This policy was repealed as of September 26, 2016, see the notice.

Revised: November 2, 1992


The subject of limited term employment (LTE) has been, for many individuals and groups, both a source of confusion and an object of scrutiny. Over the years, legislators, Department of Administration (DOA) and Department of Employment Relations (DER) officials, classified employee bargaining groups and citizens have expressed concerns in this area.

UW System Administrative Policy 260 (SYS 260), Limited Term Employment was originally issued in February 1977; updated in January 1983; and updated again with this update. The purpose of the paper is to provide interpretations of the State statutes and Wisconsin Administrative Code in areas where clarification was and is most frequently needed to avoid misuse within the LTE category. This update incorporates guidance based upon current limited term employment policies and procedures for classified staff.

The following index is provided for the user’s convenience in referencing particular sections of this paper:

  1. Definition of Limited Term Employment
  2. Limited Term Employment; When Used, What Type
  3. Hourly Employment Limitations
  4. Classification Actions – Delegated/Non-Delegated
  5. Compensation
  6. Benefits
  7. Selection and Appointment
  8. Monitoring
  9. Dual Employment of State Employees
  10. FLSA Considerations
  11. Status of LTEs

I. Definition of Limited Term Employment

Section 230.26(1), Wis. Stats. states that: “The administrator may provide by rule for selection and appointment for limited term appointments which are provisional appointments or appointments for less than 1044 hours per year.” This section directs one to the Wisconsin Administrative Code for further clarification.

“Limited Term Appointment means the appointment of a person to perform a grouping of duties and responsibilities on a non-project basis under conditions of employment which do not provide for attainment of permanent status under s. 230.26 (1), Stats.” ER-Pers. 1.02(13).

“Limited Term Employment means employment in which the nature and conditions do not permit attainment of permanent status in class and for which the use of normal procedures for recruitment and examination are not practicable.” ER 1.02 (17); ER-Pers. 1.02(14).

Therefore, limited term employment is a non-project appointment for less than 1,044 hours within 26 consecutive biweekly payroll periods, which does not lead to permanent status (a career).

A. Is the Student Employment Program included in the LTE category?

Student employment is not included in the LTE category. Students are considered to be unclassified (see 230.08(2)(k), Wis. Stats. and UW System Administrative Policy 205 (SYS 205), Employment of Student Help) while limited term positions are in the classified service under 230.08(3)(a), Wis. Stats.

II. Limited Term Employment: When Used, What Type

A. When should limited term employment be used?

The Administrative Code indicates that limited term employment should be used when the duties and responsibilities are assigned under conditions which do not provide for attainment of permanent status. As a guide, typical examples of when limited term employment may be most appropriate are illustrated below:

  1. Employment of a recurring nature for less than 600 hours per year.
  2. Employment of a recurring nature for 600 or more hours per year for which the work hours cannot be scheduled in advance with a reasonable degree of certainty (such as emergency snow removal).
  3. Employment of a recurring nature for 600 or more hours per year which is so irregularly needed that a permanent, seasonal or project appointment is not feasible (such as during registration).
  4. Employment of a non-recurring nature for less than 1044 hours per year.

In other words, when determining whether a group of duties and responsibilities should be performed by a limited term position, the needs of the employer must first be established. This review should provide insight as to which type of appointment (LTE, permanent, project, seasonal) will best fit the position.

B. What types of limited term appointments are there?

Chapter 230.26, Wis. Stats. recognizes two categories of LTEs:

Short Term:

Appointments of less than 1044 hours.

Provisional Appointments:

Individuals may be appointed provisionally in accordance with 230.26(2),Wis. Stats., to fill a vacancy when a certification request has been submitted and the Administrator is unable to certify a list of eligibles. These appointments may be made for an indefinite period of time and are not subject to the 1,044 hour maximum. However, no provisional appointment may be continued for more than 45 working days after the date of certification from a register.

III. Hourly Employment Limitations

Duration of Limited Term Employment. “The total time worked in any one position by an individual limited term employee shall not exceed 1043 hours of employment during a block of time which consists of 26 consecutive bi-weekly payroll periods and which ends on the anniversary date of the appointment. The maximum time durations for provisional appointments are provided under s.230.26(2), Stats.” ER 10.01.

A. Does the hourly limitation apply to the person or to the position?

The hourly limitation applies to the specific limited term duties that the person is performing. The length of any one position (set of duties and responsibilities) may exceed 1,044 hours. However, an individual is limited in the number of hours they may perform in that position. During one year, starting from the date of employment, a person is limited to less than 1,044 hours. If the individual reaches the hourly maximum, but the position is to continue, the individual must be terminated and a new LTE appointed.

