Student Employee Handbook


The Whittier College Student Employment Program provides students with an opportunity to obtain a job on or off campus and earn money towards college tuition and/or for personal expenses.

A student employment job provides students with a place to learn basic workplace etiquette, an opportunity to work in a field of interest and prepares students for the challenges of the workforce.

The Student Employment Program Student Handbook reviews the policies, guidelines, and expectations of Whittier College/Law School student employees. Students should refer to and review the handbook prior to obtaining a student employment job. Questions regarding the handbook should be referred to Human Resources.

Rules for Student Conduct

For the complete version of the Whittier College Student Handbook outlining the standards of student conduct, please visit the Division of Student Life.

Students must be enrolled as full-time (12 credits) undergraduates and have employment eligibility to work in the United States to participate in the Student Employment Program. Students who have graduated or are enrolled in the graduate program are not eligible to participate in the Student Employment Program. Students must either have an awarded Financial Aid work award or have received exception funding from a department. If you are uncertain about your eligibility, please contact Human Resources.

Enrolled international undergraduate students with a Student VISA (F-1, J-1, and M-1) may be eligible to participate in the student employment program as student employees if proper work authorization is obtained. International students must obtain a Social Security Number in order to participate and prior to first day of work. For further information in obtaining a Social Security Number, please visit the official Social Security Administration website or contact the Human Resources Office. For additional information in obtaining a Social Security Number, refer to the Social Security Administration's International Students and Social Security Numbers reference guide. For assistance and/or guidance with the application process and/or for any questions regarding your eligibility to work in the United States, please contact the Office of International Programs

Students may participate in the Student Employment Program through one of the following funding types:

  • Federal Work Award: The Federal Work Award is a federally funded financial aid work award offered to students who demonstrate a financial need determined by the FAFSA Form.
  • Whittier Work Award: The Whittier Work Award is a Whittier College funded financial aid work award offered to students. Student need is determined by the office of Financial Aid.
  • Exception Funding: Exception Funding is funding awarded to individual departments and faculty members who demonstrate a need for student employee assistance. Students interested in obtaining exception funding should apply directly with the department or faculty member.
  • Grants: Students may be hired by individual faculty members or departments for research based or grant sponsored positions.
  • Department: On occasion students may be hired and funded directly from a department's operational budget. 

Students who are awarded financial aid work awards must utilize and earn all award monies prior to being eligible to receive any departmental exception funds.

Student Employee

A student employee is a student whose employment is incorporated to the pursuit of full time undergraduate course of study at Whittier College. Students who have been admitted to the college, who take a full course load during an academic year and simultaneously are employed in a position by the college, or by an approved off-campus partner, will be classified as a student employee. Students may retain their student employee status during school breaks, vacation periods and summers while maintaining full time enrollment status for the current or next academic term as applicable. Upon withdrawals, leave of absence, graduation or separation from the college, the student will no longer be considered a student employee and loses all eligibility. Students who are not enrolled for the upcoming fall semester may not work under exception funding during the summer period or obtain a student employment position.

Student New Hire

A student is considered a new student employee or student new hire if they have not previously held a student employment position with the College, regardless of class standing.  New student hires must complete and submit the Forms I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, W-4, Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate (Federal), and DE4, Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate (State) to Human Resources prior to or no later than three days from start of employment. This process is only completed once, upon initial hire.

Student Rehire

A student is considered a returning student employee or rehire, if they have previously held a student employment position or have been paid through Payroll as a student with the College. Students obtaining a position with a new department than previous year(s) are considered rehires, even if new to a department. Returning students do not need to complete the Form I-9, W-4, and DE4 with Human Resources, unless the student wishes to make changes to their allowances/claim withholdings. Returning students must complete a new SEAR form each academic year and/or summer. 


A student supervisor is an eligible faculty or staff member, who hires, terminates, and monitors student employees. Student supervisors are responsible for delegating work to the student employees, ensuring tasks are accomplished on time and accurately. Supervisors monitor students’ hours and approve timesheets for those they supervise.

To obtain a student employment job on/off campus students should:

  1. Search available student employment positions using Handshake.
  2. Follow the application process listed with the position by either contacting the supervisor directly or submitting materials such as a resume, cover letter and application as instructed.
  3. After receiving an offer for employment, complete the required Student Employment Paperwork and return to Human Resources for processing.
  4. All employment paperwork should be submitted to Human Resources by the student prior to beginning work.
  5. Students may not begin working until they and their hiring supervisor have received an approval email from the Human Resources Department. Students should allow up to 3 - 5 business days for processing and approval email. 

