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 all 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.


Student Eligibility
International Students
Award Types
Obtaining a Job
Required Student Employment Paperwork
Off-Campus Jobs
Multiple Jobs
Hours Per Week
Rest & Meal Breaks
Paid Sick Time
Manual Timesheet Policy
Workplace Safety
Grievance/Complaint Procedures
Discipline and Termination
End of Position and/or Academic Year Process
Rules for Student Conduct

Student Eligibility

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.

International Students

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. 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

Award types

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/faculty member.
  • Grants: Students may be hired by individual faculty members for research based positions.
  • Department: On occasion students may be hired and funded directly from a department's operational budget. 


Student Employee

A student employee is an individual whose employment is incidental to the pursuit of full time undergraduate course of study at Whittier College. Individuals 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 non-profit community organization, will be classified as a student employee. Individuals 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 individual 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 and W-4 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 and W-4 with Human Resources. 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. An individual who is 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.

Obtaining a Job

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

  1. Attend the student employment job fair held in September or using the Handshake platform.
  2. Apply for a position by contacting the department directly for application process (i.e. submitting a resume, cover letter, and application)
  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 in person to Human Resources by the student.
  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. 

Required Student Employment Paperwork

All student employees are required to complete the following forms.

SEAR Form (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 Section II. A new SEAR Form is required for each academic year, each summer, and each new position and for position changes (i.e. allocation decrease/increase, employment status, etc.)

Form W-4

Students must complete a Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate, so that the appropriate taxes can be withheld from your paycheck. During the academic year, Federal Income Tax and State Income Tax deductions will be applied to your paycheck, if applicable. During the summer term, all taxes are subject to deduction from your paycheck 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 Form, must be completed by all student employees before they begin working, or no later than three days from the designated 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 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).

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 has received an authorization email from the Human Resources Office clearing the student to begin work.

Off-Campus Jobs

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. All off-campus jobs are non-profit organizations approved by Human Resources and Center for Career and Professional Development. Community organizations are present at the Student Employment Job Fair held in September. 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. 

Hours Per Week

Students may work a maximum of 20 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 20 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 five 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. 


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 VP of Finance Office. The Student Employee Wage Scale is subject to change at any time based on the financial needs of the institution and/or to comply with Federal/ State Minimum Wage Laws. Student employees are paid on an hourly rate based upon the student's years of student employment history. The Office of Human Resources will determine and set the student's pay rate at the time of processing paperwork. 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 should be picked up in the Business Office. Direct Deposit is not available.

Whittier College Campus

Year of Student Employment Hourly Rate 
Year 1 $11.00
Year 2 $11.10
Year 3 $11.20
Year 4 & Beyond $11.30
POET Intern Program $11.40

Whittier Law School

Career Development: $13.00
Alumni Relations: $13.00
Admissions Office: $13.00

All other departments and positions will follow the Wage Scale in effect:

Year of Student Employment Hourly Rate 
Year 1 $11.00
Year 2 $11.25
Year 3 $11.50

The minimum hourly rate of pay is aligned with California state minimum wage. Students may never be paid an hourly rate less than the state minimum ($11.00 per hour effective January 1, 2018). The Student Employee Wage Scale remains in effect each academic year and summer, unless otherwise determined by Human Resources Department and VP of Finance Office.

Summer positions at the main campus are set at an hourly rate equal to the California state minimum wage. All exception funded students working during the summer will be paid at the standard hourly rate, regardless of their hourly rate during the academic year.   


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.

Rest & Meal Breaks

Students are eligible for rest and meal breaks as follows: Student employees are eligible to 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. 

Paid Sick Time 

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. 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. Supervisors should inform their students of their position number to ensure students are entering time under the correct timesheet for each job. Students who fail to submit their timesheet by the deadline should immediately approach their supervisor for assistance, prior to the Payroll Office. Refer to the payroll schedule and web time entry guide under the Forms tab for additional information.  

Students may not “shuffle in” or include hours from a previous pay period into another 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 their submitted online timesheet and present to 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 and received to Human Resources by the deadline (24 hrs. after online timesheet submittal deadline). 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 for the remainder of the academic year and/or summer by the Human Resources office.

Workplace Safety

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.


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:

Discipline & Termination

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 iPods, dress code, etc.)
  • Poor performance/not completing tasks on time/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 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, 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. 

End of Position and/or Academic Year Process

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.

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.