Work and Travel



The below information is typical of U.S. employers and may apply to your job placement; however, you should consult the materials you received regarding the specific information about your job placement.

Drug Screening

Your employer may require you to complete an employment application and a drug test before starting your employment. This information will be disclosed to you on your Work Agreement. If you fail the drug test, you will not be hired and GEC will not be able to place you in new employment but will allow you a 30 day travel period. At the conclusion of the 30 day travel period, you will be required to return to your home country.

Please note that your employer may conduct random drug tests throughout your employment. If you fail a test at any point during your employment, you will be fired from your job and will be required to return to your home country at the conclusion of a 30 day travel period. GEC is not responsible for any fees that you incur due to leaving the U.S. early.


Your employer will set your work schedule, and you are expected to comply with that schedule. Requesting time off or not showing up to work creates a hardship for your employer and fellow employees who are counting on you to be at work according to your schedule.

Many employers have attendance policies, and these will be discussed with you at the beginning of your employment.

If you know in advance that you cannot work on a day that you are scheduled, it is your responsibility to notify your supervisor as early as possible (preferably no less than 24 hours before you are scheduled.) In any situation, circumstances may come up that require you to request an immediate change in your schedule. If that happens, contact your supervisor immediately.

It is frowned upon in the U.S. to not show up at work without calling your supervisor. It is also not acceptable for you to ask your friends to convey a message to the supervisor. Also, please remember that a request for time off may not be able to be granted. Repeated absences (or tardiness) can be cause for dismissal from your job.

In addition, any second job that you have vetted and approved cannot interfere with the work schedule set by your primary employer.


Schedules can be set any day of the week that the employer is open and can be for morning, afternoon and evening shifts. This information is disclosed to you on the Work Agreement, and your signature on the Work Agreement indicates that you agree to the terms of the employment.

It is unreasonable to expect the employer to only schedule you Monday – Friday from 9:00 – 5:00 or just on weekends.

Please note that regulations prohibit J-1 students from working schedules that are predominately from 10:00 pm – 6:00 am.

The J-1 Summer Work Travel program is not a work program. Working multiple jobs does not fulfill the purpose of the program for which you came to the U.S. to participate.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Workers’ compensation is insurance that provides cash benefits and/or medical care for workers who are injured or become ill as a direct result of their job. Employers pay for this insurance and shall not require the employee to contribute to the cost of the compensation. If your employer is required by law to provide Workers’ Compensation insurance for you and you are injured on the job, do not file a claim with your J-1 insurance. Any benefits should be paid from your employer’s Workers’ Compensation policy.

Some placements in the U.S. are exempt from providing Workers’ Compensation, and GEC only approves employers that can provide verification and confirmation of their Workers’ Compensation or proof of the exemption.

More information about Workers’ Compensation laws in the state where you are working can be found on the state resource link found on the GEC website.