UW mistakenly told employers to cut work-study hours. They haven’t issued a correction

Graphic by Candice Cheng

UW issued a work-study program application form for employers, indicating that this semester’s work-study hours would be reduced. 

But UW is now saying there will be no reduction in work-study hours this semester.

This year’s application form for employers, to enroll in the program, specified that students could not work more than eight hours per week. Imprint was made aware of the form when the newspaper received the notice to reduce its work-study hours from 12 hours per week to eight.

The university has now confirmed that the weekly hour limit was incorrect.

UW said that work-study is “going to adjust the job request information to add more clarification.” 

Despite that, more than a week into the semester, no correction has been issued.

In previous years, work-study positions have never been dictated by a maximum number of hours that students could work. Work-study positions instead, come with a $2,000 funding cap (up from $1,500, when Ontario minimum wage was increased in 2014). 

The university initially denied that there had been any indication of a change to the number of hours students could work when questioned about the apparent reduction. 

When asked specifically about the form, which states, “Please estimate the number of hours per week required for this job (cannot exceed eight),” the university contradicted their own form, saying that, “employers and employees can choose when they work, so some weeks could have 12 [hours] and others could have none.” 

The work-study program functions by allowing students, who qualify for OSAP, to receive additional assistance by working at an on-campus job. UW employers can enroll in the program to receive 75 per cent of their employee’s wages, funded by the program. 

 The number of hours a student can work remains dependent on the hourly wage of their position. 

“The maximum amount of funding per student is $2,000, so a student making $18/hour will be working less than a student making $14/hour. This is dictated by the maximum amount that can be earned which is currently $2,000 per term,” the university said.

UW confirmed that the eight hour-per-week maximum, indicated on the form, is incorrect. 

From Spring 2019 until now, the maximum funded work-time students could put in was 122 hours per semester, at the minimum wage and 78 hours per semester, at the highest wage of $20 per hour. The university said that hasn’t changed.

The Maximum Number of Hours Per Term field hasn’t changed since Spring 2019 and UW said it will remain the same for Spring 2020.

The only explanation provided by the university for the mistake on the form was, “At minimum wage, a work-study employee could have an average of eight hours per week,” vaguely indicating that the form was meant to provide an average number of hours for students working at $14 per hour.

The maximum number of hours, funded by the university for minimum wage jobs, has been 12 hours per week, since Spring 2019.

Though the university stated that, “the information is being made clearer to prevent misunderstanding,” no clarification, regarding the issue, has been sent out to employers, and they have not been given any reason to check the form again until the next application period.


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