Human Resources

Temporary employment program

Updated April 14, 2021 to reflect COVID-19 related changes.

The temporary employment program describes the requirements for all UW temporary hourly positions in classified job profiles. Professional staff temporary positions approved by the Compensation office and student hourly positions follow separate practices.

Temporary hourly positions can be used for limited duration project work, staffing shortages, workload peaks, and ongoing work that is limited to fewer than 20 hours per week.

Temporary hourly positions should not substitute for the employment of regular staff when a unit has an ongoing need for a person to work half time or more. Nor should these positions be used as a trial period for an employee before hiring that employee to a regular, ongoing position.

Hiring process

Human Resources coordinates all employment of temporary hourly employees unless otherwise authorized by the vice president for human resources. An employing unit will not be able to place a temporary hourly employee on payroll, or start a temporary hourly employee working, without creating a position and requisition in Workday and having the hire go through UWHIRES.

To hire a temporary hourly employee, you generally have three options:

  • Direct hire — for supervisors who have identified the person they want to do the work
  • Recruitment — for supervisors who want to recruit candidates
  • UTemp Staffing — a UW service that recruits and identifies qualified temporary employees.

With direct hire and recruitment, supervisors must manage payroll and monitor work hours to ensure employees don’t exceed the hours limits; UTemp Staffing manages payroll and monitors the hours worked by temporary employees to ensure that they meet the limits.

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Pay rate and job profile

All temporary hourly employees are paid an hourly rate that falls within the salary range for the classified title that best fits the work. Deviations from this practice require advance Human Resources approval from your employment specialist.

Using “temporary staff helper” as a job title

In most cases, you can’t use “temporary staff helper” (code 11863) for an employee’s job title. To use this title, you must receive approval from Human Resources.

This title is only approved when HR determines that the position’s work doesn’t fit any classified non-union class specification (for example, when working as an usher or when conducting specialized training). You can’t use the title to pay an hourly rate that’s less than what the employee would be paid under a classified non-union title.

Non-UW students who are not work study eligible may be employed as a regular temporary hourly employee using the classified job title that most closely matches the work to be performed. With the advance approval from HR Operations, it may be appropriate to use temporary staff helper job title for such positions.

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Work limits and overtime

As of March 13, 2020, the Office of Financial Management (OFM) Division of State Human Resources exempted all University of Washington temporary hourly employees working in critical positions essential to maintain safe hospital and institutional operations during the COVID-19 crisis from the 1,050-hour maximum under WAC 357-04-045. The exemption is valid until June 30, 2021. 

Details about the exemption, including the approval process, is described on the Exemption for temporary hourly staff hours limits during COVID-19 crisis webpage.

Temporary hourly employees can work a maximum of 950 hours (excluding overtime) during a 12-month period. However, some units establish a lower limit, so check your unit’s policy and make sure to comply with it.

The initial 12-month period starts on the first day of employment as a temporary employee, which is called the employee’s Original Temporary Employment Date (OTED). Subsequent 12-month periods begin on the OTED anniversary date. Once an employee establishes an OTED, it does not change, even if an employee leaves the UW or takes other positions at the UW.

All hours worked, except overtime, count toward the 950-hour limit. The limit applies to all temporary hourly positions, including those made through UTemp Staffing, through recruitment, or direct hire. If an employee has multiple positions, the combined nonovertime hours worked in all temporary hourly positions cannot exceed the 950-hour limit.


Overtime hours worked do not count toward the 950-hour limit. All temporary hourly employees are subject to the overtime payment requirements.

Exceptions to the work limit

Temporary hourly employees working in positions critical to maintaining safe hospital and institutional operations during the COVID-19 crisis may exceed the University’s institutional 950-hour and 1,050-hour limits without approval from UW Human Resources.

Temporary hourly employees not performing work critical to maintain hospital and institutional operations during the COVID-19 crisis may continue to request approval from Human Resources for employees to work beyond the 950-hour limit to a maximum of 1050 hours during a 12-month period.

Temporary hourly (“per diem”) Registered Nurses at the UW Medical Center locations and Harborview Medical Center and certain classifications of employees who work on UW oceangoing research vessels are not subject to the 950- or 1050-hour limit, as approved by the Office of Financial Management Division of State Human Resources.

