Supervisor FAQ: Student Employees, Remote Work, and Sick-Leave

Supervisors can find information below regarding the continuation of their students' employment with the university's move to online learning and suspension of many aspects of on-campus life. Please check back as information will be updated periodically and as it becomes available. If you have further questions, please direct them to the Office of Student Employment.


Last updated: April 28, 2020

San Francisco's Mayor, London Breed, signed a new San Francisco Public Health Emergency Leave Ordinance (PHELO) on April 17, 2020.

Effective April 17, 2020, San Francisco businesses with 500 or more employees, must provide up to 80 hours of paid Public Health Emergency Leave to each employee who performs work in San Francisco.  Employees may use this leave when they are unable to work (or telework) due to specified reasons related to COVID-19.  The leave is in effect during the local emergency period. Effective Oct. 20, 2020, SP PHELO hours have been extended through December 13, 2020. For more information, please review the official poster for eligibility information and qualifying eligibility reasons for taking this leave and the PHELO FAQ’s. 

Employees (including student employees) may use PHELO hours if they are unable to work or telework due to any of the following:

  • A local quarantine or isolation order related to the COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders. You may use PHELO leave if you are a member of a "vulnerable population" who is unable to work or telework due to additional restrictions set forth in government orders. Vulerable populations include people who are (1) 60 years old and older; (2) people with certain health conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, kidney disease, and weakened immune systems; and (3) people who are pregnant or were pregnant in the last two weeks. 
  • You have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine.
  • You are experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis.
  • You are caring for a Family Member who is subject to an order, has been advised, or is experiencing symptoms as described above.
  • The employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Local Health Officer, or under Section 5102(a)(6) of the Families First Coronavirus Act, by the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Part-time employees (including student employees) will receive hours equal to the average number of hours over a two-week period that the employee was scheduled over the previous six months, ending on February 25, 2020. Student employees do not need to exhaust their regular sick hours balance prior to using PHELO hours. PHELO hours can only be used for approved reasons (above) and are in effect only during the public health emergency, which has been extended through December 13, 2020. The total number of hours worked and of leave taken in a week may not exceed the average number of hours over a one-week period that the employee was scheduled over the previous six months.

Employees eligible for PHELO will have their beginning balance information loaded into USFWorks before the end of the April 16th pay period. For more information about this new leave, please contact,

For student employees whose work can be reviewed, tracked, and substantiated remotely, an exception to the Student Employment Policy will allow our student workers to telecommute to work during this period.

When determining if your student employee can complete their job duties remotely, please take into consideration the following:

Regardless of the student's job on- or off-campus, we are fostering professional development in all of our student employees. You should be available for your student worker via phone, email, Zoom, or Slack during their shifts. Likewise, your student worker should be available at all times during their shift: their work should continue throughout the entirety of their shifts, and should be monitored, and substantiated, by their supervisor.

One of the ways that offices are planning for remote work is the preparation of Google Sheets, on which an employee and their supervisor can collaborate on projects simultaneously, and a supervisor can review their employee's work and monitor their progress as it is completed.

If you are seeking to identify ways to engage students in valuable work opportunities, please consider how these examples of general functions, tasks, and projects might be applied in your area:

  • Data Entry
  • Remote customer service (call center, live chat, emails)
  • Data analysis (quantitative and/or qualitative)
  • Note-taking and transcription
  • Editing
  • Create email templates for common email inquiries/FAQ
  • Streamlining forms and documents
  • Documentation of processes
  • Creation of student employee training references/manuals
  • Organizing Google drives/folders/files
  • Website management (content, reorganization, design)
  • Graphic design
  • Photography and image research
  • Develop or improve social media presence and promotions (programs, departments, etc.)
  • Provide online/remote trainings or information sessions
  • Create online tutorials
  • Video production and editing 
  • Assistance with research

The online learning format also presents unique challenges and opportunities which can allow for student feedback, input, and innovation to thrive. As the Student Employment Office receives additional ideas and projects, we will communicate with supervisors and business officers in hopes that they will use these as a jumping point in creating their own departmental work projects. 

Student employment is a significant and critical source of professional and practical skill development, community engagement, and opportunity for service to USF and other, as well as financial support. Rather than diminish these opportunities, USF has chosen to ask departments and supervisors across campus to take on the challenge of ensuring these learning and development avenues continue during the remote period.

Federal Work-Study is a federal student aid award that helps fund the wages of an eligible student employee. Unlike other forms of financial aid, FWS awards do not directly apply to a student's owing balance--students earn their award through compensation for work performed. Furthermore, the FWS award is not a guaranteed sum of money: in order to receive the full amount of their FWS award, a student must work to earn wages totaling the award. The maximum amount of the award is not guaranteed, and students who do not earn the full amount of the award forfeit the difference. Departments campus-wide are working diligently to find and create opportunities for FWS-eligible students to continue earning toward their award.

The university compensates our employees (staff, faculty, and student) for work performed. Unfortunately, the university cannot pay an employee for work they have not completed. If possible, you might find tasks or projects for your student worker to complete that can be done remotely, even if the job assignment is only temporary--the students can resume their typical work responsibilities when the university resumes normal scheduling. 

Under PHELO, student employees who cannot work or telework can use PHELO leave for scheduled or unscheduled hours but should not exceed hours they would typically work in a one-week period.

Since classes continue to be held in an online format, the weekly hours maximum of 25 (for domestic students) or 20 (for international students) will remain in effect. Although students will not need to travel between physical buildings, we must ensure that their study time is protected and that their main focus remains academic.

Given the University's goal to provide remote work opportunities for all student workers who are depending on their paycheck, we are asking units to come together and pool resources for this effort. If your student employee wishes to work but you find that you are unable to provide remote opportunities, please send us an email and we will work to pair them with an appropriate project. 

Since you previously employed the student and have an established budget for student work, and assuming you approve of the estimated hourly pay for the new position, we would continue to use the USFWorks Legacy FOP the student was assigned to under your supervision. Our office would then transfer the student to the new supervisor in USFWorks so the remaining administration of time-sheets would be handled by the new supervisor.