The POET (Professional Opportunity Experiential Training) Internship Program is a structured, on-campus internship that offers students the opportunity to engage in project-based work experiences designed to develop and reinforce specific liberal arts skills and knowledge that are monitored through required enrollment in INTD 299.  Under the mentorship of a faculty/staff supervisor, approved POET Interns learn to:

  • Demonstrate critical thinking and analytical reasoning
  • Apply complex problem solving and analysis to the project assignments
  • Communicate effectively using oral and written communication
  • Apply knowledge and skills (i.e. event planning, graphic design, research, statistical analysis, etc.) to the project
  • Organize, evaluate and use information from multiple sources
  • Demonstrate innovation and creativity in the completion of the project.

To participate, students must be of at least second-semester first year class standing and not be on academic or disciplinary probation, and must be willing to enroll in INTD 299 for each semester of participation. Students may participate a maximum of twice in the internship program, and cannot repeat the same the internship.

Participating student interns will be required to utilize all financial aid issued work award monies prior to receiving any program exception funding.

All student employees are required to complete the following forms.

SEAR (Student Employment Action Request) Form

The SEAR form is to be completed by the student and the hiring supervisor. Students are required to complete Sections I and III and supervisors complete Section II. A new SEAR Form is required for each academic year, each summer, and each new position and/or for position changes (i.e. allocation decrease/increase, employment status, etc.) SEAR Forms are not available electronically and should be obtained from the Human Resources Office.

Form W-4 & DE4

Students must complete a Form W-4 (Federal) and Form DE4 (State), Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate, so that the appropriate taxes can be withheld from a student's paycheck. During the academic year, Federal Income Tax and State Income Tax deductions are applied to student payroll paychecks, if applicable. During the summer term, all taxes are subject to deduction from student paychecks including federal tax, state tax, social security, Medicare, and state disability.

Form I-9

To comply with federal law, the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, must be completed by all student employees before they begin working, or no later than three days from the designated start date. Student employees must complete the employee section no later than day one of employment and must provide proper identification and authorization to work documentation no later than within three business days of start date. The penalties for non-compliance may result in termination of employment and could have significant fines and penalties on the College. When submitting the Form I-9, the student employee is required to show proper identification and work authorization document(s). The list of acceptable documents can be found on the final page of the form. Photocopies and/or faxed/scanned documents will not be accepted. Federal law requires Human Resources to examine and verify the authenticity of the original document(s). For additional information on the Form I-9, visit the U.S. Customs and Immigration Services  webpage.

Student Acknowledgement of Hourly Rate Form

Students funded by Exception or Departmental Funds must also sign the Student Acknowledgement of Hourly Rate Form and submit with their SEAR form. 

*Important*: Completed Forms must be submitted in-person to the Human Resources Office. Students are not eligible to begin working until all paperwork has been processed and the student and supervisor have received an authorization email from the Human Resources Office clearing the student to begin work.

All student employees whose job(s) require operation of a Whittier College electric or motor vehicle must abide by the guidelines for safe operation of vehicles and carts outlined in the College's "Authorized Driver and Vehicle Fleet Safety Policy" governed by Campus Safety. It is the intent of these guidelines to prevent injury to students, employees, and guests, to protect on-campus pedestrians, to reduce damage to college property, and to provide safe driving standards for all College vehicle/cart operators and their passengers.

Student employees must apply for and be granted Authorized Driver Status in order to operate College owned/leased vehicles or electric carts while in the scope of performing their position. The Authorized Driver process includes a review of the student's Department of Motor Vehicles driving record and a hands-on behind the wheel training with Campus Safety each fiscal/academic year the student will be driving.

To apply, student employees must submit a copy of their active Driver's License along with a completed American Driving Records (ADR) From to Human Resources. Please allow three-five business days for processing and results. Human Resources will notify the student employee and supervisor if the student has cleared and provided instructions for scheduling training with Campus Safety.

Off-Campus Work

Students may elect to participate in the Student Employment Program by choosing to obtain a job at an approved off-campus organization in the local community. Off-campus jobs are non-profit organizations approved by Human Resources in accordance with Federal Work-Study guidelines. Community organizations partners also post positions on Handshake. Students working off-campus are held to the same policies and procedures set forth by Human Resources Department and the Student Employment Program.

