Work-hour cap limits students

NIU should increase its hour cap from 20 hours per week for student-employees so students can earn living and tuition expenses easier.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was fully implemented in 2015, and as a result, all hours for part-time employees need to be logged to ensure part-time status. The act caps work at 30 hours per week nationally.

NIU’s cap is upheld while class is in session – including the summer semester so long as the student is enrolled in three or more credit hours. The hour cap for out-of-session, which includes winter and spring breaks or when a student is enrolled in less than three summer credits, is 25 hours.

Taylor Rosenberg, junior elementary education major, is the Director of Greek Affairs for the Student Association is a bartender at Molly’s Eatery and Drinkery, 1000 W. Lincoln Highway.

Rosenberg works 25 to 30 hours per week between the two jobs. She said she understood why 20 hours was NIU’s maximum per week and thinks it is in the student’s best interest academically, but wishes she had more hours to complete tasks that sometimes go unlogged at her campus job.

A student looking to work an extra 10 hours a week will have to look for a job off campus, resulting in the student having to dedicate additional time and resources to travel there.

Culver’s Manager Tim Newkirk said he is flexible with student scheduling, but typically students who work at Culver’s, 1262 W. Lincoln Highway, log 20 to 25 hours per week. Add that to the on-campus job, and the student is now working 40 to 50 hours a week.

Illinois State University has an hour cap of 28 hours per week yearlong, excluding international students who are limited to 20 hours per week. Western Illinois University and University of Illinois-Champaign have a 40-hour-per-week limit during breaks and the summer semester, while in-session student employees are “encouraged” to work less than 20 hours but cannot work more than 28 hours per week.

Eastern Illinois University, University of Illinois-Springfield and Southern Illinois University-Carbondale all have 37.5 hour caps per week during summer and out-of-session months.

Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville is the only Illinois public university with similar hour restrictions to NIU with 20 hours per week year-round.

If NIU goes over the hours allotted, it can receive ample fines. However, students are limited to the hours they can work, and as a result, have to look for work elsewhere.

We are asking to have an increase in hours, especially when school’s out-of-session.

NIU Human Resources was not available for comment.