2.1.1 Temporary Employees

Policy Section: Employment

Policy Number and Title: 2.1.1 Temporary Employees
Applicable to: All Temporary Employees
Effective Date: October 15, 2018

Responsible Executive: Lianne Sullivan-Crowley, Vice President for Human Resources

Responsible Office: Office of Human Resources
Contacts: hr@princeton.edu, 8-3300
Last Update: November 2013

Policy Description

Princeton University department managers may hire individuals on a short-term limited basis provided they have available funding. All temporary employees must be supervised by a regular-status University employee and paid in accordance with approved standard pay rates (refer to the Time Collection System or the HR salary structures).

Temporary employees must be hired either (1) by the University and paid on the biweekly payroll as casual hourlies or (2) through an agency that pays them directly.

  • Once hired, their employment cannot be switched between these two employment types, e.g., an individual cannot be first hired as a casual hourly and then subsequently hired through an agency, or vice versa, unless the employment assignment has ended and a new assignment begins after 180 days of termination.
  • Hiring managers should ask candidates whether they are currently or have recently been employed at Princeton by an agency. If so, the hiring manager should contact the Talent Acquisition Team at 8-3301 for assistance.

Individuals may not normally be hired as short term professional employees. These individuals may be hired either as casual hourlies or as agency temps and not as independent contractors unless they meet the criteria described in the University’s Independent Contractor Policy. For more information, contact the senior HR manager.

This Temporary Employee policy, including the posting requirement, does not apply to Princeton University undergraduate or graduate students.


Casual Hourly Employee

These individuals fill all temporary jobs and are paid on the University’s biweekly payroll through the Time Collection System.

Categories of Casual Hourly Employees
Individuals whose schedules:
  • vary day-to-day and/or
  • week-to-week and
  • who are not seasonal employees (see below)
Individuals whose schedules can be either full-time or part-time with variable or set hours, and who work for a specific period of time for:
  • a specific season, i.e., spring, summer, fall, or winter and
  • less than five months and
  • normally for less than a semester
Individuals who are engaged for the purpose of being called in to work at a moment’s notice to cover for someone. These situations must be approved by HR in advance and are viewed as extremely limited.
Individuals hired whose schedule does not fall into one of the above categories.

Roles & Responsibilities

Hiring Managers

When hiring casual hourly employees, hiring managers are responsible for:

  • Securing the necessary funding to pay for the salary and benefits, including the benefits rate, as applicable.
  • Determining the appropriate classification of the temporary employee and setting an appropriate pay rate.
  • Completing and submitting the appropriate form accurately and timely.
  • Ensuring the new or rehired employees come to HR within their first three days of employment to complete the new hire paperwork.
  • Informing them of appropriate policies and regulations.
  • Ensuring the employee’s time is accurately and timely reported and approved in the Time Collection System and by the payroll deadline.
  • If the job is included in the Background Check Program and/or requires a Post-Offer Pre-Employment Screening (POPES), ensuring they have been completed successfully. See below.
  • Because Princeton University is a federal contractor, department managers should post all casual hourly positions for three or more days’ duration on the New Jersey Career Connections website. As appropriate, managers may also post these positions in the Careers at Princeton System (CAPS). Contact the Talent Acquisition Team at 8-3301 for more information.

When hiring agency temporary employees, hiring managers are responsible for:

  • Securing the necessary funding to pay for the agency and/or related charges.
  • Selecting an agency under contract with the University and contacting it directly with the job specifications and applicable pay rate; reviewing and paying agency invoices in accordance with the University financial procedures.
  • Approving time sheets on a timely basis.
  • Arranging with HR for a temporary identification card, as needed
  • Arranging parking, as needed, with the Transportation and Parking Services department.
  • Arranging for systems access, as necessary; contact the Support and Operations Center at 8-3357.
Human Resources

For casual hourly employees, HR staff members are responsible for:

  • Reviewing forms and following up with departments or employees as needed.
  • Verifying employment eligibility, i.e., Form I-9; collecting new hire forms as applicable; conducting background checks, as applicable; and issuing temporary identification cards.
  • Monitoring eligibility for benefits and for contributions to the retirement plan.

