Employee Classifications

Policy number: 7.7

Policy section: Human Resources

Revised Date: January 2, 2019


1. Policy Statement

It is the intent of the University to establish and maintain employee classifications in a manner that assures compliance with federal and state laws and facilitates the University’s long-range workforce planning and development needs.

2. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to outline classifications of employees that are used to determine appropriate payment of wages and salaries under wage and hour laws, and to determine eligibility for University benefits, including, but not limited to, health plans, life and disability plans, retirement plans, tuition benefits, medical leave, and vacation.

3. Applicability

This policy applies to all employees of the University as well as any individuals that represent the University or undertake tasks on its behalf.

4. Department Administrative Rules, Procedures, and Guidelines

  1. The Department of Human Resources, under the purview of the Vice President-Business and Finance, has oversight and administrative responsibility for this policy. The Department of Human Resources partners with Vice Presidents, University Deans, department heads, and supervisors to develop and effectively administer employee classifications, compensation and benefits eligibility.
  2. Detailed information regarding University employee classifications, for purposes of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) Wage and Hour regulations and benefits eligibility, can be found in Appendix A below and on the Human Resources website.

5. Questions

Questions regarding this policy should be directed to the Department of Human Resources at smuhr@smu.edu.

Appendix A: Classifications for Wage and Hour Compliance

The FLSA is a federal law, enforced by the United States Department of Labor, which requires businesses to comply with key areas of federal wage and hour regulations. Employee classification under the FLSA refers to the exempt or non-exempt status of employees.

  1. Exempt: An exempt employee is one who is not subject to the minimum wage and overtime requirements of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and analogous state law. The determination of whether an employee’s job is exempt is based on tests established by the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor. Due to the complexity and changing nature of these tests, determination of exempt status is made by the Department of Human Resources.
  2. Non-exempt: A non-exempt employee is one who is subject to the minimum wage and overtime requirements of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and analogous state law. This determination is also made by the Department of Human Resources. Non-exempt employees must be paid at least the minimum wage, unless a subminimum rate is allowed by law, and they must be paid 1.5 times their “regular rate” for all time worked in excess of 40 hours in a “work week” as defined by the University. See University Policy 7.9, Office Hours and Work Week.

Classifications: Benefits-Eligible Employees

The following classifications are used to determine eligibility for certain University employee benefits. Unless coverage is disclaimed below, these employee classifications are eligible to participate in Medical, Dental, Vision, Basic and Supplemental Life Insurance, Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance (“AD&D”), Long-Term Disability, Long-Term Care Insurance, Flexible Spending Accounts, Health Savings Account, 403(b) Retirement Plan, Emeriti Health Account, Tuition Benefits, Maternity and Adoption Leave, Medical Leave, Vacation, Civic Responsibility Leave, Bereavement Leave, Military Leave, and paid business interruption.

  1. Full-time Employees: Individuals regularly scheduled to work 35 hours per work week or more. Full-time faculty members are included in this group, regardless of the number of hours they work each week.
  2. Full-time Partial Year Employees: Individuals regularly scheduled to work 35 hours per work week or more, for at least nine but less than a twelve-month period. During the months they are not on payroll, they will maintain their participation in the University’s benefits programs. Premiums for benefits, such as Medical, Dental, Vision, and Supplemental Life Insurance, are prorated over nine, ten, or eleven months, as applicable, so that annual premiums paid are equal to the amount paid by full-time employees working a twelve-month schedule.
  3. Part-time Employees: Individuals regularly scheduled to work at least 20 hours but less than 35 hours per work week. This classification is not eligible for tuition benefits (see University Policy 7.11, Tuition Benefits) and may only contribute to the Emeriti Health Account on an after-tax basis with no University matching contributions.
  4. Part-time Partial Year Employees: Individuals regularly scheduled to work at least 20 but less than 35 hours per work week, for at least nine but less than a twelve-month period. During the months they are not on payroll, they will maintain their participation in the University’s benefits programs. Premiums for benefits, such as Medical, Dental, Vision and Supplemental Life Insurance are prorated over nine, ten, or eleven months, as applicable, so that annual premiums paid are equal to the amount paid by full-time employees working a twelve-month schedule. This classification is not eligible for tuition benefits and may only contribute to the Emeriti Health Account on an after-tax basis with no University matching contributions.
  5. Post-Doctoral Fellows: Individuals typically employed for a limited period of time of at least nine months and may work on a full-time or part-time basis. This classification is not eligible for 403(b) Retirement Plan matching contributions, the Emeriti Health Account, Long-Term Disability, Vacation, Civic Responsibility Leave, Bereavement Leave, Military Leave, and Tuition Benefits. Basic Group Life Insurance coverage is limited to $10,000.

Classifications: Not Benefits-Eligible Employees

  1. Temporary, Full-time Employees: Individuals regularly scheduled to work 35 hours per work week or more, for one year or less from date of hire. Temporary employees are not eligible to receive the benefits addressed above but may contribute to the 403(b) retirement plan on a voluntary basis, with no University matching contributions.
  2. Temporary, Part-time Employees: Individuals regularly scheduled to work less than 35 hours per work week. Adjunct Faculty and other part-time Faculty, as defined in the University Policy on Faculty Ranks, Classifications, and Terms of Appointment, are in this category. Temporary employees are not eligible to receive the benefits discussed above but may contribute to the 403(b) retirement plan on a voluntary basis, with no University matching contributions.
  3. Student Employees: Individuals whose primary reason for being at the University is to be enrolled in an academic program, but who may work part-time for various departments on campus. Students are not eligible to receive the employee benefits discussed above. As students, they must provide documentation of insurance coverage or enroll in the Student Health Insurance Plan.
  4. Non-Employees: Independent contractors may be hired on a project basis, to perform work that is normally not done by SMU employees. In order to satisfy various statutory tests, including, but not limited to, economic independence and not being subject to SMU’s control, the determination of whether an individual can be hired on this basis rests with the Department of Human Resources and the Tax Compliance Department. Independent contractors are not employees, are not eligible for SMU employee benefits, and are not subject to employee policies and procedures.

Revised: January 2, 2019

Adopted: March 2, 2015