Multiple Jobs

Students may have more than one student employment position, up to a maximum of two active positions at any given time. This applies year-round, regardless of breaks such as winter, spring, and summer term. Students may hold two active positions, as long as they do not exceed their work award/exception funding allocation and do not surpass the approved hours per week limit. 


The Student Employee Program Wage Scale will be determined prior to the academic year and/or as needed to comply with Federal/ State Minimum Wage Laws by the Human Resources Department and Finance Office. Pay rates for student positions are equal to California minimum wage. The current student hourly wage is $14.00 per hour. Effective January 01, 2022, all student workers will receive an hourly of $15.00 per hour. Earnings are paid to students in the form of a bi-weekly (every other Friday) paycheck. Students are responsible for timekeeping and submitting their timesheets online by the designated payroll deadlines. Pay checks will be mailed to the student's permanent home address unless student has signed an agreement with the Business Office to apply all paychecks towards their tuition balance. If you are interested in enrolling in Direct Deposit visit the Payroll Resource Channel via My.Whittier to obtain a Direct Deposit Form or contact the Payroll Office directly.


Students may work a maximum of 18 hours per week year-round, regardless of breaks such as winter, spring, and summer term. Students with two active positions, must plan their schedules so as not to exceed 18 hours total per week. There is no required minimum number of hours a student must work per day or week. It is highly encouraged students do not work more than four hours at one time or per day to allow sufficient time for other college non-work related activities. Students should not exceed eight (8) hours in one day. 


Overtime will be paid for time worked in excess of eight (8) hours in one day or forty (40) hours per week per California regulations. Should a student employee work more than eight (8) hours in one (1) day, the student employee will be paid at one and one-half times (1.5) their regular hourly rate of pay for all time worked in excess of eight (8) hours in one (1) day.  All overtime should be requested/ approved by the supervisor in advance; the student must be available and willing. Students who have worked overtime, should enter the time in the appropriate overtime field on their timesheet and note the reason in the comments field.

Students are eligible for rest and meal breaks as follows: Student employees are eligible for a paid 10 minute break for every 3.5 - 4 hours of continuous work. Students who will work between 5 - 6 hours of continuous work are eligible for an unpaid meal period of at least 30 minutes. The unpaid thirty minute meal period is optional, and the student may voluntarily elect to waive their unpaid thirty minute meal break. If waived by the student, this should be noted on the timesheet in the comments section. Students working more than 6 hours of continuous work may not waive the meal period and may not work through it. Students working more than 6 hours continuously must take an unpaid meal period of at least 30 minutes. Rest and meal breaks may not be combined. 

As mandated by the state of California, all student employees are eligible to receive 24 hours of paid sick time per fiscal year (July 1 - June 30). Upon initial completion of 30 days of employment, all students will be eligible to receive 24 hours of paid sick leave, but may not begin using sick time until their 90th day of employment. This waiting period applies to all student workers hired for the first time on July 1, 2015 or after. However, any student worker who began employment prior to 07/01/15, and has already completed 90 days of employment, does not need to wait 90 days, and may begin using their sick time immediately upon resuming their position.

Student employees should give as much notice as possible for planned appointments, and should give as much notice as possible for unforeseen instances. Students cannot be penalized for taking their available sick time if used/taken appropriately. Paid sick time is to be the equivalent of the student’s regular scheduled shift, or lost hours, nothing more. 

California Sick Leave provides time off for the student employee for him/ herself and/or immediate family member for the following reasons:

  1. Diagnosis, care or treatment of an existing health condition or preventative care
  2. Doctor appointments
  3. To stay home if ill to avoid coming to work and infecting others
  4. To allow student employee time off if victimized by domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking

Family member is defined as Parent (adoptive, biological, foster, step or parent’s spouse), child (adoptive, biological, and foster-regardless of age or dependency status), spouse/domestic partner, grandparent, grandchild, and sibling.

Student employees cannot be penalized by their supervisor and/or department for using available sick time in accordance with the California Sick Leave Policy. If a student employee believes he/she has been penalized/ retaliated against for using available sick time, please contact Human Resources. However, should a supervisor and/or department discover a student was dishonest about or inappropriately used available sick time, the student may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination. 

