Short-Term Casuals


Casual employees can be either Columbia University students or non-students. The information provided here is for non-Columbia University students. 

A short-term casual employee is an employee on the Columbia University payroll who is performing non-exempt work for a limited period of time. Please note: this excludes full-time and half-time Columbia University students (Columbia University, Barnard College and Teachers College). A short-term casual is generally hired for a special project or as a short-term replacement for a regular employee who is on vacation or a leave.

Casual employees:

  • are limited to 560-hours or 4 months, whichever comes first in a 12-month period from hire date
  • perform non-exempt work, and must fit into one of the 6 pre-defined job descriptions
  • can hold only one position at a time

Prior to hiring a casual employee, please review the Employment of Short-Term Casual Employees policy to determine if the hiring needs for your department fit the criteria and parameters of a casual employee.

Important Note: No one selected for a full-time instructional or research appointment may be given an offer, start to work, or be paid prior to receiving clearance (per Faculty H Handbook, Chapters 3 and 4).These individuals are not eligible for Casual employment:

  • Students holding an appointment as a student officer
  • Individuals who will be appointed as faculty, officers of research or officers of the libraries
  • Individuals doing research must be appointed as officers of research; use the Nomination Form

Once you have determined that hiring a casual employee is the right option for your department's needs, follow the steps listed below to place the individual on payroll.


  1. Review the short-term casual employee job descriptions to determine which description best describes the type of work the casual employee will be performing. Select the appropriate generic casual job description, or write your own.
  2. If a candidate has been selected, you may request a short-term casual waiver. See the Quick Guide for submitting a Short-Term Casual Waiver in JAC
  3. A department may post the casual position if they need to search for a candidate
  4. Complete a JAC short term casual job posting requisition
  5. Ensure applicant completes the following new hire forms:
  6. Process the new or rehired casual using the PAC template-based hire process. Do not use a paper PAF for short-term casual employment.
  7. Attach all of the following required documents to the PAC TBH and submit for approval:
    • Completed and signed tax forms
    • Signed JAC application
    • Casual NYS 195 and employment form

Managing Hours for Short-term Casual Employees

Pay Process

Short-term casual employees are required to keep track of time worked using the Bi-Weekly Casual Time Sheet. Completed timesheets must be collected and kept on file by the home department.

The FFE Time collection module is used to create payroll time entries for casual employees. For more information and instructions on using FFE please refer to the Payroll website.

Please note: All short-term casual employees must be paid based on the number of hours worked and an hourly rate.  Lump-sum payments are not allowed. 

Processing Final Payment

Short-term casual employees are limited to 560 hours or 4 months, whichever comes first, in a 12-month period. All non-student casual employees will be terminated automatically on the bi-weekly payroll date immediately following the employee reaching the 4-month/560-hour limit.

If a casual employee works past his or her termination date, the department must submit the request for final pay on a time entry form with a note that this is final pay for work completed from [relevant date] to [relevant date]. Only one final paycheck will be issued. The employee will remain terminated.

Frequently Asked Questions