March University Policy Distribution

The March university policy distribution contains four (4) revised policies and one (1) new guidance document.

Revised Policies:

New Guidance:

Click on the links above to view the drafts and ensure that your feedback is captured for review during the post-comment period. Comments can include attachments, including word documents and PDFs. Comments on the revised policies and guidance are due on Friday, April 12 at 5:00pm. 

Comments on the revised policy, SYS 807, Medical Withdrawal and Tuition Adjustment Policy are due on Friday, May 21 at 5:00pm.


SYS 807, Medical Withdrawal and Tuition Adjustment Policy

This policy will be in effect upon approval by the president.

Summary of Policy and Policy Revisions

  • This policy outlines provisions with respect to medical withdrawals and refunds beyond the 100 percent refund date.
    • Title was changed to add “Medical Withdrawal and Tuition Adjustment Policy”
    • Section 2 was updated to reflect office and title changes at Universities of Wisconsin.
    • In Section 5, the definition of “Immediate Family Member” was changed to add “… or other member of the student’s familial support unit”
    • In Section 5, a definition for Last Date of Class Attendance was added.
    • In Section 6.B, in the last sentence of the first paragraph, replaced “only possible” with “primary” regarding transcript adjustments for applications submitted after the end of the term.
    • In Section 6.B, in the first sentence of the second paragraph, added “(as determined by campus policies and procedure for withdrawals and return of financial aid funds)…” to clarify how campuses should calculate last date of class attendance.
    • In Section 6.B, in the last sentence of the second paragraph, added “ which could result in a change to the student’s overall financial aid” to clarify the possible outcome of the Financial Aid Office making award or repayment decisions.
    • In Section 6.D, amended language about re-entry steps to make the process less prescriptive and burdensome on the student.
    • Changed “medical circumstances” to “rationale” in the last sentence of the first paragraph.
    • Added language to clarify the purpose to reentry activities, and that reentry activities should generally focus on reminding students of institution resources.
    • Added potential steps/options for re-entry activities institutions could provide.
    • Added “Reentry requirements to return must not put undue burden on the student to prove their readiness to return.”
    • Refocused language regarding a letter from a healthcare provider or meeting with a campus official to read, “If the institution requires a letter from a healthcare provider, the focus should be on aftercare recommendations that would allow the institution to offer resources that would support a successful transition back to campus.”
    • Removed the requirement that this process be consistent with other institutional return processes.


SYS 1213, Wisconsin and Federal Family and Medical Leave Acts

This update will be effective upon the signature of the President.

Summary of Policy and Policy Revisions

  • This revision is based upon the analysis of the Office of General Counsel, in consultation with the legal offices at UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee.
  • Our current W/FMLA leave policy includes language that limits the total leave associated with the birth or adoption of a child to 12 months under FMLA, even if the 12-month period following the birth or adoption takes place in two calendar years.  This update removes this restriction.
  • In section 6.C.III, added language to remove the restriction on the 12 months total leave under FMLA associated with the birth or adoption of a child when the 12-month leave takes place in two calendar years.
  • FMLA allows up to 12 weeks of leave per year for the birth or adoption of a child, provided this leave occurs within 12 months of the date of birth or adoption.  FMLA allows an employer to determine if they want to base their leave period (the 12 month period during which the employee is entitled to 12 weeks of leave) on a calendar year, a fiscal year (or other set period), a rolling 12-month period looking forward or a rolling 12 month period looking backwards.  Generally, an employer must choose one method defining a year for purposes of FMLA.  Our current policy uses a calendar year, but included language that effectively used a forward looking rolling 12-month period exclusively for leave associated with birth or adoption.  Legal counsel believes we must use the same basis for all FMLA leave.
  • This will have the effect of allowing employees to take up to 24 weeks of leave for the birth or adoption of a child, assuming they use their full 12 weeks of leave during the calendar year the child is born/adopted and then use the full 12 weeks from the calendar year following the date of birth/adoption.  The total eligibility may be less, as all birth/adoption leave must be completed within 12 month of the date of the birth/adoption.  For example, an employee who has a baby on January 1st, could use the full 12 weeks leave for that calendar year.  They would not, however, be able to access the following year’s leave, since any leave they took in the following January would be more than 12 months after the date of birth/adoption.  By contrast, an employee who has a baby on October 1st could use the full 12 weeks of leave from that calendar year, and then would gain access to an additional 12 weeks on January 1st of the following year, allowing the employee to take a total of 24 weeks of leave (provided that all leave was completed by October 1st of the second year.
  • WFMLA does not function the same way and does have a firm cap on the total leave, even if the eligibility period crosses calendar years.  The language for WFMLA in the policy is unchanged.


