Project Assistants are paid for actual hours worked, and they submit a timesheet for each pay period. In terms of payroll, they resemble student hourly employees.

Teaching and Research Assistants work approximate hours, more like salaried employees such as faculty and academic staff. Due to the nature of their responsibilities, both the employer and employee recognize that some weeks might require more or less work than others. New assistants also might take more time to complete their responsibilities than more experienced ones. As a result, workload for TAs and RAs is not precisely reducibly to a standard number of hours, but rather to a level regarded as reasonable for most assistants.

Over the course of an academic year semester, the workload of a Teaching Assistant ordinarily requires between 360–380 hours per semester for a 50 percent academic year pay basis appointment, or 240–254 hours per semester for a 33 percent academic year pay basis appointment. A proportional number of hours will be calculated for other durations or appointment percentages.

Because all assistants are employees in training, those who find that their workload consistently exceeds their level of appointment should consult their supervisors about their responsibilities, time management, prioritizing, and efficiency. These are skills that everyone develops over time. For example, it can take several semesters for a new teaching assistant to learn how to prepare classes expediently, or grade assignments efficiently.

See additional considerations related to workload in separate sections for Teaching Assistants and Research Assistants.