Glossary of terms for hiring Student Assistants

On the Berkeley campus, common terms are frequently used with little to no explanation when hiring new employees, etc. Below is a list of some terms compiled by the BEST HR team to help departments understand exactly what the terms mean and what is required. 


In the scope of UC Berkeley Employment and Hiring - Onboarding is defined as the process in which a new employee will complete and submit their New Hire paperwork to UC Berkeley HR (a Docusign Packet including their personal information, emergency contacts, agreement with  personal identification details etc) and also provide their I-9 Work Authorization documents which usually comprise of their Citizenship, Residency and/or Visa documentation. 


Docusign is the eSignature service at UC Berkeley which enables campus to save time and costs through using electronic signatures in place of “wet signatures” using a paper process. In the context of Onboarding, a Docusign Packet is sent to New Hires to sign the CA State Oath of Allegiance, UC Patent Acknowledgement and provide their personal contact as well as emergency contact information. The Docusign packet may also request additional information regarding one’s Residency / Visa status and employment authorization documentation. The Docusign packet may also contain instructions and information on completing one’s I-9 Authorization through the UC Tracker I-9 system. 

I-9 Verification: 

Form I-9, formerly known as the Federal I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form, is used to verify the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States. It is important to know that failure to complete the I-9 may impact the timing of the new employee's first paycheck.

Tracker I-9 Complete System:

Tracker was implemented at all UC campuses as the new online tool to manage and increase compliance of the Federal I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Forms. The tool is used most significantly by the regional HR teams for onboarding new campus employees, though there are some instances where campus departments/units process I-9s. UC Berkeley no longer uses/processes any paper I-9s.

  • Who is not required to complete the I-9:
    • Anyone who is not being paid via UC/UCPath Payroll to conduct campus business

    • Anyone receiving a stipend paid via Accounts Payable (AP) would not be required to complete the I-9 though they would need to complete a W-9.

    • Any employee hired before Nov.6, 1986 who has not had a break in service within the University of California network

    • Titles of those not required to complete I-9s include: Visiting Scholars, Visiting Student Researchers, and Contingent Workers (CWRs)

  • New employees who are required to complete their I-9 Verification will receive an email notification from the Tracker I-9 system and their chosen Authorized Representative 

California State Oath of Allegiance: What is the University of California State Oath of Allegiance

The State Oath of Allegiance is an agreement between an employee and the State of California to support and defend the Constitution of the State of California and the principals, laws and policies outlined therein. It is a declaration of loyalty to the state and its laws. All employees hired by a California State Government agency must complete and sign the oath before or, on the new hires’ first day of employment. 

If a new hire does not sign the State Oath of Allegiance by their start date, the income they receive for the period in which they performed services for the university prior to signing the Oath is designated with a different Earnings Code and a Damage Payment forms process must be completed. 

Damage Payment:

According to the UCPath Center, a Damage Payment Release is defined in the following way “This release will be used at UC locations to sign off on an open claim with an employee, for monies owed to the employee, for services performed before the employee signed the State Oath of Allegiance.” According to UCOP, “ A damage payment constitutes settlement of a claim by an employee based upon services rendered.” (AM-P196-21). 

Earnings defined as Damage Payments are still paid out to the employee by the Payroll office but there are some restrictions on deductions or contributions. For example, contributions made to a UCRP plan during this period should be returned back to the employee if they are coded as a Damage Payment.

FLSA Compliance: Fair Labor Standards Act

In terms of Processing of new appointments in the campus HR system, UCPath Center - there can be delays which postpone the hiring process. In the context of Student Assistant hiring, students can hold multiple low FTE positions on campus and some can even be salaried such as the ASE/GSR positions for graduate students. 

To be compliant with FLSA, Pay Schedule (Biweekly or, Monthly) and FLSA Status (Exempt or, Non-Exempt) need to be the same for all positions held by an employee. 

For example: A Graduate student employed by a Campus Department as a Graduate Student Researcher and is in a salaried (monthly paid) position. They also pick up an Hourly position in another Campus Department as a Student Assistant. The GSR position is FLSA Exempt and MO (monthly paid) but the Student Assistant position is shorter in length and lower FTE than the GSR position. When confronted with a conflicting FLSA for multiple appointments, the HR Generalist will use the FLSA Determination Matrix to determine that the GSR position will be taking precedence over the SA position. This means the SA position must become Exempt and paid Monthly. 

Instances such as these can delay the hiring process. 

New Hire Template: 

In UCPath terminology, a hire template is essentially just an application of information that contains every detail of an employees’ hire record including their personal name, address, hourly wage or salary, Supervisor information and other details which will represent the employees Digital Employment File in the UCPath system.