adequate number of hours per week (within established limits) in order to cover expenses. A student's number one priority is academic achievement. Therefore, a student is limited to two jobs at any given time.
A student must have permission from their supervisor and business administrator at the home department before seeking a second job. The home department has the right to deny the student's request to work at a second job. The department's decision is final.
How Many Hours Can A Student Work Per Week?
A student's primary responsibility is their academic achievement and work cannot be a priority.
When classes are in session, students (full-time or part-time) are not permitted to work more than a total of 20 hours per week.
When classes are officially not in session, students (full-time or part-time) are not permitted to work more than a total of 40 hours per week. A student is required to take an unpaid break or lunch of at least one-half hour after five consecutive hours of work.
Does a Student Receive Benefits?
Student employees are not eligible for benefits such as sick pay, vacation pay, holiday pay, or unemployment compensation, but are eligible for Workers' Compensation under the provisions of Pennsylvania law. Workers' Compensation covers expenses for medical care from job-related injuries or occupational diseases sustained in the course of employment. A student who suffers a work related injury must report it immediately to their immediate supervisor. The supervisor must report on-the-job injuries to the department's business administrator promptly.
Withdrawal/Leave of Absence
A student must be removed from the work-study payroll for the following reasons:
What is the Procedure for Changing or Leaving a Job?
Work-Study Students: An employed student who intends to withdraw from the program, or who wishes to change jobs within the semester, must inform their supervisor. A student is expected to give at least one week's notice before leaving a position. This gives the department the necessary time to find a replacement for the student, or to adjust the work schedules of remaining employees in order to offset the staffing shortage. Releasing a student from a job is done online by the supervisor. An e-mail confirming the student's release will be sent to the department's SEMS coordinator.
Withdrawal from the program will not jeopardize a student's chances of receiving work-study eligibility in future years.
Student Workers (non-work-study): A Student Worker is expected to give at least one week's notice before leaving a position. The student should consult with the supervisor regarding the department's policy for changing or leaving the job.
What is the Attendance and Attire Policy?
It is the student's responsibility to report to work on time for every scheduled shift. If the student cannot work because of an illness, emergency, or will be late for work, the supervisor must be notified as early as possible before the shift begins. Potential conflicts should be discussed well in advance with the supervisor. Continued tardiness and failure to provide adequate prior notice of absence as determined by the supervisor are considered grounds for termination.
Requirements for attire are determined at the direction of the employing department.