SYS 1277, Compensation

This policy will be effective when signed by the President.

Summary of Policy and Policy Revisions

  • The purpose of this policy is to outline parameters for setting and adjusting salaries of UW System employees.  These policies support the compensation philosophy described below and apply regardless of the source of funds supporting the salaries.
  • This is a minor revision to the introduction of Section 6 of the policy.  We are making a slight change to the order of operations when multiple salary adjustments occur on the same date.  The change moves the application of Pay Plan up in the order, ahead of a Raise to the Pay Range minimum and Raise to College or Campus minimum.  Previously this step occurred after these two events.


SYS 1278, UW System Pay Plan Distribution Framework for University Workforce

This policy will be effective when signed by the president.

Summary of Policy and Policy Revisions

  • These updates clarify the procedure for determining eligibility for Pay Plan pay increases with respect to the performance requirements.  They also clarify a number of other issues associated with Pay Plan, including:
    • The effective date of the pay plan increases.
    • The structure and use of the Chancellor’s 15% discretionary reserve
    • Some language is eliminated, particularly language that is covered elsewhere in the administrative policies and procedures.


SYS 1275 Guidance: Guidelines for Utilizing Recruitment Waivers

This policy will be effective when signed by the Associate Vice President.

Summary of Policy and Policy Revisions

  • This guidance document collects the acceptable reasons for waiving a formal recruitment in filling a vacancy.
  • It includes reasons specifically authorized by other policies, RPDs and state law.
  • It also includes reasons pulled from the best practices of several institutions.
  • A number of the listed reasons require that an institution have adopted a local policy authorizing that waiver reason.

SYS Policy Approvals

On March 18, President Rothman approved the substantive revisions to SYS 1275, Recruitment Policies. These revisions will be effective on August 1, 2024.

A brief summary of this item can be found below.

SYS 1275, Recruitment Policies 

These revisions will be effective on August 1, 2024.

Summary of Policy and Policy Revisions

  • This policy provides a framework for UW System institutions to use in the development of merit-based recruitment, selection, and hiring processes that produce a talented, effective workforce and that reflect UW System’s commitment to the principles of equal employment opportunity, non-discrimination, and diversity.
  • In section 5, the definition of misconduct has been expanded to include specific findings and investigations that may reasonably be expected to affect a candidate’s appointment.
  • This revision broadens the scope of the background check UWS institutions must complete on applicants prior to extending an offer of employment.
  • In each instance where the existing language required inquiries into whether the employee had been found to have engaged in any sexual violence or sexual misconduct, the requirement has been expanded to require an inquiry as to whether the employee has engaged in any employee misconduct (violations of law, company or university rule or policy, including sexual violence or sexual harassment policies, or conduct that adversely affected their performance of job responsibilities).
  • These changes occur in section 6.B, 6.C and 6.D of the policy.
  • In section 6.D, the policy also requires that if information disclosed during an outgoing reference check includes that the employee is currently under investigation for misconduct, or left while an investigation was pending, that the institution contact should state that the institution has not yet made a determination as to whether the misconduct occurred.
  • In Section 6, “Veteran Status” and “Marital Status” were added as protected groups in the equal employment opportunity that UW System institutions provide.
  • Section 6.E was added to provide a standard process for the candidate to comment regarding any adverse information that is disclosed regarding them during self-disclosure or a reference check.

University Comments & Concerns

Please see the SYS 1275 University Comments and Concerns page for a list of the comments that were received during the distribution period and a summary of how they were addressed.

FY 2025 Policy Prioritization

The FY 2025 Policy Prioritization process will begin on Friday, March 29. Each University may request up to 5 policy priorities. Additionally, each of the 4 shared governance groups may submit up to 5 policy priorities. Priority areas should include System Administration policies and proposed actions can include:

  • The drafting of new policies
  • The revision of existing policies
  • The merger of existing policies
  • The rescission of existing policies

Prioritization forms will be sent to campus leadership and shared governance group statewide representative chairs. Priorities must be submitted by Friday, April 26.