This document is intended solely as guidance and does not contain any mandatory requirements except where requirements found in statute or administrative rule are referenced. This guidance does not establish or affect legal rights or obligations and is not finally determinative of any of the issues addressed. This guidance does not create any rights enforceable by any party in litigation with the State of Wisconsin or the Board of Regents. Any decisions made by the Board of Regents in any matter addressed by this guidance will be made by applying the governing statutes and administrative rules to the relevant facts.

On March 18, 2024 President Rothman approved a revision to SYS 1275, Recruitment Policies. The update will become effective on August 1, 2024. Please review the revisions to the policy SYS 1275, Recruitment Policies to prepare prior to the effective date.

Original Issuance Date: February 1, 2024
Last Revision Date: 
May 1, 2024

 1. Purpose of Guidelines 

This guidance outlines the circumstances under which the general requirement of merit-based recruitment and selection may be waived.  The normal practice for both new hires and promotions should be to utilize the merit-based procedures outlined in SYS 1275. 

2. Publishing Office(s) 

This guidance is published by the Universities of Wisconsin Office of Human Resources. 

3. Affected Stakeholders on Campus 

Local institution HR offices and hiring managers are the stakeholders most directly affected by this guidance. 

4. Primary Responsibility 

Local institution HR offices have the primary responsibility for ensuring that their local hiring practices follow SYS 1275, except as indicated in this guidance document. 

5. Guidelines  

The following situations allow for waiver of the merit-based recruitment procedures required by SYS 1275.  Local institution policies control whether any particular waiver reason is available for any particular campus. 

A. New Hire- Special Circumstances

  1. Unique credentials – the candidate identified on the recruitment waiver request has specific, hard‐to‐find, and unique skill and/or experience that allows only that person to perform the duties of the job. It must be commonly accepted that there are only a few people who possess these necessary credentials, and as a result, there is no value in recruiting for the position.
  2. Veteran – used when hiring any veteran with a documented 30 percent or more service- connected disability. This waiver requires consultation with UWSHR to ensure that the appropriate documentation has been received and validated by The Office of Veterans Services.  See SYS 1203, Employment of Veterans.
  3. Spousal or partner hire – used for Academic, Faculty, Limited, and University Staff to employ or retain an employee by hiring the spouse/partner. Approval for spousal or partner hire waivers is contingent on the primary spouse/partner accepting employment with the Universities of Wisconsin or continuing in the current position.
  4. Official training or professional development programs – interns, fellows, trainees, apprentices, or employees maybe be hired into Academic and University Staff appointments after successfully completing official internships, fellowships, apprenticeships or certified professional development programs. 

