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Allowable Work Hours for Student Workers

Policy Information

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Effective Date: 
August 25, 2017
Policy Number: 
SEM 101.0
Responsible Unit: 
Human Resources

Purpose and Summary

This policy establishes the maximum number of hours student workers may work to ensure that their primary relationship with the University of Arizona remains as a student and not as a benefits-eligible employee. If a student worker exceeds these work hour limits, that individual may no longer be eligible for student employment.


This policy applies to student workers. Requirements specific to Graduate Assistants/Associates (GA) can be found in the GA Manual.


Allowable Work Hours

A student worker may work up to 25 hours per week during the Fall and Spring Semesters, and up to 35 hours per week during Summer Session, Winter Session, and Spring Break.

In the event a student worker holds more than one student worker position, the total hours worked per week in all jobs are subject to the maximum work hours set forth above.

Student Residence Hall Assistants may work up to 15 hours per week in another student worker position.

International Students: J-1 or F-1 international students may work up to 20 hours per week during the Fall and Spring Semesters without written permission from International Student Services. During Winter and Summer Sessions, they are allowed to work up to 35 hours per week. Contact International Student Services for more information.


Student workers are classified as nonexempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act and shall not exceed the maximum work hours set forth in this policy. All hours worked must be reported on the student worker’s timesheet. If a student worker inadvertently exceeds 40 hours in a week, any excess hours must be paid at an overtime rate of 1.5 times the regular pay. Compensatory time is not available for student workers.

Absences and Break Periods

Student workers who will be absent or tardy are expected to notify their supervisor as soon as possible, and no later than the start of their scheduled shift. In the case of an extended absence, the student worker should inform their supervisor of the anticipated length of their absence.

Student employees may be eligible for unpaid leave under certain circumstances through the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). For more information, see the University of Arizona Family and Medical Leave Policy. A student worker must make a request for FMLA leave to their supervisor following established University FMLA leave procedures. The supervisor will promptly coordinate with the designated leave coordinator to ensure University FMLA procedures and timelines are followed for notifying the student employee of eligibility, certification requirements, and whether the leave will be designated and counted as FMLA leave.

To the extent consistent with the business needs of their unit, supervisors are encouraged to be flexible with student workers’ schedules and allow them to take unpaid time off for exams or major projects. Any such work schedule modification must be arranged with and approved by the supervisor in advance.

Student workers may be provided a 15-minute paid rest break during a continuous four-hour work period. Student workers may not use a break period to offset late arrival or early departure from work. Students who work eight hours in a day are authorized to take an unpaid meal period. This meal period is frequently one hour, but is not required to be. Supervisors have the authority to schedule when student workers take break or meal periods in order to meet business needs.

Compliance and Responsibilities

The supervisor is responsible for monitoring a student worker’s work hours, for ensuring that the student worker accurately records those hours on their timesheet, and for approving the timesheet in accordance with payroll deadlines.

Frequently Asked Questions*

What is the purpose of the work hour limits?

Student worker positions are intended to support students while they pursue their education and are not intended to be benefits-eligible positions. A student worker who averages 30 or more work hours per week over a one-year period will become eligible for employer-sponsored health insurance under the Employer Mandate of the Affordable Care Act. If this happens, the student worker must be employed in a non-student-worker employment category.

I have student workers taking short courses. Can they increase their work hours during the weeks before their courses start?

The work hour limits are not driven by course demands but by the need for a student worker to remain non-benefits-eligible. Departments are strongly advised to observe the Allowable Work Hours policy regardless of a student worker's course schedule. Consult with Human Resources (520-621-3660) if you have questions about work hour limits.

Revision History*

12/01/2023: Updated responsible unit email address.

03/01/2023: "Division of Human Resources" changed to "Human Resources."

06/23/2021: Non-substantive updates.

* Please note that sections titled Frequently Asked Questions, Sources, Related Information, and Revision History are provided solely for the convenience of users and are not part of the official University policy.

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