Student hourly employee compensation and work hours limits

Last updated: January 3, 2024.


The UWHR Compensation office establishes compensation requirements in accordance with University policy, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and the Washington Minimum Wage Act (WMWA) as described below. Compensation for academic student employee positions is covered by the contract between the UW and the United Auto Workers (UAW).

Establishing the hourly pay rate

Student hourly employees must be paid at least the Washington State minimum wage and must be compensated within the assigned salary range for the job profile.

Job Code Job Profile Overtime Eligible Min ($/hr) Max ($/hr) Usage
10875 Student Assistant
Calendar Year 2024
Yes $19.97 $75.00 Undergraduate student hourly employment performing a variety of support tasks (Seattle & Bothell campuses)
10888 Student Assistant, UWT
Calendar Year 2024
Yes $16.28 $75.00 Undergraduate student hourly employment performing a variety of support tasks (Tacoma campus)
10889 Student Assistant – Grad
Calendar Year 2024
Yes $19.97 $75.00 Graduate student hourly employment performing a variety of support tasks (non-ASE) (Seattle & Bothell campuses)
10891 Student Assistant UWT – Grad
Calendar Year 2024
Yes $16.28 $75.00 Graduate student hourly employment performing a variety of support tasks (Tacoma campus)
10884 Nursing Tech, UW Student Yes $19.97 $30.00 Only available to employ UW Nursing students who perform selected nursing duties under supervision
21242 Pharmacist Intern – Student Yes $26.17 $41.72 Only available to employ UW Pharmacy students who perform selected pharmacist technician duties under supervision
Pay determination guidelines

Appointing departments are responsible for maintaining consistent and equitable pay practices across student hourly positions based on factors such as:

  • Compliance with the applicable minimum wage under state or municipal law;
  • The knowledge and skill requirements necessary to perform the job;
  • The individual’s relevant experience and training;
  • The variety and complexity of the job’s duties;
  • Equity, including salary relationships with other student hourly employees in the department;
  • Length of departmental service, quality of job performance, market conditions, and/or recruitment difficulty.

Departments determine the starting wage and subsequent pay increases within the pay range. In most cases, student hourly employees will be hired at the minimum rate within the pay range for the appropriate student hourly job classification. Departments may choose to begin the student at a higher rate of pay within the range if the student has previous job experience or special qualifications for the job. It is recommended the department maintain files documenting justifications for exceptions to the minimum pay rate for starting wages.

Pay increases for current student employees

Departments may determine pay increases within the range based on documented guidelines established by the employing unit.

Student pay ranges are updated annually to keep pace with the City of Seattle minimum wage, which increases each January 1 based on inflation. The student pay range for Student Assistant – UWT (job code 10888) and Student Assistant UWT – Grad (job code 10891) is updated each January 1 to keep pace with the Washington State minimum wage. At the time of an update, any student employees paid below the new range minimum will be increased to range minimum.

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Work hour limits

Student hourly employees are limited to working 19.5 hours per workweek during a quarter in which the student is enrolled but may work more than 19.5 hours per workweek during school breaks or when “on leave.”

Student hourly employee work hour limits are in place:

  • To support student academic progress
  • To maintain a public higher education institution’s ability to use a student FICA exemption
  • In alignment with WAC 357-04-040, which exempts students from state civil service if they work 516 hours or less in any six consecutive months (excluding academic breaks). The 516-hour limitation averages to 19 hours per week over a six-month period.

Work hours and working conditions for student hourly employees under the age of 18 are covered by the UW Requirements for Employing Minors.

Hour limits during breaks or summer quarter

Student hourly employees may exceed the 19.5-hour limit during academic breaks (e.g., spring, winter) and between quarters under the following circumstances:

  • Enrollment break period – the student met enrollment eligibility in the previous quarter but is “on leave” for a quarter prior to reenrollment.
  • Prior to the first quarter of enrollment – the student meets enrollment criteria for the next quarter and wants to work in the prior quarter (e.g., works summer prior to autumn quarter start)

Student hourly employees who graduate are not eligible to work as a student hourly employee after their last final exam or during break periods unless they are enrolling in the following quarter as a graduate student.

If a student hourly employee works during breaks in the academic year or summer break, those hours worked are not counted toward the 516 hour limit in the civil service exemption under WAC 357-04-040.

Federal payroll deduction requirements may apply to work performed during breaks and periods “on leave.” See the UW Tax Office website for detailed information.

Exceptions to the work hours limits

Under WAC 357-04-040, students who are participating in a documented and approved internship program which consists of an academic component and work experience such as a Nursing Tech, UW student (job code 10884) or Pharmacist Intern – Student (job code 21242) are exempt from the 19.5 hour per week work hour limit. Likewise, students elected or appointed to a student body office, ASUW Appointee (job code 10890) or student organization position such as student officers or student news staff members are exempted from work hours limits. While there are no work hours limitations, students who exceed 19.5 hours per week may trigger federal FICA deductions.

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Hourly pay requirements, work records and overtime

Student hourly employees are overtime eligible and must be compensated for all hours worked. Student hourly employees do not receive paid holidays.

Departments must maintain a timesheet either in Workday or Kronos for student hourly employees in order to comply with FLSA record keeping requirements.

Meal and rest periods

Student hourly employees must receive rest and meal periods in accordance with Washington State law.


Student hourly employees are covered by mandatory overtime requirements, and must be compensated at time and a half for all hours worked over 40 hours per the University of Washington’s standard workweek. If a student hourly employee has more than one University position, the hours worked in all positions are totaled to determine the total hours worked within the workweek. See also Overtime Eligibility and Compensation for Non-Academic Employees.

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