Special Consultant - Independent Contractor


Administration & Finance


Human Resources

Contact Information: 

Jeannette Peralta / Executive Director of Organizational Development for Human Resources / (415) 338-7187 / peralta@sfsu.edu

Effective Date: 

Monday, June 1, 1998

Revised Date: 

Sunday, August 1, 2004


CSU Technical Letter Special Consultant


To identify the employment type hired to perform personal services for the University not under a specific classification standard.


To identify the employment type hired to perform personal services for the University not under a specific classification standard.



The purpose of this Directive is to implement IRS, State and CSU policies and regulations concerning the methods for hiring and paying an individual for personal services:

  1. as an employee of SFSU by appointment to the Special Consultant or other appropriate CSU classification, or
  2. as an Independent Contractor by use of a Personal Services Contract.


These procedures apply to all individuals hired to perform personal services for the University including off-campus individuals, staff, faculty, administrators and students.


A Special Consultant is an individual hired as an employee of SFSU and appointed in the classification of Special Consultant to work under general direction to complete a professional assignment which requires the consultant's particular knowledge, ability or expertise. Individuals may be appointed to the Special Consultant classification when no other appropriate CSU classification is available but when the Campus exercises general direction over the performance of services and when the work is generally a regular part of University business. Total time base in all state and CSU employment can not exceed 125%. Payment is at a daily rate.

If a current employee (staff, faculty or student) is assigned a task or project outside the hours and scope of regular job duties either within the department/division or by another department/division, the employee must be assigned to a concurrent CSU classification or to the Special Consultant classification. If work to be performed is similar to the current classification and the current time base is full-time, the employee (if non exempt) must receive overtime or compensating time off (OT/CTO) in accordance with the Fair Labor Standards Act and applicable collective bargaining agreement. Departments may transfer appropriate funds to cover overtime expenses within or outside the department. OT/CTO is subject to taxes but is not subject to retirement deductions.

Special Consultants must be certified as eligible to work under the provisions of the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA); are covered by workers compensation and unemployment insurance through the University; accrue no benefits such as sick leave, vacation, health and dental benefits; and do not accumulate seniority status. Special Consultants participate in one of several University retirement plans and may be subject to Social Security and/or Medicare deductions.

An Independent Contractor who is not a current CSU or State employee; is engaged in a distinct occupation, profession, business or trade not regularly a part of University business; agrees to do a specific piece of work for an agreed upon fee; provides services to non University clients; supplies his/her own tools, materials and work space.

Independent Contractors are not eligible to participate directly or indirectly in SFSU benefit programs, and the University is not required to verify immigration status under IRCA provisions.

Existing state statutes confer State employee status, under certain circumstances and regardless of independent contractor status, to individuals in the following categories:

  • Artists, authors, and creators of copyrighted work;
  • Computer consultants and entertainers;
  • Unlicensed construction workers;
  • Homeworkers; and,
  • Employees from leasing or temporary service firms.



Special Consultant


Special Consultant Form