Staff Handbook: Employment Status for Staff Positions

Employment Status

Employment status describes the types of staff employment at the University. Each staff position is described by one of the following:

  • Exempt or nonexempt employment status
  • Full-time or part-time employment status
  • Less than 12-month appointment
  • Nine-month and 10-month full-time status
  • Regular or temporary employment status

It is very important that you know your employment status since it affects eligibility for certain benefit plans and other programs. If you are unsure of your status, you should check with your departmental administrator or contact the Office of Human Resources. Employment status can also be affected by hire date, provisional period of employment, transfer or reassignment, separation from employment, termination date, and rehire date, if applicable.

Exempt or Non-Exempt Employment Status

You are classified as either exempt or non-exempt based on guidelines established by federal law. The Office of Human Resources is responsible for classifying positions using these guidelines.

  • Exempt—Exempt employment status includes most of those working as executives, administrators, managers, professional staff, technical staff, sales representatives, officers, directors, and others whose duties and responsibilities allow them to be classified as being exempt from overtime pay provisions as provided by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and any applicable state laws. If you are an exempt staff member, you are excluded from the compensatory and overtime pay provisions of the FLSA and may be required to work beyond your normal work week without compensatory time off or additional payment.
  • Non-Exempt—According to the FLSA, if you are a non-exempt staff member, you must be paid in the next appropriate payroll cycle at the rate of one-and-one-half times your regular hourly rate for all hours worked beyond 40 hours in a given work week. All overtime work for non-exempt staff members must be approved in advance by your supervisor. Compensatory time, as opposed to pay, is only acceptable for those hours between 37.5 and 40.

Full-Time or Part-Time Employment Status

Full-time or part-time employment status is determined by the total number of hours you are assigned to work during the work week.

  • Full-time—Full-time staff members are scheduled to work 37.5 hours per work week, including time granted for holidays, recess days, vacation days, personal days, sick time, and earned compensatory time taken.
  • Part-time—Part-time staff members are scheduled to work less than 37.5 hours per work week, except when assigned by the department to work additional hours.

Less Than 12-Month Appointment

Except as otherwise stated herein, all personnel policies and procedures issued by the University are applicable to less than 12-month staff appointments. In an effort to provide greater utilization of staff members consistent with the operational requirements of the individual units of the University, staff appointments of eight, nine, and 10 months are available as an alternative to regular 12-month employment. Heads of responsibility centers will designate those positions of less than 12 months at the time a recruitment request is processed. Staff members appointed to these positions will be regular full-time or regular part-time, consistent with the length of their appointment and percent of effort. Any appointment of less than eight months would result in temporary full-time or temporary part-time status and would require a review by the Recruiting and Client Services Department of the Office of Human Resources.

Nine-Month and 10-Month Full-Time Status

Nine-month and 10-month full-time regular staff positions include a two- or three-month period of non-employment at any time during July 1 through June 30. These positions include modified benefits eligibility and conditions of employment. Except as otherwise stated, all University policies and procedures apply to nine-month and 10-month full-time staff status. For further information, review ER 10 Nine-Month and Ten-Month Full-Time Staff Status (formerly 07-03-04).

Regular Employment Status

Regular staff positions are those positions that are essential for the effective long-term operation of the department. Regular part-time and regular full-time staff members are required to work a predetermined schedule of hours and days. After you satisfactorily complete the provisional period of employment associated with an initial appointment to a regular position, you are entitled to the privileges and benefits associated with regular status employment. After completing twice the length of the provisional period of employment, you are eligible to apply for a transfer to another University position in another department.

Temporary Employment Status

Temporary staff positions are those positions that are limited in duration and/or sporadic in nature. These positions are generally for a specific project; for temporary replacement of an absent regular staff member, including illness, leave of absence or vacancy; and for short-term needs during seasonal and/or peak workloads.

Temporary staff employees are not eligible for vacation days, personal days, sick days or other leaves; are not eligible for holiday pay if required to work on a University designated holiday; are not eligible to use the Formal Complaint Procedure; and are not covered by benefit insurances, other benefit programs and services, and the University’s Retirement Program.

Temporary staff are covered by Social Security and other statutory programs. Temporary staff are eligible to make an unmatched, tax-deferred contribution to TIAA and/or The Vanguard Group up to the extent permitted by the IRS regulations.

Temporary positions may be either full- or part-time. The following outlines the two categories of temporary employees at the University of Pittsburgh:

Pittsburgh Campus Temporary Assignments

Alternative Temporary Staffing (All-Temps) is a service provided by the Office of Human Resources exclusively for use by University departments and schools at the Pittsburgh campus. All-Temps provides temporary, non-faculty staff—professional, administrative, and custodial—to fill short-term or sporadic staffing needs.

All-Temps employees are not guaranteed regular employment status; however, they may apply for any regular positions available at the University of Pittsburgh.

