Staff Handbook

Employment Status and Classification

STATUS CLASSIFICATIONS FOR STAFF POSITIONS

All staff employees are classified at the time of employment as: (1) provisional; (2) full-time regular; (3) half-time regular; (4) three-quarters' time regular; (5) part-time regular; (6) full-time temporary; and (7) part-time temporary. Each category of employment is entitled to different levels of benefits as explained in the university’s Employee Policy Manual & Handbook.

­ Provisional Employee: The first three calendar months of a non- exempt regular employee’s employment is considered a provisional period. ­ Full-Time Regular Employee: An employee who has an indefinite appointment and works at least 40 hours per week for generally twelve months per year. ­ Half-Time Regular Employee: An employee who has an indefinite appointment and works an average of 20 to 29 hours per week. ­ Three-Quarters' Time Regular Employee: An employee who has an indefinite appointment and works an average of 30 to 39 hours per week. ­ Part-Time Regular Employee: An employee who has an indefinite appointment and works an average of 19 hours or less per week. ­ Full-Time Temporary Employee: An employee who is employed for a specific period of time or for the duration of a project or activity. The employee does not have an indefinite appointment and works at least 40 hours per week.

­ Part-Time Temporary Employee: An employee who works an irregular schedule or varied hours for a specified period and does not meet the requirements established for a full-time temporary employee. The part-time temporary employee may be employed for: (1) three-quarters' time (30 to 39 hours per week); (2) half-time (20 to 29 hours per week); or less than half-time (19 hours per week or less).

EXEMPT OR NON-EXEMPT (FAIR LABOR STANDARDS ACT CLASSIFICATIONS)

Staff employees are classified as exempt or non-exempt according to the guidelines established by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The Office of Human Resources and Affirmative Action is responsible for classifying positions according to FLSA guidelines.

­ Non-exempt employee: An employee is considered non-exempt if he/she is subject to the time keeping and other wage and hour provisions of the FLSA. Non-exempt positions generally are those that support an exempt position and may be more routine and have less decision-making requirements than an exempt position.

SERVICE DATE (also referenced in Employee Policy Manual & Handbook)

An employee's service date is the date he/she was employed full-time by the University after which there has been no break in service by reason of termination of employment. This is the date upon which annual leave accruals are based.

PROVISIONAL PERIOD

All commitments of full-time employment in a non-exempt position, whether regular or temporary, are contingent upon satisfactory completion of a three-month provisional period. During this time, the employee has an opportunity to learn more his/her position and determine whether or not he/she is satisfied with the position. At the same time, the supervisor has an opportunity to determine whether the employee has the ability and desire to perform the job assignments.

Regular employees serving a provisional period are eligible for holidays falling within that period. The three-month provisional period should not be considered as an employment contract of three months. Termination is possible during the three-month period if it is warranted by a lack of adequate progress or for any other reason.

 

Provisional Period Evaluation

Since the provisional period serves as an orientation period, an exchange of information and performance feedback is expected to take place between the immediate supervisor and the employee throughout this period.

If, at any time during the provisional period, an employee is unhappy with the position or feels he/she cannot adjust properly to the work assignment, he/she may resign. Resignations must be submitted in writing to the President through the department head or supervisor. An informational copy of the resignation should be forwarded to the Office of Human Resources and Affirmative Action. Furthermore, at any time during this period, if it is determined that an employee is not suited for a particular position, the employee may be terminated at the option of the University. The recommendation for termination, including appropriate supporting documentation, must be made in writing by the immediate supervisor to the Director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action.

 

Extension of Provisional Period

Under special circumstances, and by mutual agreement, the provisional period may be extended for up to three additional months to allow the supervisor more time to evaluate the employee's work performance and the employee to improve his/her performance. The request for extension and reasons therefore must be submitted in writing by the immediate supervisor and agreed to by the Director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action and the employee.

Successful Completion of the Provisional Period

Upon successful completion of the provisional period, the President may offer, in writing, to the employee a continuation of his/her employment as a regular employee. The University may elect not to convert the provisional employee to regular status, thereby terminating the provisional employee's employment. The offer of continued employment as a full-time or regular employee is generally given to the provisional employee no later than the last day of the provisional period.

At the conclusion of the provisional period, employees are eligible for all benefits customarily related to their job classifications.

In no case should completion of the provisional period of employment be considered a guarantee that an employee is entitled to permanent employment.

Provisional Period for Promotions and Transfers

An employee who is promoted, transferred, or demoted to a new non-exempt position is also placed in a provisional period for three months. If he/she is unable to maintain sufficient performance in the new job, he/she may be returned to the previous position or an equivalent position, provided: (a) a vacancy exists, (b) the employee is qualified for the position, and (c) the supervisor in the receiving department is agreeable to the employee’s transfer into the vacant position.

JOB CHANGES

A university employee may move from one job to another through promotion (temporary or indefinite), transfer (temporary, indefinite, lateral or other voluntary), reassignment, detail, or demotion. If an employee is moving from one department to another, the two cost center heads/supervisors should agree on a mutually beneficial start date for the employee’s new assignment/appointment. All moves from one job to another within the section or department, or from one department to another, must be approved by the appropriate Executive Council member and reported to the Office of Human Resources and Affirmative Action.

Promotion

The University is committed to fostering the growth and development of its employees. One method of achieving this objective is through internal promotions. As such, hiring departments may choose to post positions as Promotional Opportunities only. A promotional opportunity must be posted for at least seven days, and its applicants are limited to those employees classified as full-time regular or regular part-time employees only. An employee may also apply for any University job posting.

The University’s selection process is competitive in nature. Appointments and promotions to university positions are made solely on the basis of the applicant's skills, abilities, and knowledge in relation to the requirements of the job. When there are two or more equally qualified applicants for the same promotion, the employee's length of service is considered; however, length of service is not the major determining factor.

