Chapter 1

Types of Unclassified Appointments




Student hourly employees are comprised of students who provide part-time and/or temporary administrative, clerical, laborer, technical or other general support to UW-Madison faculty and staff, and meet the eligibility requirements below.


To be eligible for employment as a student hourly employee at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, an individual must meet the following requirements.

  1. The position is incidental to the individual's purpose or presence at the institution as a student. In other words, the individual's presence on campus is primarily to be a student, not an employee. It is not permissible to hire a person as a student hourly if they are taking credits merely to be eligible for student hourly employment. This is a judgment that needs to be made by the employing unit. Factors to consider when making this decision include whether they are taking courses for credit, whether they are working towards a degree and whether they have a pattern of taking less than a half-time load.
  2. The individual must be enrolled for academic credit at an educational institution. An educational institution is defined as:
    • an accredited institution of higher learning granting associate degrees or higher;
    • a technical college;
    • a vocational or trade school; or
    • a high school.

    The employing unit is responsible for verifying an individual's eligibility and maintaining documentation of verification. Suitable methods of verification include: ISIS (for UW-Madison students), letter from home institution, phone call to home institution's Registrar, copy of current registration and course schedule, current tuition payment receipt, and on-line verification.

    Important note regarding F-1 and J-1 international students: special consideration needs to be paid to F-1 and J-1 international students when verifying eligibility. Federal visa regulations specify that F-1 international students are eligible for on-campus employment automatically, but only at the school listed in item #2 on the I-20 where the student is currently enrolled. In this case, the F-1 student does not need any special authorization to be employed 20 hours a week when school is in session and/or full-time during breaks. When processing I-9s, departments will need to verify that the student's I-20 is indeed issued by the University of Wisconsin-Madison. If it is not, an I-20 alone does not provide sufficient proof of eligibility. J-1 international students may be eligible for on-campus employment, but only with a letter of permission from the J-1 program sponsor listed in item #2 on the DS-2019. Questions should be directed to International Students Services at (608) 262-2044 or
  3. The individual must be at least 16 years of age.

Semester Eligibility—A student may not be employed prior to the first payroll calendar day of the student's first semester of enrollment. Summer eligibility is the only exception (see below). Students who graduate, or complete an academic semester and will not be enrolling in the following semester may continue to be employed as a student hourly only through the last day of the student hourly pay period of the completed semester. Students who withdraw from school during a semester are no longer eligible for student employment as of the date of withdrawal.

Summer Eligibility—Any student who has been accepted for fall enrollment, or is continuing in the fall semester after completion of the spring semester or is enrolled during the summer is eligible for summer employment.

Divisions May Have Stricter Eligibility Requirements—More specific provisions (e.g., requiring a greater credit enrollment, or enrollment in the UW-Madison) may be established by a specific college, school, department or other UW-Madison unit.


All student hourly positions are at-will positions and may be terminated at any time provided the reason is not prohibited by law.


    1. Student hourly employees are subject to the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Therefore, student hourly employees who are employed for more than 40 hours in a week within the University System will receive premium pay for the hours worked beyond 40 at the rate of one and one-half times the regular hourly rate.

    2. All student employee jobs are placed in one of three position classifications to assist in determining the appropriate rate of pay: Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced. The following are descriptions of the general types of work to be included in each level. The examples are not all-inclusive but rather are general indications of the types of jobs included in the levels. These general descriptions provide a framework for classifying jobs not enumerated below.

    3. Basic Level
      Work is done under close supervision; procedures are well established; employees are not usually required to make decisions which are not enumerated in well defined policies and procedures.

      Examples of this type of work:

      Intermediate Level
      Work that requires, for a major portion of the time, some independent judgment or initiative; and/or requires special knowledge, skills or abilities; and/or requires a major amount of heavy physical exertion; and/or involves adverse hours or working conditions; and/or involves supervisory responsibilities for an activity of limited size.

      Examples of this type of work:

      Advanced Level
      Work that requires, for a major portion of the time, advanced specialized knowledge, skills, or abilities; or involves supervisory responsibilities for large or complex activities, usually involving a number of concurrent activities.

      Examples of this type of work:
    4. Employing units have the discretion to establish the starting hourly rate at any point within the range of the level (Basic, Intermediate or Advanced). All salary rates above the maximum of the advanced level must have prior approval of the Dean or Director's office with budget responsibility for the wages. Current wage ranges can be found in the Unclassified Title Guideline at The wage levels are set by the Chancellor (or designee), with the advice of the Student Wage Committee. In accordance with Regent policy, the wage structure and levels will:
      • reflect local student employee job market conditions
      • Comply with applicable state and federal statutes, and policies of the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System; and
      • Not exceed the minimum of the salary range for classified employees with similar duties, and shall provide compatibility between regular student rates and work-study rates as governed by federal regulations promulgated by the U.S. Department of Education; exceptions may be granted by the Academic Personnel Office.

    5. Training Programs
      1. A training program for positions in the intermediate and advanced levels may be established on an individual basis.
      2. Employees in such programs may be employed at a beginning rate lower than the minimum specified for the position and progress through a series of salary increases up to the minimum rate, concurrent with progress through and completion of the course of training.
      3. Training programs should typically be at least 150 hours.
      4. All new training rates and programs should be approved by the appropriate Dean/Director's office and the UW-Madison Academic Personnel Office (APO).
    6. In rare circumstances, a student hourly employee may be paid on a lump-sum basis rather than on an hourly basis. This may occur only when it is not possible for the employee to keep a time sheet of hours worked due to the nature of the position. Lump-sum payment arrangements require advance approval by the Academic Personnel Office.

FICA (Social Security) Withholding

To be eligible for an exemption for FICA withholding, a student hourly must be taking a minimum of a half-time course load at any UW System institution (6 credits for undergraduates; 4 credits for non-dissertator graduate students; and 3 credits for dissertators.)

All other student hourly employees must have FICA taxes withheld from their paychecks. This includes:

Summer Breaks--Students who work during the summer break and who are not enrolled and attending classes during the summer session are not exempt from FICA. However, the FICA exemption will continue to apply as long as the break is five weeks or less, and provided that the student qualified for the exemption on the last day of classes preceding the break and is eligible to enroll in classes for the academic term that follows the break.


Student hourly employees who are enrolled at UW-Madison are eligible to obtain a UW ID card as a student.

Non UW-Madison Student Help must be entered into Spec Auth in order to access NetID and get a WisCard. The department requesting access needs to send an email to with the following information:

In order to avoid problems with getting a NetID/WisCard, the non UW-Madison Student employee's Social Security number must be in the HRS record (this information should not be sent by email.) Unless a termination date is specified, UW IDs issued to non UW-Madison student help are valid for two years from date of Spec Auth entry. Any other questions about this process can also be directed to, or to Melanie Drolsum, Office of Human Resources, 608-265-3912,


UW-Madison Unclassified Title Guideline and UW System Policy 205 and 206.