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Wage Employment (Hourly and Student Worker)

  • Responsible Office: VCU Human Resources , Division of Administration
  • Current Approved Version: 01/10/2022
  • Policy Type: Administrative

Policy Statement and Purpose 

Virginia Commonwealth University has a continuing need for temporary or at-will employees. The university hires wage employees to cover seasonal or temporarily excessive workloads, interim replacements, and short-term projects. This policy outlines rules for wage employees, including job conditions and hour restrictions for hourly employees and student workers. 

Note: This policy does not cover work-study students who are governed by VCU’s Office of Financial Aid policies or graduate assistants and fellows who are governed by VCU Graduate School policies. Please note, however, that the 1480-hour work restriction as described below does apply to these employee types. For more information, contact VCU’s Federal Work-Study (FWS) Coordinator (see or the VCU Graduate School.

Noncompliance with this policy may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination. VCU supports an environment free from retaliation. Retaliation is prohibited against any employee who brings forth a good faith concern, asks a clarifying question, or participates in an investigation.

Who Should Know This Policy 

Wage employees and anyone who hires wage employees are responsible for knowing this policy and familiarizing themselves with its contents and provisions.


Hourly Employees

Hourly employees are employees who perform work similar to university and academic professionals but are paid an hourly rate and paid only for actual hours worked rather than a fixed semi-monthly salary, and who are considered temporary. Hourly employees are limited to 1,480 total work hours throughout the Manpower Control Act (MCA) Standard Measurement Period (to ensure compliance with the 1,480 hour limit).

Manpower Control Act (MCA) Standard Measurement Period

The standard measurement period is the 12-month period from May 1 through April 30 of the following year, during which certain non-benefited employees cannot work more than a total of 1,480 hours. (Depending on the reporting year, this is 28-29 hours per week, on average, per Standard Measurement Period.)

Student Workers

Students at VCU enrolled for at least 6 undergraduate credit hours or 4.5 graduate credit hours* who are hired to perform a variety of duties ranging from entry-level service jobs to office support and professional activities. These employees do not have work-study awards through VCU’s Office of Financial Aid. Their employment is subject to the Manpower Control Act and their work hours are limited to 1,480 hours per Standard Measurement Period. 

Wage Employee

This term refers to both hourly employees and student workers who are paid by the hour.

*Note:  Credit hour enrollment criteria do not apply during the summer sessions.


VCU Human Resources officially interprets this policy. VCU Human Resources is responsible for obtaining approval for any revisions as required by the policy Creating and Maintaining Policies and Procedures through the appropriate governance structures. Please direct policy questions to VCU Human Resources.

Policy Specifics and Procedures 

1. Recruitment:  

o Equal employment opportunity policy applies to the employment of all wage employees. The extent of hourly employment in a school, department, or unit is dependent upon funding availability and justification for establishing such a position(s).

o Departments may make decentralized recruitment and hiring decisions regarding hourly employees. However, hourly positions must be advertised through VCU Human Resources’ recruitment management system. 

2. Compensation:  Wage employees are considered non-exempt under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and are paid for actual time worked (both regular and overtime). Wage employees are required to submit hours worked to their managers for approval by department deadlines to ensure prompt payment. Wage employees must obtain prior, documented approval to work overtime; management may adjust work hours for FLSA compliance.

o Hourly Employees - Generally, hourly employee positions are matched to VCU job titles and are compensated similarly to university and academic professionals performing comparable duties. Hourly employees must possess the same qualifications as those required for similar university and academic professional positions. Hourly employees must be paid at least $11.00 per hour.

o Student Workers - Students must be paid the state minimum wage, currently $11.00 per hour. 

3. Conditions of Employment:  

o Prior to their start date, wage employees are subject to criminal conviction background investigations, child support disclosure, direct deposit of their pay, Selective Service verification, completion of an Employment Eligibility Form (I-9), and verification of employment eligibility through the federal eVerify program.

o Regardless of funding source, total hours worked by wage employees at VCU are limited to 1,480 hours or less over the Standard Measurement Period, including regular and overtime hours, and any other hours worked in an overload or secondary job. Managers are responsible for monitoring and ensuring compliance with the 1,480-hour rule. Departmental Human Resource staff are responsible for monitoring and reinforcing compliance with this rule. 

4. Benefits:

o Wage employees may participate in the university’s tax-deferred annuity and the state’s deferred compensation programs and are covered under the Commonwealth of Virginia's Workers' Compensation Act. However, they are not eligible for participation in the state's health benefits program, life insurance, employer-funded retirement or cash match programs.

o Wage employees can apply for full-time positions (including positions posted as internal only), and they are eligible for university service awards. However, if hired into university and academic professional or faculty positions, wage service does not count toward any form of continuous state service for benefits or retirement purposes. If hired into a full-time position, wage employees may purchase prior service credit, which can be credited to VRS for retirement purposes only. The purchase of prior service credit counts toward the five years needed to become vested in VRS.

5. New Employee Training:  

○ Managers should provide new wage employees with all applicable policies and procedures, and ensure they complete required training.    

6. Discipline and Separation:  

o Voluntary Separation – Typically, wage employees are expected to provide at least two weeks’ advance written notice to their manager when they intend to separate employment with VCU. If the employee is moving from one university department to another, a different notice period may be agreed upon to continue services with minimal disruption.

o Discipline and Involuntary Separation - For purposes of progressive discipline and the employee grievance procedure, hourly employees and student workers are not covered by Working@VCU: “Great Place” HR Policies; employment of these individuals is considered temporary and at the will of the university.  

o Wage employees may file complaints of unlawful discrimination according to the university’s non-discrimination policies and Equity and Access Services processes.


Search for the following forms ( 

1. Wage Employee Position Description

2. Wage Timesheet

Related Documents 

1. VCU’s Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program (

2. Fair Labor Standards Act (

3. VCU Policy: Criminal Conviction Investigations

4. VCU Policy: Secondary Assignments (Overload Jobs) 

5. VCU Policy: Notice of Nondiscrimination, Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action

6. VCU Policy: Working@VCU: “Great Place” HR Policies

7. VCU Policy: Rules and Procedures

8. State Manpower Control Act (

9. State Policy 2.05, Equal Employment Opportunity  (

10. State Policy 2.20, Types of Employment ( 

Revision History 

This policy supersedes the following archived policies:

Approval/Revision DateTitle
April 10, 2011 Wage Employment (Hourly and Student Worker) 
July 24, 2013  Wage Employment (Hourly and Student Worker) 
November 11, 2016 Wage Employment (Hourly and Student Worker)


There are no FAQ associated with this policy and procedures.