Paid sick leave does not carry over from one fiscal year to another. Unused time will be forfeited. Students will receive 24 hours of paid sick leave at the start of each fiscal year, while actively employed. Paid sick leave cannot be cashed/ paid out upon termination/separation from the College. 

All students participating in the Student Employment Program must enter their time electronically on and submit their timesheet by the payroll deadline. Students will have a timesheet for each position they hold. Students should refer to the indicated position number on the approved SEAR form sent by Human Resources to ensure time is recorded correctly for each position. Students who fail to submit their timesheet by the deadline should immediately approach their supervisor for assistance, prior to the Payroll Office.

Students may not “shuffle in” or include hours from a previous pay period into a current pay period’s timesheet. Students are only to record actual hours worked during a pay period on that pay period's timesheet. Students whose hours were not recorded on the appropriate pay period’s timesheet, and therefore not paid out, should visit the Payroll office for a manual timesheet.

Off-Campus Timesheet Submission Process

Students who work off-campus must submit their timesheet(s) electronically, but must also print out submitted online timesheet and present their off-campus supervisor for approval. Off-campus supervisors will sign the printout if hours are accurate. Students are responsible for ensuring their signed printout is submitted to and received by Human Resources by the deadline (24 hrs. after online timesheet submittal deadline). During remote learning, students should send a screenshot of their submitted electronic timesheet to their supervisor via email for them to review and approve. If correct, supervisor will email the HR Staff members by the designated approval deadlines. Human Resources will compare the student’s signed timesheet to that of the student submitted electronic timesheet and approve if a match. 

Manual Timesheet Policy

Students are eligible to receive one (1) manual timesheet per academic year and/or summer term, if they have missed submitting a timesheet by the deadline. Students are not to surpass the need for more than one manual timesheet. Students who request a manual timesheet(s) beyond the one will be held to the following disciplinary process:

  • Second manual timesheet will result in a verbal warning by the Payroll and/or Human Resources office
  • Third manual timesheet will result in a written warning issued by the Payroll and/or Human Resources office. The written warning will be given to the student and the supervisor notified.
  • Fourth manual timesheet will result in the termination of the student’s position(s) for the remainder of the academic year and/or summer by the Human Resources office, regardless if total award/allocation(s) has not been earned. If more than one position is held at the time, both positions will be closed for the remainder of the academic year/summer.


All student employees should be careful while at work in order to avoid injury on the job. Concerns regarding safety or health in the workspace should be immediately reported to the supervisor for correction. If no action is taken and the student employee still feels there is a threat and/or safety concern, or does not feel comfortable reporting to the supervisor, report concerns to the Office of Human Resources. Student employees are covered by the College’s general liability plan in the case of an injury at work.

In the event a work-related injury occurs, student workers and/or the supervisor should immediately, or as reasonable as possible following an injury, contact Campus Safety for an incident report to be completed. The student and supervisor should also contact the Human Resources office to file a workplace injury and obtain authorization to seek medical assistance from the work-care clinic, or to decline treatment.


The College does not tolerate unlawful harassment and the College’s policy against harassment applies to all persons involved in the operation of the College, including supervisors, managers, students, and any other persons. Any form of harassment which violates federal, state, or local laws, including but not limited to harassment related to an individual’s race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, gender, religion, creed, age, mental or physical disability, veteran status, medical condition, marital status, citizenship, registered domestic partner status, sexual orientation, gender orientation, gender identification, gender expression, or genetic characteristics, is a violation of this policy and will be treated as a disciplinary matter.

The term “harassment” includes slurs and any other offensive remarks, jokes, other verbal, graphic, or physical conduct. Sexual harassment can include visual conduct, such as leering, making sexual gestures, displaying of sexually suggestive objects or pictures, cartoons or posters, verbal sexual advances, propositions or requests to include unwelcome verbal abuse of a sexual nature, amongst other federal and state unacceptable behaviors.

Student Employees who believe they've been a victim of harassment, should report immediately to the supervisor and Office of Human Resources. Whittier College does not tolerate any form of harassment and anyone who engages in harassing manners, is in violation of Whittier College’s harassment policy and will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

Grievance/Complaint Procedures

Students wishing to issue a grievance/complaint due to problems on the job should first discuss their concerns with their immediate supervisor. If the grievance/complaint is in regards to the direct faculty/staff supervisor, the student employee should contact the Department or Division Head. In addition, students who believe they have legitimate employment concerns should contact Stephanie Lopez, HR Office and Student Employment Manager at 562.907.4208 or

Students are subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination, when found in violation of departmental and/or Student Employment Program policies and guidelines.

