Project Pay Policy

Last updated: 7/18/2014 (see bottom for details)

The following policy was issued on July 18, 2014

Applies to:

This policy applies to all university employees. 


Project pay is any type of employment in which an employee is paid a lump sum for work performed regardless of the number of hours worked. Michigan State University must follow this policy when using project pay to ensure compliance with state and federal laws governing payment of wages.

Policy Details:

Employing individuals on a project pay basis should be an infrequent occurrence. Project pay should only be used to pay for work that is to be performed over a limited period of time and involves completing a particular task. The following criteria must be met in order for an individual to receive project pay:

  1. The work to be performed is of a different capacity than the individual's regular employment.
  2. The work is occasional or sporadic, and must be performed within a certain period of time (i.e., start and end date).
  3. The employee freely and solely at his/her own option participates in the activity.
  4. Pay for the work is irrespective of the amount of time needed to complete the project. However, project pay must be paid in a lump sum amount that, when calculated as an hourly rate based on an estimate of the total hours needed to complete the task, results in an amount equal to or greater than the Michigan minimum hourly wage rate.
  5. Project pay must not be used to circumvent wage and hour reporting requirements, overtime pay, minimum wage requirements, or other state and federal laws.

Employees paid on a project pay basis must be paid no later than the established regularly recurring pay day following completion of the project. Waiting longer than the regularly recurring pay day to compensate the employee is strictly prohibited. Likewise, compiling multiple project payments owed to an employee for payment at a later date is impermissible.

Student employees paid on a project pay basis must not be allowed to exceed the total number of hours per week they are permitted to work. On-campus student employees who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents are limited to working a maximum of 29 hours per week on all jobs combined during the fall and spring semesters. International students are limited to working a maximum of 20 hours per week during the fall and spring semesters. Any student may work up to 40 hours per week during semester break, registration week, final exam week, and the summer session.


There are no exceptions to this policy.

Additional Resources/Contact Information:

For additional information or questions, please contact Human Resources at (517) 353-4434 (toll-free 800-353-4434) or email.


Issued: 07/18/2014