B. Transfer/Reassignment/Reclassification 

  1. Temporary acting appointments – used for Academic Staff and Limited Appointees, up to two years, to meet interim departmental needs. Typically reserved for high-level administrative positions, and used until the recruitment is completed. See RPD 20-27, Selection Process for System President, Chancellors, Vice Chancellors and UW System Senior Leadership Positions.
  2. Training completion for Post Degree Training titles – used for Post Degree Training appointments, formerly Employees-in-Training (EIT), who have completed their training and are being appointed to an Academic Staff position in the same university department in which they have held the Post Degree Training position for at least 1.5 years. This waiver reason only applies to Research Associate and Postdoctoral Fellow/Trainee within the Post Degree Training titles. See WI Admin Code, section UWS 16.  See also SYS 1250, Job Security, Section 4.F.
  3. Reorganization- used when an existing department, office or school is reorganized and the existing employees within that department undergo title changes incident to the reorganization.   
  4. Position conversion (University Staff to Academic Staff or Limited Appointee/Academic Staff or Limited Appointee to University Staff) – used when position duties change from nonexempt to exempt resulting in a move from University Staff (nonexempt) to Academic Staff or a Limited Appointee (exempt); or when a position’s duties change from exempt to nonexempt resulting in a move from Academic Staff or Limited Appointee (exempt) to University Staff (nonexempt). See SYS 1257, Title Change.
  5. Employee voluntary reassignment choice – University Staff to Academic Staff or a Limited appointee – used when an employee moves from exempt University Staff to Academic Staff or a Limited Appointee.  See SYS 1287, Voluntary Reassignment of Certain Current University Staff to Academic Staff Positions.
  6. Reactivate concurrent appointment – used when reactivating a concurrent appointment. See SYS 1250, Job Security, section 4.A.
  7. Faculty to Academic Staff/Academic Staff to Faculty (FA to AS/AS to FA) – used when moving from a Faculty appointment to Academic Staff and vice versa. This is primarily used by divisions for their “track transfers.” Divisions have guidelines that allow the movement between clinical professor, CHS professor, and tenure track. Movement between CHS/clinical and tenure track Faculty appointments involves changing from Empl Class AS to FA or vice versa. OHR allows these appointment changes through the waiver process after the appropriate division and campus committees approve the change.  See WI Admin Code, sections UWS 3.01(c), UWS 3.06 and UWS 3.07.
  8. Performance-related demotion- used when an employee demonstrates an inability to perform up to expectations in an essential function of a position.  This may be when an employee fails to perform as required following a promotion and is subsequently demoted back to their previous position (usually during or at the conclusion of the probationary period).  May also be used when an employee’s performance deteriorates over time, or when the responsibilities of a position change and an incumbent employee is no longer able to meet the requirements of the position.  

C. Assignment of Supplemental Work 

  1. Dual role (Academic staff only) – This waiver reason is used to hire a current academic staff employee in a science/research position, into a second appointment in teaching/instructional work, or vice versa.  
  2. Summer Assignment – fixed-term terminal waiver reason is used for work done during the summer. Pay basis must be summer session or summer service. See SYS 1277, Compensation, section 6.D 

D. Temporary Assignments 

  1. Temporary University Staff – Institutions develop their own recruitment and assessment methods for hiring temporary university staff.  See SYS 1256, University Staff Temporary and Project Appointments, section 6.A.I.1.
  2. Leave of absence temporary replacement (ADA, FMLA, etc.) – used for Academic staff, Limited Appointees and University Staff when a terminal appointment is used to fill a position when an employee goes on a paid or an unpaid leave, and a replacement is necessary until the incumbent returns. Typically used for medical leaves. NOTE: If the incumbent terminates employment and does not return, an open recruitment is necessary to fill the position. 

E. Special Appointment Types 

  1. Appointments of 25 percent full-time equivalent or less – used for Academic and University Staff appointments at 25 percent FTE or less. The candidate does not need to be a current UW employee.
  2. Fixed-term terminal positions with a duration of less than one year – used for Academic Staff Fixed-Term Terminal appointments that will not exceed one year in length. 

F. Rehire in Special Circumstances 

  1. Rehired annuitant – used to employ Academic Staff, Limited Appointees, and University Staff who are retired UWSA employees.  See SYS 1229, Rehired Annuitants, section 4.A.
  2. Referral priority/re-employment of individuals impacted by layoff – used to employ former or current UWSA employees who have been impacted by layoff within the timeframe specified on their official layoff notifications. The referral priority/re-employment process applies to employees who have had their employment terminated (only applies to non-performance related) or who have been officially notified that their positions will be eliminated due to funding, budget, or program redirection. See SYS 1232, Layoff for Reasons of Budget or Program, sections 4.D and 4.GSee also WI Admin Code, sections UWS 5.17, UWS 5.18, UWS 12.08 and UWS 12.09.
  3. International employment rehires – used for Academic, Faculty, Limited, and University Staff in cases where an existing employee’s credentials (work visa, H1B, etc.) expire and the employee must end employment. After appropriate credentials are reestablished, the employee may be rehired using this waiver reason if the employee is determined to be again eligible for employment under USCIS rules.  See SYS 238, Payments to Nonresident Aliens. 

6. Contact 

Universities of Wisconsin Office of Human Resources 

7. Guideline History 

Original Issuance:  May 1, 2024

8. Scheduled Review 

March 2029