This policy was a part of the former UPS Policy set that was integrated into the System Administrative Policy set. It applies to all University of Wisconsin institutions except for UW-Madison. For UW-Madison’s policies, please see the Human Resource Design Policies website.

Original Issuance Date: July 1, 2015

Last Revision Date: April 14, 2023

1.     Policy Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to provide a list of general terms and definitions that are used in the 1200 series of the UW System Administrative policy set.

2.     Responsible UW System Officer

Associate Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer

3.     Scope and Institutional Responsibilities

This policy provides the definitions for basic terms found in the UW System Administrative (SYS) 1200 policy series: University Personnel System Operational Policies, which applies to UW System employees except for employees of UW-Madison.

4.     Policy Background

Section 36.115 (2) of the Wisconsin Statutes directs the UW Board of Regents to develop a personnel system that is separate and distinct from the State of Wisconsin personnel system under ch. 230 for all UW System employees except those assigned to the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Effective July 1, 2015, this operational policy provides general definitions for all the University Personnel System Operational Policies promulgated by the University of Wisconsin System.

5.     Policy Definitions

Academic or C-Basis Appointments: Appointments directly tied to the academic year calendar (39 weeks) and who are FLSA exempt employees.

Annual or A-Basis Appointments:  Appointments for the fiscal year.

Academic Staff:  Professional and administrative personnel with duties and appointment types that are primarily associated with higher education institutions or their administration but does not include faculty or university staff.

Affirmative Action: Specific actions in employment which are designed and taken for the purposes of:

  1. Ensuring equal opportunities;
  2. Eliminating a substantial disparity between the proportion of members of racial and ethnic, gender or disabled groups in job groups within faculty, academic staff and university staff personnel structure, and the proportion of members of racial and ethnic, gender or disabled groups in the relevant labor pool; and
  3. Eliminating present effects of past discrimination.

Annual Leave Reserve Account (ALRA): The account in which eligible Academic Staff/Faculty/Limited Appointees can bank unused leave time.

Catastrophic Leave: A program that allows employees to donate specified types and amounts of leave to employees that have been granted unpaid leaves of absence for catastrophic need.

Chancellor: The chief executive of a University of Wisconsin System institution.

Civil Service System: Employment in government with such positions filled based on merit as determined by competitive examinations or screening.

Crafts Worker: A University of Wisconsin System employee who is a skilled journeyman in the following trades: Heat and Frost Insulator, Bricklayer /Mason, Carpenter, Electrician, Elevator Constructor, Glazier, Craftsworker – Lead, Painter, Plasterer, Plumber, Sheet Metal Worker, Steamfitter, Terrazzo/Tile Setter, and Welder. “Craftsworker” includes the skilled journeyman’s apprentices and helpers, but does not include employees who are not in direct line of progression in the craft.

Crafts Worker Supervisor, Shop Supervisor, and Crafts Operations Manager: Positions that supervise crafts workers.

Demotion: The movement of an employee in one position to a position in a lower title range.

Disabled Veteran: A veteran who has a service-connected disability.

Dismissal: Separation from employment for disciplinary or performance reasons.

Domestic Partner: An individual who has been recognized as a domestic partner by the UW System through the submission and approval of UW System Domestic Partner Affidavit.

Employee: Any individual who holds a faculty, academic staff, university staff, limited appointment, student employment, employee-in-training, temporary or project appointment with any UW System institution.

Employer: A University of Wisconsin System institution that engages the services of Faculty, Academic Staff, University Staff, Limited Appointees, Student Assistants, Student Hourly employees, Employees-in-Training, Project employees and Temporary employees.

ExemptCategorizing an employee as not subject to the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Faculty:  Persons who hold the rank of professor, associate professor, assistant professor, or instructor in an academic department or its functional equivalent in an institution, and such academic staff as may be designated by the chancellor and faculty of the institution.

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA): Federal and state laws establishing certain minimum benefits relating to an employee’s right to unpaid leave of absence for personal or family serious medical conditions, and/or for maternity, paternity or adoption of a child.

