Graduate Teaching Assistants and the Affordable Care Act (ACA)
Issued February 9, 2016 Effective February 14, 2016
Table of Contents
To be hired as a graduate teaching assistant, the employee must be concurrently enrolled in the K-State Graduate School. The GTA must be enrolled in at least six semester credit hours at K-State during the academic year and at least three credit hours at K-State during the summer session. Concurrent enrollment is not required for employment during the summer session for those that were enrolled in at least six semester credit hours at K-State during the preceding spring semester.
At K-State, GTA employment is comparable to "adjunct faculty" as defined by the Affordable Care Act for the following reasons:
- GTAs are assigned and compensated for work associated with their status as graduate students and the degree they are seeking.
- GTA compensation is not based on actual time spent on work assigned to them, comparable to instructional responsibilities of adjuncts.
For these reasons, K-State has determined that percent/FTE of a GTA appointment will be used to determine ACA eligibility for GTA appointments.
Graduate Teaching Assistants may be appointed on a 0.5 FTE or below. This maximum of 0.5 FTE (20 hours reported for ACA purposes) may be reached via multiple GTA appointments with the combination of FTE no greater than 0.5. The GTA may also be on a student employee appointment with a limit of an additional ten hours worked per week.
The combination of all graduate and student employee appointments may not exceed the equivalent of .75 FTE which translates to 30 hours weekly.
GTAs' primary association with K-State is to progress and complete their degree program for their own educational benefit.Chapter 4720, Maximum Hours
Graduate Teaching Assistants are paid on a biweekly rate rather than an hourly rate. However, they are still subject to applicable minimum wage requirements and must be paid a biweekly rate that equates to an hourly rate that is no less than the applicable minimum wage, which is currently $7.25 per hour. The Council of Deans along with the Graduate School has established minimum compensation levels of $3,750 per academic semester for master's degree students on 0.5 FTE appointments and $4,250 per academic semester for doctoral students on 0.5 FTE appointments.
There is no maximum wage. Graduate Teaching Assistants are paid biweekly on the same pay schedule as all other University employees.
Departments and units at K-State are responsible for ensuring Graduate Teaching Assistants do not exceed the maximum number of work hours associated with the appointment FTE. Departments must also consider all active K-State appointments on all campuses and with all State of Kansas agencies.
To ensure compliance with K-State policies and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), non-exempt employees must accurately report actual hours worked. GTA positions are exempt positions and employees in those positions do not need to report time worked.
Graduate Teaching Assistants are limited to a total FTE of .75. The GTA must not work more than 30 hours per week in all concurrent positions.
Questions about this policy should be directed to Human Capital Services, Benefits (firstname.lastname@example.org) (785) 532-6277.