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University of Northern Iowa Considers Dropping Work Hours for Student Employees

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A new policy that would reduce the number of hours students are allowed to work at an on-campus job is being considered at the University of Northern Iowa, according to the WCF Courier.

The draft of the new policy says that work hours for undergraduate students would drop from 30 to an average of 20 per week. This would equate to no more than 320 hours per semester. In conjunction with the current norm, students would be allowed to work an average of 40 hours per week during semester and summer breaks.

Officials at the school, following a review of campus policies and procedures last year, found that the school does not have a formal student employment policy. The policy up for proposal, which is the 15th version, has been posted on the school’s website for public comment.

“This would make more students eligible to work on campus and make more jobs available,” said Terry Hogan, UNI’s vice president for student affairs.

A junior at the school, Katie Titus, does not like the new policy. Titus works 25 to 35 hours per week at the school’s dining center, Rialto.

“We want to make as much money as we can now, and we can handle that amount of work,” Titus said. “There’s quite a few people talking about quitting if they have this policy.”

Titus said that plenty of student workers would need to find jobs off-campus in order to handle their student loans, but nothing is as convenient as employment on-campus.

“The ideas that guided the development of the draft were that students are students first — participation in the academic program was paramount, and employment should be secondary,” Hogan said.

There are some 4,000 student employees at the school each year, with about 2,000 receiving work in a given week. Hogan said that one percent of students work 30 or more hours per week. Hogan also said that undergrads also work an average of 9.3 hours per week at on-campus jobs.

By changing the job requirements for students, the school will avoid an expensive provision of the Affordable Care Act. Beginning on January 1, large employers will have to offer health insurance to employees who work more than 30 hours in a week.

“We can’t take age into consideration,” said Michelle Byers, director of human resource services at UNI. “Many of them may be covered under their parents’ health insurance, but then they would simply decline. We just have the obligation to offer.”

Officials from the school noted that the provision is not the driving factor for the policy, which has to pass through multiple committees before it is approved.

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University of Northern Iowa Considers Dropping Work Hours for Student Employees by
Authored by: Jim Vassallo