There are three instances in which an individual may be employed for 1,044 or more hours within 26 consecutive bi-weekly payroll periods. They are as follows:

  1. The individual holds a provisional appointment. See 230.26(2), Wis. Stats., for the conditions surrounding the use of the provisional category.
  2. The individual holds two or more concurrent appointments in different positions which in total exceed the limit.
  3. The individual holds back-to-back appointments in different positions where the total hours worked within 26 bi-weekly pay periods exceeds the limit.

NOTE: The key in both case “2” and “3” is that the individual must be working in different positions. In situation “b” the test would be to ask, “Can the duties be logically combined into one position?” If, for example, the positions are physically located in different work locations (Typist in the Physical Plant and Typist in the Registrar’s Office), or have very dissimilar duties (Typist versus Financial Specialist duties), it may not be logical to combine the positions.

In the case of situation “3” the requirement is that the individual must be performing in a bona fide different position (set of duties and responsibilities). (See Wisconsin Personnel Manual Chapter 224.020 A.)

In either of the above cases, the LTE may not exceed the hourly limit in any one position. However, the individual is not limited to only one position. Therefore, in totaling the number of hours worked for all positions, the hourly limit may be exceeded.

B. Under what circumstances may an extension of an individual’s limited term appointment be made?

None. The statutes limit the number of hours an individual may work in a position, and do not provide for extensions. As stated earlier, an LTE is limited to an appointment of less than 1,044 hours in any one position. After reaching the limit, the individual must be terminated.

IV. Classification Actions – Delegated/Non-Delegated

The Wisconsin Administrative Code spells out how classifications should be applied to LTEs. According to ER 10.02(1), Wis. Adm. Code, class titles for LTE appointments “shall be determined in accordance with the provisions of the limited term classification and pay schedule, or be consistent with other classifications identified in the classification plan.”

A. Which classifications are delegated to the UW System, and which are not?

Attachment 2 to University System Administrative Policy 255 (SYS 255), Classified Service Delegated Classification Policy lists those classifications delegated to the UW System. This document transmits delegation authority to make classification determinations for certification, reallocation, reclassification, and limited term employment. Specific restrictions to this delegation are noted in the delegation attachment to SYS 255, Classified Service Delegated Classification Policy

Those permanent classifications which include a separate “confidential,” “supervisory,” or “management” designation (e.g., Program Assistant 1-Confidential) may not be used for LTE positions if there is a directly parallel classification that does not include such designation (e.g. Program Assistant 1). LTEs are excluded from union representation by State law. However, if the confidential, supervisory, or management exclusion is incorporated into the classification (e.g. Personnel Assistant – all are confidential) and that classification is the most appropriate given the position’s duties and responsibilities, it may be requested. (See Chapter 344, Wisconsin Personnel Manual – Classification.)

For those classifications which are not delegated to the UW System, class approval is through one of two mechanisms:

  1. Pre-approval process. With this process, the LTE request is submitted to the DER classification section prior to the selection of the employee. Requests for special salary rates,such as hiring above the minimum (HAM) or professional consultant rate, must be submitted prior to the LTEs first day of employment. This procedure is designed to avoid delays between the time the LTE is appointed and when the LTE is placed on the payroll (see Chapter 344.040, Wisconsin Personnel Manual – Classification for specific processing instructions).
  2. Post-facto review. These requests may be submitted following selection of the LTE but prior to the first day of employment. (See Chapter 344.010, Wisconsin Personnel Manual – Classification for specific processing instructions).

B. How are delegated/non-delegated actions processed?

  1. Institutions that process staffing materials through System Administration. At the time of appointment (both delegated and non-delegated LTEs), each institution should submit the white and yellow copies of the LTE form within the pay period. For LTEs who are rehired in the same employing unit, a copy of their former position description must be submitted to DER along with a copy of their current appointment position description. (See Chapter 224.100 WPM Staffing & Chapter 344 – WPM Administration, Classification and Compensation.)
  2. Institutions that do not process staffing materials through UW System Administration. The yellow copy should be submitted to the certification section of DER at the same time as the white copy is submitted to the institution payroll office.

V. Compensation: Classified Civil Service LTE Policies and Procedures

Pay rates for LTEs “shall be in accordance with the provisions of the Limited Term pay schedule.” ER 10.02(2). Given the following restrictions, each institution in the System should develop an LTE compensation approach that represents reasonable personnel management practices, where similar LTE appointments are treated consistently in terms of pay administration.