For more information please call All-Temps at 412-624-7000.

Regional Campus Temporary Assignments

Regional Campus temporary employees are recruited and administered through each respective Regional Office of Human Resources. Regional Campus temporary assignments are determined by the nature of the assignment and expected duration. Positions that have a predetermined full-time or part-time schedule and are continuous in nature are generally short-term assignments, i.e., no longer than six months. Departments may submit legitimate requests for an assignment that they anticipate to be longer than six months as long as the appropriate justification is provided.

Regional Campus temporary staff are not guaranteed regular employment status; however, they may apply for any regular positions available at the University of Pittsburgh.

All-Temps

The Alternative Temporary Staffing Division (All-Temps) is a service provided by the Office of Human Resources exclusively for use by University departments and schools. The purpose of All-Temps is to provide personnel, both professional and clerical, to fill the short-term needs of departments and schools. All-Temps also provides backup when regular staff members are on vacation or leave, and extra assistance during peak workload periods or for special projects. All temporary assignments must be coordinated through the Office of Human Resources. For more information please call All-Temps at 412-624-7000.

Hire Date

For regular full-time and regular part-time staff members, the official University hire date corresponds to the first working day at the University in a regular staff position. This date, used to calculate your length of service at the University, determines your eligibility for participation in certain benefit programs. If you transfer or are promoted, you retain your initial hire date, but must serve a new provisional period for each subsequent position held. A new hire date will be assigned when you have a change in status from student to staff, temporary staff to regular staff, and UPMC staff to University of Pittsburgh staff status. The University follows the guidelines established by the Office of Veterans’ Re-employment Rights concerning returning service veterans and the retention of the initial official University hire date.

Provisional Period of Employment

When you are hired, transferred to a different position, promoted, or demoted, you are subject to a provisional period of employment. For both full-time regular and part-time regular staff members, the provisional period normally lasts three calendar months for administrative or technical positions, and six calendar months for professional positions. Your provisional length is indicated in your hire letter. 

The provisional period gives you time to learn and adjust to your new position and allows your supervisor time to evaluate your suitability for the position. This is accomplished by conducting a performance review at the midpoint and evaluation at the close of the provisional period. If additional time is necessary to assess performance, your supervisor may request an extension of the provisional period. This request must be submitted to the Office of Human Resources, Employee and Labor Relations, prior to the conclusion of the provisional period. If your supervisor determines that you are not suited for the position, employment termination may occur at any time during the provisional period, subject to a review of all relevant documentation by Employee and Labor Relations. If you are dismissed during your initial provisional period or have your provisional period extended, you will not be eligible to use the Informal or Formal Complaint Procedure.

Before applying to another position, you must complete time in your position which is twice your provisional period. A waiver of the provisional period requirement may be considered by the Office of Human Resources, Employee and Labor Relations, in limited, exceptional circumstances as outlined:

  • The first exceptional circumstance when a waiver may occur is due to a position elimination (regardless of funding source) that occurs during the provisional period. This exception only applies to the eliminated position.
  • The second exceptional circumstance may occur as a result of an accommodation approved through the Disability Resources and Services (DRS) department.
  • The third exceptional circumstance may occur when a position transfer is recommended by the Office for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (OEDI) as an outcome to an investigation of a formal complaint filed through OEDI.

Waivers within the provisional period will not be considered for any other reasons.

With the exception of a position elimination addressed above, if you are separated from the University and are eligible for rehire prior to completing twice the provisional period, you will not be considered for rehire until that timeframe has been satisfied.

New, transferred, promoted, or demoted staff members accrue vacation time, sick time, and personal time during the provisional period as outlined in the Paid and Unpaid Time Off section of the Staff Handbook. However, any time off must be approved by your supervisor.

Transfer

The University will attempt to satisfy the personal and professional interests of staff members who request job transfers, consistent with the University’s needs. For the University to be successful in achieving its mission, it needs a reasonably stable workforce. You cannot seek another University position in another department until you complete a period of employment in a new position that is twice the length of the provisional period for this position.

Furthermore, if you voluntarily resign from the University of Pittsburgh prior to the “twice the provisional period” requirement, you will not be offered another position at the University until after the date that you would have been eligible to transfer had you remained in your prior position.

If you are transferring to another position, it is your responsibility to give written notice of your acceptance of the job offer to your current departmental administrator. Administrative and technical staff members should give written notice at least 10 working days prior to the last day of work in the current department, and professional staff members should give at least 20 working days’ notice. It is the responsibility of the departmental administrator to send your departmental personnel file, including your updated summarized Staff Time Record form, to your new department. Upon transferring to a different position at the University, you are subject to a new provisional period. However, you remain eligible to use the education benefits and the complaint procedure during this period, and all accumulated benefits continue to accrue without interruption.

Before an offer of employment for a transfer can be made, it is necessary to have a reference from a supervisor—preferably your immediate supervisor - in your current University department who is reasonably familiar with your work performance.

