Affordable Care Act Affects USF Student Employment

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University officials announced last week that students are no longer allowed to have more than one on-campus job: a result of new regulations under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Students have expressed concern that compensation from one job will not be sufficient.

The purpose of the ACA, or, “Obamacare,” is to “reform the healthcare system by providing more Americans with affordable quality health insurance and by curbing the growth in healthcare spending in the U.S.,” according to obamacarefacs.com.

This affects student employment because the federal government needs to determine which employees are eligible for health care coverage. In order for the government to determine this, it now will be able to request employees’ hours from any employment institution, USF included.

According to Section 1513 of the Affordable Care Act, the U.S. Secretary of Labor will impose “regulations, rules, and guidance as may be necessary to determine the hours of service of an employee.” Student employees such as Resident Assistants (RA) have not been required to track their hours in the past because their compensation (room and board) is similar to a stipend and is not considered hourly pay. But new provisions state that the rules also apply to “employees who are not compensated on an hourly basis.”

The office of student employment allows students to work 20 hours per week while school is in session, but since RA hours were not being tracked, many were able to hold a second on-campus job. This will no longer be allowed as of the 2014-2015 academic year.

Many RAs work both as an RA and a Community Assistant (CA), such as junior nursing major Allison Smith. Smith said she was initially furious, but after looking at how many hours she spent working in the past two years, she realized, “I was actually a full time employee and a part time student, which is not the reason I am at USF.” She thinks the change will be difficult to adjust too, but concedes that it will be more beneficial down the road.

Although compensation for RAs is not technically considered hourly pay, they still have specific hourly commitments. They are required to be on duty for a certain number of hours, attend staff meetings, take an RA class, move in early, attend nearly three weeks of training before school, come back early for intercession, organize a number of floor meetings and programs, as well as be in the building a fair amount so they’re accessible to residents, said Fromm CA Taylor Jackson, who thinks RAs work far more than 20 hours a week.

The office of student employment intends to reexamine responsibilities of student employees so that they feel more at ease. Junior nursing major Angelo Aglipay also works both as an RA and a CA, which was always convenient, he said. “At first this change made me frustrated, but I think that in the long run it will be more beneficial for me,” he said. As to why, he added, “this change will get me out of comfort zone in the USF bubble, and that’s something I really need.”

Correction to Affordable Care Act affects USF Student Employment

The statement “University officials announced last week that students are no longer allowed to have more than one on-campus job: a result of new regulations under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).” was not accurate.  The Affordable Care Act does not prohibit students from working more than one on-campus job and there is no new university policy that prevents students from having more than one on-campus job.  The statement that students would no longer be allowed to have more than one on-campus job was a misinterpretation of an announcement that the department of Student Housing and Residential Education (SHaRE) made specifically to students that it employs as resident advisors and does not apply to all student employees at USF. The University’s student employment policy has always limited undergraduate student employee work hours to a maximum of 20 hours per week. Historically the hours worked by resident advisors have not been formally tracked.  To comply with the ACA, in academic year 2014-2015 SHaRE will be required to track the hours worked by RA’s and ensure that they do not exceed a weekly average of 20 hours per week when school is in session.  Given this reality, SHaRE has slightly restructured the role and requirements for the RA position for academic year 2014-2015 so that it averages 20-hours of work per week.  Because student employees can not work more than 20-hours per week in on-campus jobs this means that students hired as residence advisors will not be able to work a second on-campus job while employed in the role of RA.

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