Merit to P&S Classification Review

The following information is intended for convenient reference only for individuals and departments wishing to review occupied Merit positions for a possible career shift into a P&S classification. The Merit to P&S classification review process is governed by the University of Iowa Operations Manual.  There are multiple factors to consider when initiating this type of request including but not limited to: hours worked; salary; health care and retirement benefits; vacation accruals; and FLSA exemption status.

Definitions

When the duties and responsibilities of a position substantially differ from those established in the Board of Regents general position description for the current classification, the position may be considered for a career shift to a P&S classification.

“Career shift” is the process initiated by a regular employee, supervisor or department representative requesting review of the classification of the employee's position.

“Classification appeal” is the act of contesting the classification or reclassification of a position as determined by the college/org.  The decision made by University Human Resources is not subject to appeal.

Procedure

A staff member, supervisor, or department/administrative unit initiates a Merit to P&S classification change request by preparing the required Career Development Form (docx). The form must specify:

  • the employee’s name
  • the employee’s current classification
  • the appropriate target classification
  • specific duties and responsibilities of the position

Additional comments may be submitted on a department memo (optional). All documentation will be attached to a Change of Status – P&S Classification Change (Career Shift).  Note that the effective date of the classification change is dependent on whether or not there is a change in health care benefits.

  • If there is not a change in health care benefits, the effective date of a Merit to P&S classification change shall be effective on the 1st day of the month following University Human Resources approval.  This is true when moving from a Merit Supervisory Exempt classification into a P&S classification.
  • If there is a change in health care benefits, the effective date of a Merit to P&S classification change shall be effective on the 2nd day of the month following University Human Resources approval.  This is true when moving from a Merit Bargaining classification into a P&S classification.

In order to help determine the proper classification, you may review the key areas of responsibility for each P&S classification

Approval

A Merit to P&S classification change request should be reviewed at three stages before advancing to Compensation and Classification:

  • The employee/position's supervisor
  • The departmental representative
  • The employee's org/college senior HR representative

In the course of reviewing the classification change reclassification request, Compensation and Classification may refer the information to a review committee or request additional information through a desk audit (personal interview of employee and/or supervisor).

The Merit to P&S classification change request then advances to the Board of Regents for final approval.

Compensation

Salary adjustments upon reclassification are governed by the P&S Career Shift policies and procedures. 

Pay plans for Merit and P&S can be viewed within the Pay Plans Directory.

Benefits

The impact on an individual’s benefits is an important consideration when considering a move from Merit to P&S.  Please note that each individual’s situation is different and you are encouraged to contact a Benefits Specialist for specific information.  You are also encouraged to visit the Benefits website for more general information.  A benefits calculator is also offered by the Benefits Office which is used to help determine the cost of a P&S benefits package.

Specific benefits considerations include:

  • Health care coverage
  • Vacation accruals
    • 16 hours per month (24 days per year) for a full-time P&S employee
    • Merit accruals vary based on years of service as follows:
      • 0-4 years = 6.67 hours per month (10 days per year)
      • 5-11 years = 10 hours per month (15 days per year)
      • 12-19 years = 13.33 hours per month (20 days per year)
      • 20-24 years = 14.67 hours per month (22 days per year)
      • 25+ years = 16.67 hours per month (25 days per year)
  • Sick leave accruals
    • 12 hours per month (18 days per year) for full-time Merit and P&S employees
  • Retirement benefits
    • University Retirement Plan: cannot be changed once selected at time of hire
    • Benefits when retiring as a Merit vs. P&S employee should be discussed with a Benefits Specialist

Hours Worked, FLSA Status and Position Expectations

An employee in a professional position is generally considered exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  Professional staff will consistently exercise independent judgment, make decisions on matters of significance, operate independently and perform tasks above and beyond those described in Merit classifications

The University of Iowa reviews classifications and individual positions in regards to FLSA status.  Exempt positions are not eligible for overtime benefits and the number of hours worked in a week may fluctuate but this does not impact the employee’s pay.  The University of Iowa Human Resource department reserves the right to conduct desk audits in order to remain compliant with FLSA designations.  It is a general expectation that any position moving from Merit to P&S will be considered exempt from FLSA.

Layoff Implications

In the event of a reduction in force, there are different rights and processes in Merit and P&S. 

For more information on Merit to P&S Classification Reviews, contact Compensation and Classification.