COVID-19 Work-Study/Student Worker Supervisor FAQ

Guidance for Supervisors

COVID-19 presents Penn with an unprecedented situation, and the University is doing everything in its power to continue supporting students whose semesters have been severely disrupted. This is especially critical for students who rely on student employment for income throughout the semester.

The federal government gives universities the option to continue paying students their work-study wages during disruptions caused by COVID-19, and Penn has extended that guidance to cover all student workers (undergraduate, graduate, and professional students with non-work-study jobs) outside of the work-study program as well.

This FAQ provides additional guidance for supervisors of existing work-study students and student workers on how to navigate the remainder of the semester.

The University strongly encourages supervisors to identify opportunities for students to continue conducting work for their office remotely, if feasible and appropriate. Remote duties might not be equivalent to the duties the student would otherwise perform in person, and might not occur during regular business hours, as students will be attending classes virtually from different time zones. Please be flexible in designing a plan for your student, and keep in mind that many students are experiencing significant disruptions and may require additional time to adjust to remote learning and working. 

If the student cannot perform any of their regular duties and there are no alternative duties the student can complete remotely, the University’s guidance is that they should continue to be paid for their regularly scheduled hours for the remainder of the semester. This is aligned with the University’s approach to full-time, part-time, and temporary staff and faculty during this period of time.

If your student is able to continue working on your project remotely, you can continue to process their payment as usual in Workday. If your student cannot work on your project remotely, you may need to adjust your funding source (depending on future guidance from funding agencies). In either case, you and your student should continue to submit and approve hours as usual in Workday for the remainder of the semester. If the funding source needs to be adjusted later, payroll reallocations can be made at such time.

If your student is scheduled for the same number of hours each work week during normal University operations, they should continue to submit those same hours in Workday, even if they will be working in a different time zone or working an adjusted schedule. If their scheduled hours in your office vary from week to week, speak to your student about submitting an average number of hours each week for approval.

You should continue to review and approve your student’s hours in Workday each week, as you normally would. When approving hours that students have not actually worked, supervisors should include a note in Workday indicating that “The student is continuing to be paid as a result of campus disruption caused by COVID-19.”

The academic year work-study program officially ends on May 17, 2020.