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Monitor an employee’s hours

Supervisors are responsible for ensuring that temporary hourly employees don’t exceed the work hours limit if their positions are not critical to maintaining safe hospital and institutional operations during the COVID-19 crisis. To monitor the hours worked by your employees, use the Temporary Hourly Employment Monitoring Tool.

The tool allows you to check the number of hours worked by your employee, and it sends you an email when your employee reaches critical hour limits. Learn more about the temporary employment monitoring tool.

You don’t need to monitor hours if you hired the employee through UTemp Staffing, as they will do it for you.

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Extend an employee’s position

You can extend a temporary employee’s position past the current end date if the employee is eligible to continue working. You may extend the position by up to 12 months.

To extend the end date for a position held by a temporary hourly employee:

  1. Determine how many hours the employee has worked in their current position by using the hours lookup tool.
  2. Verify that the total hours of the current position plus the proposed extension do not exceed the work hours limit.
  3. Coordinate extension end dates with the Integrated Service Center using the Monitor Employment Status and Change Job – Data Change – Extend Employment End Date- Staff Campus, Medical Centers user guides.

If you hired the employee through UTemp Staffing, you should request an extension through the UTemp manager portal, or via email.

Under certain circumstances, you may need to create a new position and requisition in Workday rather than extend the end date. This is the case when any of the following apply:

  • There is a change in job class code, job profile, or department
  • An employment termination has been entered in Workday for the employee

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Benefits, time off, and leaves

Temporary employees who meet eligibility criteria can participate in employer-provided insurance and retirement plans. The Integrated Service Center notifies temporary employees of their eligibility.

Temporary employees accrue paid sick time off. Additional information about accrual rates can be found on the Sick time off for temporary and student hourly employees webpage. They are also eligible for unpaid time off due to a disability or serious health condition (or to care for a family member with a serious health condition) or for military duty. Contact your HR leave specialist for questions about temporary employee leave of absence or time off.

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Union representation

A temporary hourly employee can be represented by a union and covered by a collective bargaining agreement depending on the type of work and location of the job.

SEIU 925, WFSE, WSNA, and SEIU 1199 are certified to represent temporary employees if the employee:

  • Has a job assignment and work location that matches an SEIU Local 925 or WFSE bargaining unit title
  • Has a registered nurse job assignment that matches an WSNA registered nurse bargaining unit title
  • Has a job assignment that matches an SEIU 1199 bargaining unit title in the Professional/Technical, HMC RN, and ALNW RN bargaining units
  • Has worked 350 hours or more in a bargaining unit assignment in a 12-month period beginning on the first day of employment

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The Temporary Employment Notice

State civil service rules require that at the time of hire, newly appointed temporary hourly employees in classified job titles receive written information about eligible benefits and the terms and conditions of employment.

Workday sends the Temporary Employment Notice at the time of hire and for add job and change job transactions that result in a new temporary hourly position. Please contact the ISC with any questions.

Hiring managers should review the notice with new employees as part of their departmental orientation.

Exceptions to the notice

The Temporary Employment Notice does not apply to employees in certain limited-duration positions like fixed-duration classified, professional staff temporary, professional staff project positions, or to the following job titles:

  • 10884, Nursing Technician – UW Student (NE H)
  • 11836, Student Assistant – Non-UW Student (NE H) (must be work study)
  • 10875, Student Assistant – UW Student (NE H)
  • 21242, Pharmacist Intern – Student (NE H)
Compensation Adjustments – Medical Centers Per Diem

Per diem RNs and Healthcare Specialists working in the medical centers may request a step increase if they work at least 1,872 hours at the regular rate of pay (equivalent to 90% FTE) in a per diem role since their last step increase or since the beginning of their current per diem appointment. Reviews may not be requested more frequently than once every 12 months and only per diem hours worked since January 1, 2013 are counted in this calculation. If the review determines that 1,872 hours were worked since the last step increase, the wage increase will be granted effective the date of the request.

This provision applies to per diem staff working in the following jobs at the UW Medical Center locations, Harborview Medical Center, and Airlift Northwest:

  • Health Care Specialist (21060)
  • Health Care Specialist Lead (21061)
  • Registered Nurse 2 (21679 and 21034)
  • Registered Nurse 3 (21680, 21035, 21640)
  • Flight Nurse (21038)
  • Flight Nurse, Senior (21039)
  • Charge Nurse (21496)
  • Float Nurse (21497)
  • Resident Nurse (21495)
  • Staff Nurse (21494)

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