A. How is the base pay for a position determined?

The pay of an LTE may be at any rate up to the minimum hourly rate for the classification’s counterpart in the permanent service. For those employees classified in one of the limited term classes, the salary shall not exceed the limits stated in Pay Schedule 18. All LTEs must be paid at least the State or Federal minimum wage, whichever is greater, unless a lower wage is authorized pursuant to Section 14 of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

B. Can an LTE be paid above the minimum hourly equivalent of the classification’s counterpart in the permanent service?

The following exceptions exist which allow an LTE to be hired above the minimum:

  1. If hiring above the minimum (HAM) has been requested, and approved for the position. HAM is used on a position by position basis and must be requested and approved prior to filling each vacancy.
  2. When a raised minimum rate has been established for the classification.
  3. A former state employee eligible for reinstatement or restoration to the permanent service may be paid in accordance with the controlling section of ER 29, Wis. Adm. Code. To be eligible for a rate above the minimum rate, the LTE must be performing work similar to that performed in his/her permanent position (see ER 29.03(6) and 29.03(7), Wis. Adm. Code, pay on reinstatement and restoration).
  4. Permanent state employees working on an additional employment basis may be paid at their current rate of pay if they are performing similar work in the same or equivalent classification. The duties and responsibilities of the LTE position must be related to those of the permanent position, and the LTE base pay rate cannot be higher than the employee’s permanent rate of pay. The base pay rate may not exceed the maximum of the pay range for the counterpart permanent class of the LTE position.

C. Are LTEs eligible for any other type of pay?

Yes. LTEs are eligible for the same type of supplemental compensation (e.g. overtime, weekend differential, night differential, etc.) as permanent employees in the same classification and/or pay range. However, limited term employees cannot be granted compensatory time off and must be paid for all assigned extra hours worked. In addition, the amount of the supplemental pay is specified in the compensation plan, and not by contract.

LTEs must be paid overtime if eligible. The overtime rate is governed, and determined, by the compensation plan in effect at the time.

D. What pay adjustments are LTEs eligible for during their employment?

  1. LTEs paid below the maximum rates indicated in Schedule 18 may have their rates adjusted by the appointment authority during the fiscal year to a rate not to exceed the maximum.
  2. LTEs paid at the minimum of the classification’s counterpart in the permanent service may have their salary adjusted to the new minimum if that minimum is adjusted in accordance with the annual compensation plan.
  3. LTEs shall have their pay adjusted if required by the annual compensation plan.

NOTE: LTEs are not eligible to receive those salary adjustments to which permanent classified employees may be eligible, such as regrade resulting from reclassification, within range pay progression, equity, or performance awards.

VI. Benefits: Classified Civil Service LTE Policies and Procedures

A. What employment benefits are LTEs entitled to?

In accordance with s. 230.26 (4), Stats., fringe benefits specifically authorized by statutes (with the exception of worker’s compensation, unemployment compensation, group insurance, retirement and social security coverage) shall be denied to LTEs. LTEs do not qualify for tenure, vacation, paid holidays, sick leave, performance awards or the right to compete in promotional examinations. In accordance with ER 10.045, the eligibility of LTEs for worker’s compensation, unemployment compensation, group insurance, retirement benefits and social security shall be subject to controlling conditions relating to these benefits. Under certain circumstances, LTEs may be eligible for benefits under the provisions of s. 103.10, Stats., regarding Family/Medical Leaves of Absence.

B. Under what circumstances are LTEs entitled to retirement benefits?

  1. If an LTE was previously employed within the UW System at some time during the past 12 months in a position covered under the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) and has not since taken a WRS separation benefit; or
  2. If it is anticipated that an LTE will work at least 600 hours for a 12 month period (includes if the anticipation changes at any time during the LTE appointment that the incumbent will work at least 600 hours for a 12 month period); or
  3. If an LTE has worked at least 600 hours within the UW System during the past 12 month period.
  4. When an LTE holds more than one appointment (perhaps even a combination of permanent classified or academic staff and LTE) and at least one appointment meets the specific retirement participation criteria, retirement deductions will be made on the total salary paid.

C. When does the State’s share go into effect for retirement benefits?

For those LTEs eligible to participate in retirements benefits, the State’s share goes into effect immediately.

D. Is participation mandatory for retirement?

Yes. If the employee is eligible for participation, deductions must be made.

E. What is the source of funds for the employer’s retirement and insurance contributions?

The employer’s retirement contributions come from a sum certain allocation if the individual is in a General Purpose Revenue account. On the other hand, if the regular salary for an employee is not paid by a General Purpose Revenue account, any State share of retirement and insurance benefits is charged to the funds from which the salary is paid.

F. What other kinds of insurances are available to eligible LTEs?

LTEs making retirement deductions are eligible to participate in state health and life insurance programs, income continuation, accidental death and dismemberment, and major medical insurances.

G. When does the state’s share go into effect for insurance benefits?

LTEs eligible to participate, like all state employees, must serve a six month waiting period from the point retirement deductions begin before the State’s share goes into effect.

H. Who is responsible for ensuring that LTEs who qualify for retirement and insurance benefits are covered by deductions?

