Doesn’t work for me: Student employee frustrated with weekly hour cap

I’ve been involved with Laramie County Community College for three years, both as a student and employee. With the skills I’ve developed through the media program at LCCC, I’m fortunate enough to say I’ve gotten a lot of work experience. I’ve done professional video and design work for a variety of clients around Cheyenne, but a lot of the media work I do is currently through LCCC’s payroll.

As grateful as I am for this opportunity, I’ve learned that I have a 20-hour cap to the amount of hours I’m allowed to work on any given week. Since I’m currently working as a student employee in four different areas, this limit can be a big concern, especially on certain weeks where my schedule is more packed.

“Why would you do all that on top of classes?” you may ask aloud as if I can hear it. Thankfully, I know exactly what you’re thinking and can answer it. Well, two reasons: Rent is expensive and I’m apparently a little masochistic.

Nonetheless, I feel that if I want to provide extra work for the college, I should be allowed to without this limit. I understand there can be budgetary issues with this, but honestly, how many community college students want to put themselves through this? I assure you, LCCC, not many.

According to the college’s Human Resources Benefits Specialist, Dorothy Moen, LCCC is held at a cap of 80 hours per month on a regular basis by the State’s benefit plan documents.

“The State of Wyoming benefit plans state that an employee who works over 80 hours a month on a regular basis (six months) is considered full time and eligible for benefits,” Moen said.

Moen said that if there is an LCCC employee determined eligible for benefits by the State standards, the college must make their benefits retroactive to the date they began working 80 hours a month.

Moen said the Affordable Care Act is a second federal law that LCCC must comply with, and that there are very costly fines to an employer for noncompliance.

“Positions are noted as full-time and part-time when they are created and benefits are based on the position, not the person,” Moen said. “We do not allow a part-time position to develop into a full-time position.”

It’s important for a part-time employee to not exceed 80 hours per month, not necessarily the 20 hours per week. The weekly 20-hour cap is put in place to ultimately prevent an employee to not exceed the 80 hours at the end of the month.

“On occasion an employee may exceed the 20-hour per week limit, and that is OK,” Moen said. “As long as it does not continue for an extended period of time. There are seasonal positions where this does happen, but the manager is very mindful of not allowing it to continue, as the position was created as a part-time position.”

When I clock in for LCCC, I have six different job listings I can clock in under. I mean, I get it, technically LCCC is the employer for all of these jobs. But I just hate that all of these different jobs are clumped together under a single hour limit.

If only there were a way for me to tell the state, “Hey, I don’t really care about benefits. Can I just work 40 hours and not get any of that? I just want the money.”

I suppose there’s not much I can do about it, so I’ll just sit here and be mad. That’s what I’m best at.

Ooh, maybe LCCC has a position for that.

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