While employees are encouraged to compete for a position which results in a higher grade or a different opportunity, there is no restriction on an employee applying for a position in the same or lower grade.

Temporary Promotion

A vacancy created by an incumbent's absence for any reason that allows for his/her return at a later date may be filled by an employee promoted for a temporary period. A position may be filled with a temporary promotion before or during the recruiting and hiring of a full-time employee.

Temporary promotions of short durations may be made without competition, but will be made based on qualifications and availability. At the end of the term of temporary promotion, the employee will return to his/her regular position. If the temporary promotion resulted in higher pay, the employee’s pay will be reverted to the former pay rate as well.

Temporary promotions for an extended period should be competitive and posted as a job posting in the Online Employment System. Temporary promotions are not to be used for the purpose of training an employee in a higher grade position.

Lateral Transfer

An employee may be laterally transferred (i.e., transferred into another department without an upward change in grade and/or classification) under conditions which are mutually beneficial to the University and to the employee involved, or at the convenience of the University. A transfer may be to a position of the same grade or lower grade. However, an employee is not transferred without competition to a position that offers a better promotional opportunity.

Transfers to solve performance or conduct problems are not a general practice; but, in selected situations, such moves may be made.

Reassignment

An employee may be changed, at the convenience of the University, from one position to another without promotion or demotion. Normally, however, reassignments are within the same section or department. The provisional period does not apply to reassignments of this nature. A reassignment may be made to for any number of reasons. However, a reassignment should not result in increased or decreased compensation. 

Demotion

It may be necessary to demote an employee to a position of lower classification with a resultant decrease in salary due to reorganization, disciplinary measures, or for other reasons deemed necessary by the University.

SEPARATION OF EMPLOYMENT

Employees may be separated from the University of North Alabama employment under the following conditions:

Resignation

All employees who voluntarily resign their positions are expected to give at least a two-week notice of resignation. Employees in supervisory positions, who voluntarily resign their positions, are expected to give at least a one-month notice of resignation. Notice of resignation must be in writing, submitted to the employee’s immediate supervisor and to the President.

Employees submitting resignations are paid through the last day worked and receive their checks on the first payday following resignation.

If the above prescribed advance notice has been received, the employee (non-exempt) with at least three months of service is eligible for payment, at time of separation, for all unused annual leave carried over from the previous year plus that accumulated for the current year. Exempt employees are eligible for this payment regardless of length of service. However, the University reserves the right to require that the employee take the accrued leave during the notice period.

Other benefits may be available; consequently, all who anticipate resignation or ceasing employment for any reason should contact the Office of Human Resources and Affirmative Action to discuss the status of their benefits following their separation.

Abandoned position : Should an employee quit his/job without notice, fail to return to duty after the expiration of authorized leave, or fail to return to work at a designated, agreed-upon time/date, he/she is assumed to have abandoned his position. In addition, failure to notify the University of an absence of three or more consecutive workdays is considered job abandonment unless the employee can prove that it was impossible to notify his/her supervisor of the absence in advance. Abandonment of one’s position is considered a voluntary resignation

Retirement

An employee who decides to retire and is eligible to do so, must prepare a letter to his/her supervisor and to the President expressing his/her intent. The employee should also contact Human Resources to arrange for completing an application for retirement with the Teachers’ Retirement System of Alabama (TRS). TRS requires receipt of the application no earlier than 90 days and no later than 30 days prior to the requested retirement date.

Upon receipt of the application, the TRS provides the prospective retiree with a statement of monthly benefits entitlements under a number of options prior to a required selection.

Details regarding TRS benefits are detailed on the Office of Human Resources and Affirmative Action website and in the TRS Member Handbook.

Dismissal

Although the University seeks to promote good relations with its employees and, accordingly, strives to treat its employees fairly, the University must maintain the exclusive discretion and right to exercise the customary functions of management, among which is dismissal.

The employees of the University are employees "at will," and the University must maintain its absolute discretion to dismiss employees consistent with the needs and goals of the institution. Staff employees have no contract or property rights to their employment and/or benefits, and they are employed at the will of the University and only so long as the employment is consistent with the best interests of the University. Employees may be dismissed with or without prior notice, and the University is in no way obligated to provide pay in lieu of notice, either during or after an employee's provisional period. No such terminations will be made for unlawful reasons.

Incapacity to perform duties: University employees must be able to physically and mentally perform the essential functions of their assigned positions with or without reasonable accommodation, depending on individual circumstances. If acceptable performance is not achieved, and remedial action does not overcome the performance deficiency, termination may be appropriate.

For Cause: a University employee may be terminated for policy and/or rule violations. Each offense will be examined individually as some are more egregious than others. For more information, see the “Rules Disciplinary Action” policy.

Provisional period: An employee may be terminated any time during the provisional period if it is warranted by lack of adequate progress (as measured by job-related criteria), if it is requested by the employee, or for other reasons at the option of the University.

Reduction in force: It may become necessary to reduce the number of university staff employees because of reduction in work, reduction in funds, or in the interest of economy.

Expiration of appointment: Temporary employees are hired for a specified period or project. In such case, the employment contract specifies the exact termination date or states "upon completion of project." A temporary employee's employment is subject to termination at any time prior to the termination date at the convenience of the University based on budget constraints and work load, or for any reason in the best interest of the University.

Disability: An employee who becomes disabled as a result of non-work-related incident or illness, and is no longer able to perform his/her job as a result, may elect to resign his/her employment based on his/her disability. Once an employee has been placed in a disability status (whether drawing disability or not), a job notice may be posted and the position filled. The former incumbent will no longer have a claim to the former job or other like position with the University after six months of consecutive absence from the job.