Western Oregon University employs over 1,200 students each year. Student employment gives every student the opportunity to gain necessary skills and experience that they will need for their careers down the road. To aid both students and supervisors, we have created a section with specifics relating to working as a student employee. For questions or comments regarding student employment policies and practices, please contact the Human Resources Office.

To find out more about student employment opportunities visit the SLCD WolfLink (or launch Handshake)

Eligibility to Work

For all students hoping to work at WOU, you must be authorized to work in the United States. According to the Department of US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), “U.S. citizens, born or naturalized, are always authorized to work in the United States, while foreign citizens may be authorized if they have an immigration status that allows them to work”. Students authorized to work in the US must have a social security card or work authorization from the Social Security Office. If you are unsure of your status, you can use the “self check” provided by USCIS. Questions regarding eligibility to work can also be directed to the Human Resources Office located in the Lieuallen Administration Building. To be eligible to work as a student employee, you must be a current, registered student at Western Oregon University or another academic institution. Preference for student positions at WOU will be given to WOU students. In addition to being a student, you must be taking six or more credits in order to qualify for student employment. Those taking less than six credits due to graduation requirements or because they are taking a term off should speak with their supervisor before continuing work. Students that are graduating at the end of a term are allowed to work UP TO the start of the next term. Beyond that, you must re-enroll at WOU (or qualifying institution) to work as a student again. International students, on non-immigrant visas, must maintain full-time enrollment status (12 credits for undergraduates, 9 for graduates) at all times to be eligible to work as a student. Exceptions may be granted only by the Office of International Education. Students from other academic institutions must be attending either a high school (and are over the age of 16), a community college or a public/private college or university. Students that fit this category must present documentation from the qualifying institution EACH TERM in order to continue working as a student employee. Documentation could include a course schedule showing six or more credits (nine credits for those on a semester system) or a letter from the academic institution confirming your student status (high school students only). Non-WOU students taking less than six credits or its semester equivalent are not allowed to work as a student employee under any circumstance. For more information on Student Employment Eligibility see the Student Employment Policy. [endsection] [section=Finding a Job] All student employment opportunities can be accessed through Wolflink on the student’s portal. Students who are seeking work on-campus, or in the area, are encouraged to create a login and upload necessary documents required for work (i.e. resume, references, etc.). From there, students should actively watch for job openings that fit their best interest and apply as desired. For more information, questions or concerns, please contact the Service Learning and Career Development Office.

Payroll Paperwork

Once you have been hired as a student employee, you must fill out the necessary paperwork to confirm your eligibility. The required payroll paperwork must be completed on or before a student can begin work or training. Below is a description of the student employee paperwork that must be completed.

  1. Student Employment Authorization: This authorization serves as a student’s “key” to student employment on-campus. Students who have not returned this authorization stamp to their supervisor will not be authorized to work. You will fill out the student name and V# portions of this document and must deliver to your supervisor after bringing all of the below forms to Human Resources.
  2. Student Employee Information: Students will complete this form and obtain a supervisor signature before bringing to Human Resources. This form is required annually and for each position on campus that you are working. **NOTE** Information listed under permanent address will also serve as the location for which a student will receive their W-2. Payroll recommends that students list their parent/guardian’s address in this field to ensure you receive your tax paperwork promptly.
  3. Direct Deposit (optional): WOU strongly encourages all employees to sign up for direct deposit. There are many benefits to signing up, including the benefit that you will be able to access your pay during school breaks if you’re unable to pick up the paper check.
  4. W-4: This tax form establishes the withholdings from your paychecks for federal and state income taxes. Students who are unfamiliar with this form or the information contained should speak with a parent/guardian or a tax attorney. Due to the sensitive nature, the Human Resources Office and your supervisor are unable to offer any tax advice including what to put on this form. For more information, please visit the IRS website.
  5. I-9: The I-9, furnished by USCIS, is a required form as is the documentation that must accompany it. Students should review the identification requirements on the I-9 form. Failure to bring in the appropriate identification will result in a student employee not receiving the authorization to work.
Working & Getting Paid

Rules of Employment

Congratulations! You have found a job and are now an employee of Western Oregon University. As such, you are now subject to the same employment rules that govern faculty and staff at WOU as well as receiving the same protections. Rule number one for students is that you are a student first. The administration believes that working while attending WOU can be a valuable part of the total learning process. That being said, your courses and associated course work take priority.

  • 20 hour/week limit: While working at WOU, students are limited to working up to 20 hours per week.
    • Students can work up 30 hours per week with approval from the Office of Student Affairs. This approval must be renewed EACH TERM that you wish to work greater than 20 hours.
      • Students are required to inform their supervisor(s) of their total work schedule and should monitor their own work hours so as to not exceed the maximum hours allowed.
    • International students CAN NOT exceed 20 working hours per week per USCIS.
  • 35 Day Rule: New employees must be paid within 35 days from the time that you started working per ORS 652.120 (2).
    • 35 day rule checks will be ready by the 10th of the month following WOU’s pay day.
  • Accidents on the job: Student employees are covered by the State Accident Insurance Fund for injuries sustained while working.
    • All injuries should be immediately reported to your supervisor.
  • Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA): Students working during academic terms are exempt from paying Social Security (6.2% of gross wages) and Medicare (1.42% of gross wages) taxes.
    • However, during summer break, IRS guidelines state that students are not eligible for the FICA exemption.
  • Oregon sick leave: For each 30 hours that you work, you will gain one hour of sick leave.
    • Regardless of where you worked the hours, you can use the sick leave at any job. See your supervisor for the rules surrounding use of sick leave.
    • Sick leave accrual is not applicable to work-study students.