Each institution is responsible for performing a review of LTEs on a regular basis to determine eligibility for participation in the Wisconsin Retirement and Group Insurance programs.

NOTE: For questions about specific benefit programs, benefit eligibility, or requirements for participation, contact your institution’s Personnel/Payroll office.

VII. Selection and Appointment

A. Who makes the rules for the selection and appointment of LTEs?

Chapter 230.26(1), Wis. Stats., authorizes the Administrator to provide by rule for the selection and appointment of LTEs. ER Pers. 10.04. Wis. Adm. Code provides that recruitment and selection procedures for LTEs may be modified to expedite the appointment process. However, such recruitment and selection procedures must be approved by the Administrator, and appointing authorities are responsible for maintaining records that the Administrator determines to be necessary.

B. Are there other documents governing the selection and appointment of LTEs?

On June 1, 1989, the MRS 95 & CC 194 bulletin was published to create a new Wisconsin Personnel Manual Chapter on limited term employment. This chapter was renumbered Chapter 224, WPM-Staffing and Chapter 344, WPM-Administration, Classification and Compensation. It replaced Chapter 212-WPM staffing and supplemented Chapter 344 WPM-Administration, Classification and Compensation. The new chapter deals with the selection and appointment of LTEs, and chapter 224.050 provides an attempt to ensure fairness and consistency in LTE selection throughout state service.

VIII. Monitoring

A. Who is responsible for monitoring LTE hours and usage?

At this time, each institution has the primary responsibility for monitoring LTEs on a continuous basis. In addition, the System Administration Personnel office performs general monitoring of LTE employment at all institutions. This system is being reviewed to further refine the monitoring capabilities.

In addition to the monitoring done by the UW System, the Department of Employment Relations has instituted a formal system to monitor LTE usage in all state agencies. This data spins off of a DOA payroll system and, in turn, is given to DER. Currently each biweekly payroll period, the UW System provides information to DOA to be included with other state agency data. This system, although in use, is not in its final form.

IX. Dual Employment of State Employees

Permanent employees who work in an LTE position do not earn additional fringe benefits (e.g. vacation, sick leave, paid holiday accrual) based on their LTE appointment (see FAP – Limited Term Employment (G26), section 6.1).

A. Are there are rules governing classified employees having an LTE position?

An Attorney General’s Opinion dated 10/3/88 (OAG 55-88) discusses restrictions which s. 16.417(2) Stats. imposes on dual state employment of civil service employees. Please be aware of these restrictions when considering limited term employment of a permanent civil service employee. Key points covered by s. 16.417(2) Stats. include:

  1. A person who is employed or retained in a full-time position with a state agency or authority may not earn more than $5,000 in an additional position with any state agency or authority.
  2. No agency or authority may employ any person in violation of this limitation.
  3. The Department of Administration shall annually check to ensure that no individual violates the $5,000 additional earnings limit.
  4. The Department of Administration shall order any person in violation to repay the portion of economic gain in excess of $5,000.

Please refer to the statutes and the Attorney General’s opinion for more specific information.

X. FLSA Considerations

A. Are LTEs covered under FLSA?

All limited term employees are considered non-exempt (with exception of physicians, dentists, attorneys, teachers, and employees described under 516.020C of the Wisconsin Personnel Manual – Administration, Classification and Compensation.) In accordance with ER 10.02 (4), Wis. Adm. Code, limited term employees shall be paid only for actual hours worked except as otherwise provided in the compensation plan.

1. Concurrent LTE appointments within the same agency:

  1. For non-exempt LTEs occupying more than one LTE position, FLSA totals all hours worked within a workweek within the agency; therefore, if the total hours worked in both LTE positions exceed 40, the individual is eligible for overtime.
  2. No distinctions are made for different employing units of the agency or different LTE positions functioning in different capacities.

2. Concurrent LTE appointments in different agencies:

FLSA totals hours worked for each agency separately unless a joint employment situation exists. See Chapter 516 of the WPM for an explanation of joint employment.

XI. Status of Limited Term Employees

A. What information am I obligated to provide to LTEs regarding their appointment?

  1. Agencies have the responsibility of informing limited term employees of their status at the time a limited term appointment is made. LTEs must be given an acknowledgement that includes:
    1. An explanation of the nature of limited term employment, especially the fact that it does not lead to permanent status.
    2. An explanation of the potential benefits available to them.
    3.  A brief summary of the statute and administrative rules governing limited term employment.
    4.  An explanation of the Administrator’s authority to terminate an LTEs employment under s. 230.26 (5), Stats., if the agency does not comply with the statute and administrative rules.
    5.  A place for the appointee and the appointing authority to sign the acknowledgement.
  2. A copy of form DER-MRS 154 must be kept on file with the agency’s copy of the LTE Request/Report form. Form DER-MRS 154 can be obtained from your Personnel Office or DER.