Retroactive and Non-standard GA Appointments

Sent on behalf of Kent Holsinger, Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Dean of The Graduate School, and Alison Cutler, Labor Relations Associate, Labor and Employment Attorney, to Department Heads, Directors of Graduate Studies, and Department Graduate Admins


Dear Colleagues, 


With rare exceptions, during the academic year Graduate Assistants (“GAs”) are appointed either for Fall or Spring semester or for the entire academic year. Fall and academic year appointments begin on August 23, and Spring appointments begin on or about January 6. Many benefits provided to GAs as part of the collective bargaining agreement, including tuition waivers and insurance, are tied to these appointment dates.


As the Fall 2021 semester approaches, we write to remind you that GA appointments with either a retroactive date of hire or a retroactive increase in percentage of appointment are prohibited. Appointment start dates must reflect the date employees begin their work assignments, including training and orientation. However, non-standard appointment dates can impact GA benefits, such as resulting in the GA losing some or all of their tuition waiver and/or affecting their eligibility for insurance coverage. Appointments for less than one semester also require advance approval from the union.


If a department believes that a non-standard, including a retroactive, start date is necessary, it should contact The Graduate School prior to issuing an offer letter. Among other things, this will allow for The Graduate School to work with the department and the GA to review the implications of the proposed non-standard start date.


Please remember that once you have issued an offer letter and it has been accepted by the GA, the University is obligated to honor the offer under Article 6 (Appointment Security) of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with the Graduate Employee Union (GEU). Please also remember that GA assignments cannot exceed an average of twenty hours per week and that they not unreasonably exceed twenty hours in any given week (or the prorated hourly equivalent with a lower percentage appointment) under Article 10, (Workload) of the CBA.


Please contact us if you have further questions. 




Kent Holsinger

Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of Biology                     

Vice Provost for Graduate Education                                                   

   and Dean of The Graduate School                           

University of Connecticut                                                                                                                                              


Alison Cutler

Labor Relations Associate, Labor and Employment Attorney

Office of Faculty & Staff Labor Relations

University of Connecticut

9 Walters Avenue, Unit 5075

Storrs, Connecticut 06269-5075