Supervisors may issue verbal and/or written warnings to students for indiscretions including, but not limited to:

  • Failing to regularly submit their timesheet online via My.Whittier by the deadline
  • Excessive tardiness with or without prior notice
  • Excessive absenteeism with or without prior notice
  • Violating department policies and guidelines (i.e. homework policy, use of cell phone or personal electronics, dress code, etc.)
  • Poor performance/not completing assignments efficiently or accurately/lack of interest
  • Demonstrating a bad attitude and/or lack of respect towards supervisor and/or coworkers

Students will be subject to disciplinary action when found in violation/misconduct of the College's Student Employment Program policies and guidelines. Human Resources will issue disciplinary action up to and including termination for violations including, but not limited to:

  • Falsification of hours on a submitted timesheet
  • Breach of department’s or program's confidentiality policy
  • Reduction in full-time student status will always lead to termination by Human Resources until student is registered full-time 
  • No call, no show- student employees who do not call or report to work three consecutive days/shifts without prior notification to the supervisor will be considered a voluntary resignation
  • Reporting to work under the influence of alcohol, intoxicants, illegal drugs, or controlled substances
  • Illegal use, possession, manufacture, transfer, purchase, sale, or attempted purchase of sale of intoxicants, illegal or controlled drugs
  • Violent behavior in the work place including fighting, extreme verbal abuse, vandalism, bodily injury, destruction of property, threats towards others, harassment, etc.

If a student employee has been or will be terminated from a position of student employment for reason(s) listed above or other related gross-misconduct violations, the released student will not be eligible to return or be rehired to the same department, even if by a different supervisor or for a different position, for the remainder of their student employment years. 

Conflicts Of Interest

Student workers and Supervisors must avoid situations in which an actual or potential conflict of interest may arise. Conflicts of interest may arise from, but are not limited to, situations in which supervisors hire students with whom a personal or financial interest or relationship exists. Students are not eligible to be hired by or work for and/or in departments in which there is a relative, friend, neighbor, etc. on staff. Students are not to engage in over friendly or romantic relationships with faculty or staff of Whittier College.

Non-College Related Work

Supervisors may not assign personal matters/business or non-college related work to a student employee while on shift and/or while being paid with College funds under any circumstances. Student employees should only be assigned and perform work that is beneficial, relates to, and fulfills departmental and College business needs.


The Student Employment Program places high importance and accountability on confidentiality and takes seriously actions of breached department and/or College confidentiality. During the scope of fulfilling student employment position assignments, student workers may be in contact with or access of confidential information and/or property. Student employees should never discuss or disclose any form of confidential information or property, either directly or indirectly with persons affiliated/not affiliated with the College, or with other students/employees who do not have a need to know and without the consent/approval of the department or appropriate "owner" of the information/property.

Confidential information includes, but is not limited to, documents, tapes, lists, computer printouts, studies, surveys, reports, drafts, pictures, charts, maps, drawings, programs, equipment, blueprints, vendor lists, student lists, financial reports/records, accounts payable/receivable records, Payroll records, Human Resources records, files, email conversations, verbal conversations, and other materials pertinent to the College or its students and employees. Confidential information may not be removed, distributed, shared, photocopied, altered, damaged, etc. in any capacity.

Business Ethics and Conduct

Whittier College with comply with all applicable laws and regulations and expects all employees, including student workers,  to conduct business in accordance with the letter, spirit and intent of all relevant laws and to refrain from any illegal, dishonest, or unethical conduct. In general, use of good judgment, based on high ethical principles, will be guiding principles with respect to lines of acceptable conduct. if a situation arises where it is difficult to determine the proper course of action, or whether unethical behavior has occurred, the matter should be discussed with and brought to the attention of the immediate supervisor and Human Resources. 

Compliance with this policy of business ethics and conduct is the responsibility of every employee, student and member of the POET community. Disregarding or failing to comply with this standard of business ethics and conduct could lead to disciplinary action, up to and including possible termination of employment. 

Student employment positions will conclude at the end of the academic year, or semester if applicable. Students continuing on throughout the summer must complete a new SEAR Form. Students have the right to leave their job(s) at any time throughout the academic year. If the student wishes to resign, it is best practice to provide the supervisor with a two-week notice and submit a termination change on their SEAR form to Human Resources.