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Cornell University

David M. Einhorn Center for
Community Engagement

An integration of the Public Service Center and
the Office of Engagement Initiatives

Payroll Instructions and Policies

How to Record Hours

Submitting and Approving Hours

  • Students must submit their WorkDay timesheets by noon every other Wednesday, with supervisors approving the timesheet by the end of that Wednesday. (If the student plans to work that Wednesday between noon and 11:59 p.m., the student may enter the hours, and the supervisor can change or approve them.) Note: Students need to click "submit" on their timesheets only once per pay period; if they click "submit" more often, their supervisors will receive unnecessary email alerts.
  • Once a supervisor approves a timesheet in WorkDay, they are certifying that the hours entered are correct and were worked. It is the agency's responsibility to contact CWSP if the student does not record their hours or if the student is no longer working.
  • Students cannot add hours from a previous pay period to a current pay period.
  • If a student forgets to enter hours worked into a previous pay period, they may submit 'retro hours' by going back and entering the time blocks into the corresponding pay period. These hours must be submitted immediately and must be approved by the supervisor in WorkDay. The student will be able to access past pay periods until payroll processing is complete (usually the Monday or Tuesday following the end of the pay period).
  • FWS regulations forbid students from recording work hours when they are registered to be in class or lab.


  • Although there is no prohibition on paying overtime in the FWS program, FWS is designed to provide part-time employment, and students should not often work in excess of 40 hours in a single week.
  • FWS student employees are paid overtime at a rate of one and a half times the regular rate of pay for work in excess of 40 hours in a standard work week. The standard work week begins Thursday at midnight and ends the following Wednesday at 11:59 p.m.
  • If your student employee works overtime, your agency will be billed for those overtime hours at the usual 10-25%, but the overtime rate of time-and-a-half will increase the billing. 
  • Many students have more than one appointment to the Cornell payroll, and combined hours from other departments can add up quickly. Be sure to ask any student you hire about any additional work study jobs they may have through Cornell that may be pulling from their FWS award. Overtime is always billed to the off campus employer.

Meal Periods

The following guidelines exist for student employee meal periods. Under New York State law the department must provide and the student employee must take a meal period as outlined under these guidelines:

  • Lunch Periods - Students are allowed at least 30 minutes for the noonday meal. The noonday meal period is recognized as extending from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. An employee who works a shift of more than six hours which extends over the noonday meal period is entitled to at least 30 minutes off within that period for the meal.
  • Other Meal Periods - Students employed for a period or shift starting before 11:00 a.m. and continuing later than 7:00 p.m. shall be allowed an additional meal period of at least 20 minutes between 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

If a particular work schedule is not covered in the above examples, then whenever a student works a shift of more than six hours, a minimum 30 minute meal period must be taken approximately mid-way between that start and end of that shift.

Direct Deposit

We encourage students to sign up for direct deposit to ensure timely delivery of paychecks. If students do not sign up for direct deposit, their paycheck will be mailed to their local address on file for them in Student Essentials.

W4 Tax Withholding - Taxes will be taken out

Student income is subject to tax withholding. You are responsible for completing required federal or state tax withholding forms through WorkDay. For instructions, read the PDF, How to Update Your Federal and State Withholding Allowances. If you need further information, read Tax Withholdings and Forms or contact the Payroll Office at 607-255-5194 or

Payroll Schedule

Student employees are paid biweekly. To view pay periods, visit Pay Calendars and scroll down to Nonexempt Biweekly Calendar.

How many hours may I work?

During the academic year employment term, Cornell strongly suggest that you work no more than 15-20 hours per week. You may work full time over breaks and the summer. Your supervisor must approve your request to work during a school break.

Viewing a Paycheck Online

In WorkDay, click "Pay," under "View," click "Pay Slips"

Access to the W2

In WorkDay, click "Pay, under my documents, select "Tax Documents," in the Lin "Tax Year" select "View/Print"

For additional resources, please refer to Cornell University Payroll.