Planning For A Student Worker

Creating a Student Position

Creating a job description is the first step in determining the type of work that is needed from a student worker. As job descriptions provide a guideline of what is expected from the student,  a clear and complete job description is essential.

Student job descriptions do not need to be as comprehensive as staff job descriptions; however, they should contain a job summary, duties, responsibilities and minimum qualifications.

If a student position performs work typically considered part of a bargaining unit (BCGEU-Okanagan, or CUPE Locals 2950,116 or 2278), the applicable collective agreement must be observed and the position would become part of the bargaining unit and subject to the provisions in the applicable collective agreement.  Positions created for and filled by students must not contain work that is reserved for unionized employees.

All student positions are subject to the BC Employment Standards Act and University policies. Students should be provided with access to the University policies prior to being hired, found on the University Counsel website.


The collective agreements specify wage rates for students covered by those agreements.  For non-union student appointments, the wage rate must meet the provincial minimum wage.  Please refer to the BC Government Ministry of Labour website.

When determining the wage, we encourage you to take into account the nature of the work, equity of student wages within the department, the academic benefit to the student/department, and the department/unit’s ability to pay.  Many students rely on these wages as a means of financial support for their studies.

Hours of Work

Where a student worker is covered by a collective agreement, the provisions of the collective agreement apply.

For non-union student workers, refer to the BC Employment Standards Act for the relevant provisions. The Act states that an employer must pay the employee overtime wages if the employee works more than eight (8) hours in a day or forty (40) hours in a week (but not both). The overtime rate of pay is 1.5 times the employee’s regular wages.

As a guideline, we recommend that undergraduate students work a maximum of 12 hours per week in non-union and non-scholarship student positions. While this limit is a recommendation, we understand there will be times when additional hours are requested by students or required by departments.  Given the various demands placed on our students, we ask that faculty members consider each student’s individual circumstances and commitments prior to scheduling them for additional work hours.

Students in unionized, scholarship, and certain types of student appointments must follow the applicable collective agreement, scholarship requirements, and outlined regulations regarding hours of work per week.

Students belonging to CUPE 2278 (Vancouver) or BCGEU (Okanagan) shall not work more than 12 hours per week in any given appointment subject to limited exemptions.  If in doubt, contact your HR Advisor or Associate for assistance. To avoid any concerns about this limit, clearly mark on the Student Appointment form the percentage of time that the student will be working in your department, and, in the case of an exception, be sure to include any documents that indicate an exception has been made.  Exceptions may include situations such as compressed semesters.

It is the supervisor’s responsibility to set up the work the student will perform.  Students may depend on these wages for support so it is important that the supervisor arrange for work when the student is scheduled to come in.

During the summer break (May to August), students in certain non-union and non-scholarship student appointments can work up to 40 hours a week.

Work Learn and Work Study positions are exempt from 40 hours a week: these student appointments must comply with Work Learn/Work Study guidelines.  Please refer to Career Services’ Work Study and Work Learn website for these guidelines.


Students are not eligible for staff benefits unless they are employed in staff positions. Eligibility for benefits is determined by the applicable collective agreement or handbook. Students are eligible for the student health plan (In Vancouver, the AMS/GSS Health & Dental Plan. In the Okanagan, the UBCSUO Health and Dental Plan.)

Vacation Pay

Certain categories of student employment (all BCGEU positions) have vacation pay calculations included in their wage rate. Other student appointments (work study, summer career placement) receive 4% holiday pay in addition to the wage on each paycheque.

Sick Time During Work Time

If a student is sick on a day that he or she was scheduled to work, he/she can either make up the time (if possible and if their supervisor approves); otherwise, no hours are to be submitted for that day. If the student is paid monthly, those hours should be deducted from his/her pay via a time sheet to UBC Payroll.

For unionized student positions, please refer to the collective agreement for sick time information.

Statutory Holiday Pay

If a student meets the eligibility requirements under the BC Employment Standards guidelines, then they are eligible to receive statutory holiday pay. Essentially, they must have been employed by UBC for 30 days before the statutory holiday and have worked or earned wages on 15 of the 30 days immediately before that statutory holiday. Most students will not meet the second requirement.  However, if they do, it is the supervisor/department’s responsibility to report the statutory holiday hours to Payroll by indicating the hours on a timesheet.