Policies & Contracts

203 - Temporary Employment

Subject: Temporary and Seasonal Employment

Section: U203

Date: August, 2018


This policy sets requirements for hiring and overseeing temporary or seasonal workers at the University. This policy covers the lifecycle of temporary employment at the University, including selecting or procuring temporary or seasonal employees, onboarding, monitoring hours, and termination procedures.

Who is Governed by this Policy

This policy applies to all temporary and seasonal staff employees and the units that hire them.

Policy Statement

A job is considered temporary if the position is expected to continue for less than 12 months. A job is considered seasonal if the position is for a temporary need that is defined by the time of year and service is not continuous. Temporary and seasonal employees are ineligible for paid time-off (e.g., holidays, personal holidays, or vacation) except for sick leave in accordance with Policy 512, and are ineligible for participation in the University's benefit plans. 

The HR Partner and/or Supervisor must conduct a search for a temporary or seasonal employee using the same procedure as stated in policy 202 Talent Acquisition and Appendix A to this policy. All temporary or seasonal employees of the University must clear a background check before they start work. Temporary workers employed by employment agencies must undergo a comparable background check conducted by the agency. The level of compensation for seasonal and temporary employees is determined solely by the local unit or division. HR – Compensation gathers external market data and reviews pay levels for benefits eligible staff only. 

A temporary or seasonal employee cannot work for the University for more than 1,000 hours within one year following their initial date of hire, excluding University of Chicago students.

Key Definitions

Term Definition
HR Partner Unit or divisional liaison who serves as the representative in all human resource activities; includes processing HR staff transactions in multiple systems (i.e. Workday and UChicago Jobs).
 Local Unit Campus department/division/unit.

 Seasonal Position A position that is for a temporary need that is defined by the time of year and service that is not continuous.
 Shared Services Office The centralized university body that processes transactions, reviews and verifies documentation, enforces policies and regulations, and ensures consistency and accuracy of processes.
 Supervisor Unit personnel who oversee and regulate employees in their performance of assigned or delegated tasks, as well as enforce compliance with policy.
 Temporary Position A position that is expected to continue for less than twelve months or 1,000 hours. Additional details surrounding work limits are determined by the job profile, as described on page 3, Job Profile table.

roles and responsibilities:

Governed Party Roles and Responsibilities

HR Partner

During the hiring process, the HR Partner must clearly define the position and the unit needs that the position will meet. HR Partners are responsible for all onboarding and off-boarding processes, including system access, revoke system access, and quick closure requests. HR Partners are responsible for monitoring hours of temporary employees for ERISA compliance purposes and either terminating or converting the temporary employee to a permanent position prior to the 1,000 hour time limit. HR Partners must also follow the appropriate process for posting a permanent position if that is the desired next step after temporary time has been exhausted.


Shared Services Office

The Shared Services Office is responsible for reviewing all hiring processes for temporary employment, including verifying documentation such as offer letters. If a temporary employee exceeds 1,000 hours, the Shared Services Office will add the employee to ERIP (Retirement Income Plan for Employees). 


The Supervisor is responsible for understanding the definitions of temporary and seasonal employment and ensuring the needs of the position match these definitions.

Related Information

Policy 204: Reference and Background Checks 

Policy 202: Talent Acquisition 

Temporary Employment Vendors

System Access Request

Quick Closure Request Procedure 

Policy 217: Job Descriptions 

Appendix: Procedural Information

There are two ways for a unit to hire a temporary or seasonal employee:

  1. Post the position.
  2. Engage the Managed Service Provider (MSP) to source a temporary worker.

Once a temporary employee has reached the designated time limit specific to the job profile, or the 1,000 hour limit, whichever comes first, the employee must be terminated and remain off payroll for 12 months. Seasonal employees may not be required to take a full 12 month break, however the 1,000 hour limit still applies. Temporary employees, seasonal employees, and HR Partners will receive notifications when a temporary or seasonal employee is nearing 1,000 hours of employment or the maximum allowable time in the job profile (whichever comes first). It is the HR Partner’s responsibility to either terminate employment of the temporary or seasonal employee or hire them into a benefits-eligible part time or full time position prior to the 1,000 or job profile hour limit. The HR Partner should also discuss the full or part time employment of a temporary or seasonal employee with the Supervisor. Any temporary or seasonal employee who reaches 1,000 hours will be enrolled in the University’s ERIP (Retirement Income Plan for Employees). The job profiles and time limits for temporary or seasonal positions are as follows:

Job Profile Number Name Description Job Profile Limit
400001 Temporary Office Support Performs general office duties (i.e. data entry, filing, answering telephones, and deliveries). This assignment cannot exceed six months or 1,000 hours.
400002 Temporary Technical Performs duties requiring special skills (i.e. mechanical, scientific, research, and information systems support). This assignment cannot exceed 12 months or 1,000 hours.
400004 Temporary Skilled Trades Performs skilled trade duties (i.e. carpentry, painting, electrical work, grounds maintenance, and engineering). This assignment cannot exceed 120 days.
400006 Temporary Professional Non-Exempt Performs executive, professional, or administrative duties as defined in the Fair Labor Standards Act. The incumbent must be paid hourly and needs to complete a timecard. This assignment cannot exceed 12 months or 1,000 hours.
400007 Temporary Teacher/ Instructor Performs teaching duties as defined in the Fair Labor Standards Act (i.e. teaching, instructing or lecturing in the activity of imparting knowledge). The incumbent must be paid on a monthly basis.

If a Local Unit wishes to engage a temporary or seasonal employee, they must do so through one of the following options:

  1. Hiring a temporary or seasonal employee directly or through posting

The Supervisor must notify their HR Partner of the need for a temporary or seasonal worker. The HR Partner and Supervisor must work together to determine the job description and duties of the temporary or seasonal worker. If the Supervisor or HR Partner have already identified a candidate for temporary employment, the HR Partner or Supervisor can proceed to the hiring process. The candidate must still pass a background check, to be completed prior to their start date.

If the Local Unit decides to post a temporary or seasonal position, the Supervisor and HR Partner must create a requisition and position to be posted on the University’s online employment system. The posting must be open to applicants for a minimum of seven days. The HR Partner and/or Supervisor must conduct a search for a temporary or seasonal employee using the same procedure as stated in policy 202 Talent Acquisition.

An HR Partner can hire a temporary or seasonal employee by following the appropriate process in the human resources systems to create a position and either hire or transfer the employee directly into the supervisory organization in which they will work. The Shared Services Office will review all temporary employment positions for the correct temporary job profile, current ERISA hour limits, termination reason of candidate (if previously terminated) and assignment limit. 

Temporary and seasonal employees must go through a standardized hiring process, including employment authorization and I-9 verification. HR Partners are required to upload offer letters within the human resources systems during the hire process. All units are subject to a $25 charge for identification cards for temporary and seasonal employees. The fee is paid by the department, not the employee, through a FAS account number. HR Partners can also utilize system access requests to set up access to core systems during onboarding.

A terminating temporary or seasonal employee is required to turn in all University property, including identification card, keys, uniforms, tools, parking permits, library books, electronic equipment, and electronically stored data on their last day of employment to their HR Partner or Supervisor. A terminating temporary or seasonal employee is required to make arrangements for clearing all of their University debts. It is the responsibility of the Local Unit (HR Partner or Supervisor) to take reasonable steps to inventory and remove (or request removal of) the terminated employee's access privileges to University, departmental, School, and other information systems containing personal or proprietary data in a timely manner. The “quick closure” process should only be used to immediately suspend employee access to systems in cases of involuntary termination. Information on how to submit a “quick closure” request or remove system access is included in related information.

If a temporary or seasonal employee’s assignment ends and the hiring Supervisor wants to fill the position permanently, the unit must follow the procedure as stated in policy 202 Talent Acquisition to fill a regular, benefits-eligible part-time or full-time position. This includes advertising the open position for at least seven calendar days through the online employment site. 

The pay rate of a temporary or seasonal employee may change upon being transferred or promoted into a regular benefits-eligible part-time or full-time position.

If a temporary or seasonal employee is hired into a regular benefits-eligible position, the service for ERIP enrollment eligibility purposes only, will be bridged to the date the temporary assignment began provided there has not been more than five years between the end date of the temporary assignment and the start of the benefits-eligible position.

  1. B. Through the Managed Service Provider (MSP):

As an alternative to hiring a temporary or seasonal employee, a Unit may contract with the Managed Service Provider for a temporary worker.  The Managed Service Provider can be found in the University’s web-based, electronic Purchase Order system, Buysite.

The Managed Service Provider has fixed markup rates for the temporary workers. The Managed Service Provider software tracks the temporary workers time weekly.  The Supervisor will approve the time cards weekly to authorize payment to the Managed Service Provider. The 1,000-hour time limit does not apply to temporary or seasonal employees sourced through the Managed Service Provider, as those persons are not University employees. Temporary workers sourced through The Managed Service Provider must have passed a background check conducted by the agency prior to working at the University. 

Key Contacts

Name Email Extension
Shared Services Office   2-5800
Center of Expertise - Talent and Rewards talentacquisition@uchicago.edu  
Center of Expertise - Procurement