Getting Paid

As an employee at WOU, you will get paid on the last business day of the month. The pay periods for student employees is the 11th to the 10th (i.e. pay day on May 31st includes hours worked between April 11th and May 10th). Departments across campus use various timekeeping tools to keep track of all hours worked. Check with your supervisor to see what system your department uses. Your department will submit all hours worked to the Human Resources Office each month. Student who did not sign up for direct deposit must visit the Human Resources Office on the third floor of the Administration Building on pay day to get their pay checks. You must bring some form of photo identification in order to pick up your check. Pay checks can only be delivered to the individual whose name is on the check. [endsection] [section=Official Employment Policies] As employees of the University, students are protected by the same employment rules and regulations that apply to faculty and staff. While there is no collective bargaining agreement for students, WOU policy and state and federal employment law does apply. Here is a list of the things to remember and their source for more information.

WOU Policy

  • Any activity for which a student receives money paid for work is considered employment, and payment must be made through the Human Resources Office.
  • Student employees and supervisors must not allow work schedules to interfere with university courses. The WOU administration believes that working while attending WOU can be a valuable part of the total learning experience, however, institutional policy dictates that students shall not work more than 20 hours per week without prior approval.
    • Students can obtain approval to work UP TO 30 hours in a week by contacting the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs. No student is permitted to work beyond 30 hours per week when the academic term is in session.
    • Foreign students cannot exceed 20 hours per week (during the academic year) per U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services regulations.
    • All student employees are eligible to work up to 40 hours during the following breaks:
      • Winter break
      • Spring break

Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI)/Oregon law

  • New student employees MUST be paid within 35 days from the time they start employment at WOU (ORS 652.120 [2]). If a student begins work with one department and already works for another on-campus, the 35 day rule does not apply provided they have been paid by the other department. The student employment verification page contains information on the students’ last date paid. If greater than 35 days, the supervisor will need to submit hours to be paid. More information on the 35 day rule can be found here.
  • Students working a shift of four consecutive hours are entitled to a paid break not less than ten minutes in length (every 4 hours). Students working six or more hours in a day are required to take an unpaid meal break not less than 30 minutes in length (BOLI).
    • i.e. Student is working from 8am to 5pm – student must take a meal break and is allotted two (2) 10 minute paid breaks.
    • State law requires a ten minute break every 4 hours after the two hour mark. i.e. A student who works 9am – 11:30am is allowed a ten minute break.
  • Students that exceed 40 working hours in a week (Sunday – Saturday) will be paid overtime at one and a half times their normal rate for all hours over 40. This rule counts for any work across the WOU campus. It is the responsibility of the employing department to know if their students are working hours at another.
  • Student employees, while working, are covered by State Accident Insurance Fund (SAIF) for any injuries on the job. Any injury sustained should be reported to the supervisor immediately. The supervisor should then contact Heather Mercer (503-838-8963 | mercerh@wou.edu) to determine appropriate steps.

Federal Labor Law

  • The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) dictates that a student employer who has worked for WOU for a total of twelve or more months and has worked at least 1,250 hours (~24 hours/week) over the previous twelve months is eligible for twelve weeks of unpaid, job protected leave for certain family and medical reasons. For more information, contact Heather Mercer (503-838-8963 | mercerh@wou.edu) at the Human Resources Office.
  • Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) – Social Security and Medicare taxes are levied on both employers and employees. Students working less than 40 hours per week are not subject to this withholding during any term in which they’re taking six or more credits.
Driving for WOU

All employees who are driving for WOU must be cleared by Campus Public Safety prior to driving both state and personal vehicles. In order to be cleared to drive, employees must fill out the Vehicle Authorization Form. Employees driving their personal vehicles must also fill out the Private Automobile Certificate of Insurance form (contact Public Safety for details). A new form must be filled out if you change insurance companies while driving for WOU business. In addition to the Vehicle Authorization Form, employees driving 12 passenger vans must take an additional test. Managed by Oregon State University, the OSU Motor Pool Van Safety Test covers how to safely drive these vans and keep its occupants safe as well. Upon successful completion of the Van Safety test, a copy of the certification must be provided to Campus Public Safety. In addition to the vehicle authorization form, employees driving a gator utility cart for their work must fill out the Golf Cart/Utility Vehicle form

Oregon Bureau of Labor Industries FAQ

To find information about policies and procedures that the University as an employing body must adhere to, please look at the frequently asked questions about Oregon BOLI here.