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA): The federal law (29 USC §201 et seq), otherwise known as the “Wage and Hour Law”, that mandates minimum wage, and the payment of a premium rate (e.g. overtime) paid for hours worked over 40 in a workweek for those employees that are not exempted from its operation.  Employees that are subject to these overtime provisions are considered “nonexempt”.  Employees that are not subject to these overtime provisions are considered “exempt”.

Full Time Equivalence (FTE): The amount of hours budgeted for a position. A position budgeted for 80 hours in a bi-weekly pay period would be 1 FTE; a position budgeted for 40 hours in a bi-weekly pay period would be .5 FTE.

Grievance Procedure: The process by which an employee can request relief in a matter of concern or dissatisfaction relating to certain working conditions, discipline, or dismissal.

Impartial Hearing Officer: A party empowered to hear employee grievances under the Grievance Procedures (SYS 1233) or the institutional equivalent. An impartial hearing officer can be an arbitrator employed by the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission (WERC), an arbitrator from the WERC roster of neutral  decision-makers not employed by the WERC, an arbitrator from a UWSA roster, or a grievance review committee established through shared governance.

Institution: Any of the following: UW-Eau Claire; UW-Green Bay; UW-La Crosse; UW-Milwaukee; UW-Oshkosh; UW-Parkside; UW-Platteville; UW-River Falls; UW-Stevens Point; UW-Stout; UW-Superior; UW-Whitewater; any branch campuses/additional locations; and UW System Administration.

Instructional Academic Staff: Academic staff members with teaching responsibilities.

Interim AppointmentAn appointment to a position that is not permanent in nature but is intended to provide short term coverage due to a vacancy.

Just Cause: A standard that is applied to determine the appropriateness of a disciplinary action for an employee with a property right to his/her position.  The elements of determining whether just cause exists include proper notice to the employee; a full, fair and objective employer’s investigation, and fair and nondiscriminatory application of the penalty or correction.

Layoff: Separation from employment for reasons of budget or due to the discontinuance, curtailment, modification, or redirection of a program.

Layoff Group: A combined group of employees in positions from which the layoff will be made.  The layoff group will generally include all employees employed in a particular operational area that are similarly, although not necessarily identically, situated by title, pay range and/or function.

Leave of Absence An absence from employment with the approval of the employer with or without loss of pay in accordance with the appropriate statutory provision or rule. A leave of absence may be paid or unpaid, and may be for medical or other reasons.

Limited Appointment: An appointment to a designated administrative position, the holder of which serves at the pleasure of the authorized official who made the appointment.  Certain positions must be designated as limited appointments under Wis. Stat. § 36.17(2), while others may be designated by the employer as limited appointments at the time of the appointment.

Lump Sum Payment A fixed amount of compensation paid in lieu of a base pay adjustment or other traditional salary.

Nonexempt Categorizing an employee as subject to the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Nonexempt Supervisor:  An employee who is responsible for supervising two or more FTEs but does not meet the criteria to be exempt from the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act, as indicated in the employee’s position description.

Operational Area:  An area of focus or function in a school, college, division, department or office.  An operational area will generally be a subset of a school, college, division, department or office, and need not encompass the whole unit.

Overload Payment:  A lump sum payment made to a current University of Wisconsin institution employee for work performed in addition to his or her regularly assigned duties.

Position:  A group of duties and responsibilities which require the services of an employee on a part-time or full-time basis.

Position of Trust A paid or volunteer position with one or more of the following responsibilities: access to vulnerable populations, property access, financial/fiduciary duty or executive positions. (See RPD 20-19, University of Wisconsin System Criminal Background Check Policy).

Probationary Period:  The time period during which an employee’s performance is evaluated upon appointment to a position. The employee does not have an expectation of continued employment during the probationary period.

Probationary Employment:  Employment that is not temporary, but where the incumbent has not yet completed the probationary period.

Promotion The appointment of an employee to a different position in a higher title range than the position currently held by the employee.