Reassignment

There may be occasions when an administrative assessment must be made of the overall strengths and contributions of individuals in a given department. In cases where you may better serve the organizational objectives or requirements in another capacity, you may be reassigned, voluntarily or involuntarily, to new or different duties within the department or the University. Because a reassignment may affect classification and compensation policies, such transfers must have the prior written approval of the Office of Human Resources. You will be expected to meet the standards for the new or different position, and may be subject to a provisional period associated with the reassignment.

Reemployment After Separation From the University

This Policy shall apply to the following, and only the following, former University of Pittsburgh regular (full, and part-time) staff employees (hereinafter “Covered Employees”): (1) those who have been separated involuntarily from the University due to position elimination; and (2) those who have been separated involuntarily from the University due to inability to return to work while on approved disability leave. Covered Employees will be eligible to return to University employment without loss of credit for prior years of active service solely for purposes of the following: vacation accrual rate; Defined Contribution Retirement Plan vesting; disability benefits eligibility; and FMLA eligibility. Covered Employees shall be eligible to retain this service credit for a period up to and not to exceed 365 calendar days (including weekends and holidays) after: (1) the effective date of their employment termination from the University (in cases of position elimination); or (2) the date upon which they have been medically released to return to work (in cases of separation due to inability to return to work while on approved disability leave).

  • Employees that meet the definition of Covered Employees above shall also be eligible to retain service time from employment prior to the break in service for the 85 point calculation used to determine Retiree Benefit Eligibility.
  • Former employees who do not meet the definition of Covered Employees shall not be eligible for any credit for prior years of service should they become reemployed by the University.
  • Sick Days, eligibility for Pre-September 1994 Tuition Reimbursement, and Pre-July 2004 Retiree Medical Benefits will not be carried forward regardless of whether an employee is an eligible Covered Employee as described above.
  • Any benefits not expressly addressed in this Policy shall be in accordance with those provided to newly hired employees.
  • Process: A request to reinstate vacation accruals, Defined Contribution Retirement Plan vesting, disability, and FMLA eligibility must be processed by the University of Pittsburgh’s Benefits Department in writing within 30 days of new regular employment at the University. The benefits of this Reemployment Policy will only be recognized with a written Authorization from the University’s Benefits Department.

Separation—Voluntary

If you are planning to voluntarily separate from the University, submit a written notice to your immediate supervisor. Administrative and technical staff members should give written notice at least 10 working days prior to the last active working day, and professional staff should give at least 20 working days’ notice. Include in the written notice: (1) reason for separation, (2) date of last active working day, and (3) amount of any accrued vacation and/or compensatory time. Complete a Separation Report with the departmental administrator. This report facilitates the return of University property, aids in the compilation of management information, and assists in the proper response to unemployment compensation claims and other post-employment inquiries. Failure to comply with these procedures may result in the loss of certain benefits and eligibility for re-employment.

Separation—Involuntary

You are considered to be discharged or involuntarily separated if your position is eliminated because of any of the following:

  • Lack of funding
  • Departmental reorganization
  • Changes in the department’s objectives or requirements
  • Disciplinary reasons or misconduct
  • Unsatisfactory performance
  • Any other reason permitted by law

If a department or school believes that an involuntary separation is necessary, the departmental administrator must immediately contact the Office of Human Resources prior to formally notifying the staff member. After receiving notification of a discharge or layoff, the staff member may contact the Office of Human Resources to discuss employment alternatives. Depending on skills, experience, the requirements of the University, and the reasons for the involuntary separation, the Office of Human Resources may provide reasonable assistance in helping the staff member find another job within the University. All staff members involuntarily separated may apply for Unemployment Compensation by contacting the Pennsylvania Office of Employment Security.

Termination Date

The official termination date is your last active working day. The last active working day and the last day for which you are paid may not necessarily be the same. This situation occurs when you terminate on the last working day of the month, but the month ends on a weekend. Unused vacation days and/or unpaid compensatory time are not used to extend employment dates. When the two dates are not the same, the last active working day is the date used for calculating the cancellation date of benefits.

You will be paid for unused earned vacation days and unpaid compensatory time, but will not be paid for unused personal holidays. If you terminate before a holiday, you do not get paid for that holiday. In the event of termination, you may be eligible to receive payment for unused sick days if certain age and service criteria are fulfilled (review the Payment of Accrued but Unused Sick Time section). In addition, deductions may be taken from your final paycheck to clear any debts owed the University. For employees paid monthly, payment for any unused accrued vacation time or eligible unused sick time will be payable in your final paycheck if your last day worked was on or before the 15th of the month. If your last day worked was after the 15th of the month, the eligible unused days will be payable in a separate check processed in the subsequent pay period. For employees paid biweekly, payment for any unused accrued vacation time or eligible unused sick time will be payable in your final regular paycheck.