With few exceptions, cooperative education is considered employment by relevant state and federal law. In addition, the cooperative education program is an integral part of the student’s degree program.
Therefore, student employees and their employers are, in general, subject to the laws, rights and limitations that apply to the employer-employee relationship. Few provisions in labor laws recognize a student working pursuant to a program of cooperative education; in most cases, labor laws treat the student as an employee. Thus, the Fair Labor Standards Act, age requirements for hazardous occupations, and occupational health and safety regulations will generally apply, as well as the taxation of earnings, and the requirement that employers withhold and pay the statutory amount for Social Security taxes (except with respect to F-1 and J-1 visa students).
Student employee wages are included in the payroll upon which the employer, unless self-insured, pays the required premium for workers’ compensation. In states where student-employees are covered by employment security laws, the employer may be required to contribute to the state employment security system.
Georgia State University student employees are covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. This law protects disabled student employees from discrimination in employment, hiring and transportation, and covers access to public facilities and services, and telecommunications. Employers are required to provide reasonable accommodation to all qualified student employees with known disabilities. Georgia State University does not condone or tolerate any discrimination toward student employees with disabilities.
Some employers may be exempt from the ADA requirements. For more specific information about the ADA, contact:
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
1801 L Street, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20507
800-669-4000 (voice) | 202-663-4900 (voice)
202-663-4494 (TTY for the 202 area code)
Student employees, including international students, are entitled to full protection of anti-discrimination laws and Georgia State does not condone or tolerate discrimination against student employees on the basis of race, color, religion, genetics, gender, age, national origin, veteran or disability status. The university may at its discretion terminate its relationship with any employer who engages in or persists in any harassing or discriminating practices toward student employees.
Georgia State University is committed to providing substantive, academically-focused experiences for our international students. It is our goal that all co-op students will be engaged in work that is directly related to the student’s major and career goals.
It will be the student’s responsibility to work with the International Student and Scholar Services office at Georgia State University to complete all work authorization paperwork in preparation for the co-op experience. Companies hiring F-1 Visa students will not have to handle this process. Students will bring all completed paperwork with them on their first day of work.