For agency temporary employees, HR staff members are responsible for:

  • Assisting departments, ensuring that needs are met.
  • Working directly with the agencies to assist with special needs.
  • Collaborating with the Office of Finance and Treasury on contractual matters.
Procurement Services
The Procurement Services Office in the Office of Finance and Treasury negotiates contracts with external temporary employment agencies.
Temporary Employees
All temporary employees, regardless of whether they are a casual hourly or agency employee, are responsible for:
  • Completing the necessary paperwork to be employed and paid in a timely manner, including the Form I-9 within three business days of the first day of employment
  • Providing the information requested for references and/or background checks as applicable
  • Completing the POPES exam as applicable
  • Complying with all University policies and regulations


Completing Casual Hourly Forms
When department managers hire or rehire casual hourly employees, they are required to complete the Casual Hourly Form and record, as accurately as possible, the anticipated number of hours worked per week and a realistic termination date.
Managers can send HR a revised casual hourly form, as applicable, to update the termination dates if they change. Workflow notifications will be generated to confirm the transaction. Depending on the length of the work assignment, it may be more appropriate to hire the individual on a term. For more information contact the senior HR manager.
Casual hourly employees who have not been paid for four consecutive weeks or more will be terminated. On-call employees who have not been paid for three months or more will be terminated. HR will contact the department prior to transacting the termination.
Background Checks

Most temporary positions should have background checks, which are administered by HR confidentially to reduce risk to the campus community. An offer of employment is normally contingent upon successful completion of the background check. Refer to policy 2.2.14 Background Checks.

Some temporary positions, such as camp counselors, require background checks. Other temporary positions, such as but not limited to drivers of University vehicles or financial handlers, should undergo background checks. The department coordinates logistics through HR and pays for the background check. For more information about the program and/or to request a background check, contact the Talent Acquisition Team at 8-3301.
Post-Offer Pre-employment Physical Exams (POPES)
Temporary employees working 500 or more hours annually in a position identified as physically demanding must complete the POPES examination and be found capable to complete the hiring process, i.e., offer of employment is contingent upon successful completion of the POPES examination. For more information, contact the Talent Acquisition Team at 8-3301.
University Retirees

University retirees are eligible to enroll in retiree health insurance upon retirement. Due to prevailing complex benefit regulations, rehiring retirees as temporary workers must be done in accordance with the following rules in order to avoid adverse impact on their retiree health insurance:

  1. If not yet retired, plan for a phased retirement by reducing the work schedule immediately or over time, and/or negotiate a future retirement date.
  2. If hiring a retiree of Princeton University, the manager must contact HR Client Services and the retiree must meet with the Benefits Team prior to offering or accepting the position. Managers may not hire a retiree of Princeton University through a temporary agency.  
  3. Retirees who have not completed a successful background check within the past six months prior to being rehired may be required to undergo and complete one successfully, depending on the position.
  4. How to rehire University retirees depends exclusively on their anticipated work schedule. Most retirees are rehired into benefits-eligible or non-benefits eligible term positions. Refer to policy 2.2.13 Term Appointments for more detailed information. Because of the complexities associated with rehiring retirees, contact the senior HR manager for guidance.
Hiring Members of the Same Family
The employment within the same department normally is prohibited for individuals of the same family or for those who have a personal relationship, including temporary employees. For more information, refer to policy 2.1.1 Employment of Members of the Same Family or Household and 5.2.2 Nepotism and Personal Relationships in the Workplace.


Medical Plan Eligibility
Effective January 1, 2015, casual hourly temporary employees who qualify as full-time employees in accordance with the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) regulations may become eligible to enroll in a medical plan that meets the Minimum Essential Coverage of the PPACA.
Retirement Plan Eligibility
Federal law requires that an employee who has more than one year of service must be eligible to participate in the employer’s pension plan. A year of service is defined as a 12-month computation period in which 1,000 or more hours of service are completed. The 12-month computation period, i.e., anniversary year, is a one-year period beginning on the date employment commences. For example, the anniversary year for a casual hourly employee who was first hired on April 1, 2018, would be April 1, 2018, to March 31, 2019. This 12-month computation period is used to determine retirement plan eligibility.
Counting the Number of Hours Princeton University is required by federal regulation to determine whether any employee is eligible to receive contributions to the retirement plan. For casual hourly employees, the actual hours worked are counted through the Time Collection System.

Related Documents & Forms

Casual Hourly Form
Agency Temporary Employees
Sick Leave www.princeton.edu/hr/policies/leaves/3.1.6
Time Collection System


Update Log

October 9, 2105: Updated section on retirees

October 15, 2018: Updated sections on hiring retirees and casual hourly employees; eliminated hiring short-term professionals; related information


Office of Human Resources
(609) 258-3300