Rehired Annuitant:  Any retired employee who:

  • Is receiving a monthly Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) annuity; and
  • Had a valid termination of employment; and
  • Served the minimum requirement break in employment between retirement and returning to work for a WRS-covered employer; and
  • Now works for an employer covered by the WRS

An employee who previously received a lump sum separation or retirement benefit from the WRS is not considered a rehired annuitant.

Rehired University Annuitant An employee who meets the definition of rehired annuitant and is both retired from UW System or a UW System institution and is re-employed by UW System or a UW institution as a rehired annuitant.

Reinstatement:  The act of permissive reappointment of an employee or former employee to a state agency position for which the person is qualified to perform the work after the customary orientation provided to newly hired workers in the position.

Sabbatical:  The professional leave program authorized by Wis. Stat. § 36.11(17).

Search and Screen Committee:  A group of subject matter experts that the hiring supervisor identifies to participate in the application review process when filling a position vacancy.

Short Work Break:  A period of time when an employee is not working in his/her primary job but is still considered an active employee for benefits purposes.  The short work break generally applies to academic-year employees and is attached to the spring appointment, wherever possible.

Standard Office Hours:  The hours during the day that an institution must be open to the public. Generally, institutions will be open Monday to Friday from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with intermissions from 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The chancellor may adjust opening and closing hours and intermission periods as the institution’s needs otherwise require.

Standard Work Week: (1) Days of the week, Monday through Friday, during which institutions must be open to the public.  (2) For a position designated as 1.0 Full Time Equivalent (FTE), a standard work week is presumed to be 40 hours.

Summer Basis Appointments:  Employment periods between the end of one academic year and the beginning of the next, paid as determined by the institution.

Summer Prepay Deductions:  Multiple insurance deductions from the spring semester payroll (deductions taken from the pay periods in March, April and May) to maintain insurance coverage during one or more summer months.

Temporary Employment:  Any short-term employment that is not held by a student that does not qualify as a “project appointment”.

The University:  Any of the following: UW-Eau Claire; UW-Green Bay; UW-La Crosse; UW-Milwaukee; UW-Oshkosh; UW-Parkside; UW-Platteville; UW-River Falls; UW-Stevens Point; UW-Stout; UW-Superior; UW-Whitewater; any branch campuses/additional locations; and UW-System Administration.

University Staff:  The university workforce who contribute in a broad array of positions in support of the University’s mission and are not exempt (hourly) from the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

[Note:  All FLSA exempt employees holding positions in the State of Wisconsin “classified” service as of June 30, 2015 will be given the choice to remain in the university staff for as long as they retain their existing positions, or to voluntarily be reassigned to a position that the institution has designated as either an academic staff or limited appointment position. See SYS 1287, Voluntary Reassignment.

Vulnerable Population:  A group of people who are minors or medical patients, unsupervised access to whom requires regular criminal background checks of current employees with such access. (See RPD 20-19, University of Wisconsin System Criminal Background Check Policy.)

6.     Policy

7.     Related Documents

RPD 20-19, University of Wisconsin System Criminal Background Check Policy

SYS 1201, Affirmative Action Data
SYS 1202, Equal Employment Opportunity
SYS 1203, Employment of Veterans
SYS 1214, Catastrophic Leave Program
SYS 1227, Standard Office Hours, Legal Holidays and Other UW System Institution Closures
SYS 1229, Rehired Annuitants
SYS 1232, Layoff for Reasons of Budget or Program
SYS 1233, Grievance Procedures
SYS 1238, Craft Workers
SYS 1244, Summer Prepay Policy
SYS 1253, FLSA Designation
SYS 1256, University Staff Temporary & Project Appointments
SYS 1257, Title Change
SYS 1275, Recruitment Policies
SYS 1277, Compensation
GEN A, Criminal Background Checks
BN A, Faculty Sabbatical Program

8.     Policy History

Revision 2: April 14, 2023

Revision 1: August 4, 2021

First Approved: July 1, 2015

9.     Scheduled Review

April 2028