University Administrative Policies


UNM_Policy_Office-L communicates important policy announcements (such as policy approvals, revisions, or campus review-and-comment periods).

UNM Policy Office

MSC05 3357
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131

Physical Location:
Scholes Hall
114 A and B

Phone: (505) 277-2069

Administrative Policies and Procedures Manual - Policy 3200: Employee Classification

Date Originally Issued: 05-01-1990
Revised: 10-15-1995, 01-29-1999, 01-01-2012, 05-15-2015, 06-27-2016, 12-12-2016

Authorized by RPM 6.3 ("Privileges and Benefits")

Process Owner:  Vice President for Human Resources

1. General

This policy describes the various classifications of positions in terms of Fair Labor Standards Act employment designations (exempt or nonexempt) and employee status definition (full-time, part-time, term appointment, contract, temporary, and on-call). This policy does not pertain to the University’s Staff Position Classification system.  For information regarding position classification of staff employees, refer to UAP 3500 (“Wage and Salary Administration”). This policy addresses staff employees only. For information on faculty, students, and graduate assistants, contact the Office of Faculty Affairs and Services (Main Campus and Branch Campuses) or the Office of Academic Affairs (HSC), the Student Employment Office, and the Graduate Studies Office, respectively. For information on independent contractors refer to UAP 4325 ("Purchasing Services From Independent Contractors").

2. Employee Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Designation

The Fair Labor Standards Act, as amended, classifies employee positions as either "exempt" or "nonexempt." The FLSA classification designation of a position determines how employees may be paid, among other things, for hours worked in excess of forty (40) hours per week and whether or not they are subject to the minimum wage and overtime provisions of the FLSA. The Division of Human Resources determines which positions will be exempt or nonexempt.

2.1. Exempt Employees

Exempt employees are salaried employees paid on the monthly payroll and are not subject to the minimum wage and overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Exempt employee positions include such positions as directors, managers, and professional staff, such as engineers, attorneys, and physicians. This list is for illustrative purposes only, and is not meant to be all inclusive. 

2.1.1. Part-time Employees Administered as "Nonexempt"

Employees in otherwise "exempt" position classifications who, by virtue of reduced appointment percentage (FTE), receive an actual salary rate that is less than the FLSA threshold must be administered as “nonexempt” during that period, regardless of the amount of their annualized FTE pay rate. Some exceptions may apply.

2.2. Nonexempt Employees

Nonexempt employees are employees paid on an hourly basis and are subject to the minimum wage and overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Nonexempt staff employees are paid on the bi-weekly payroll and hours worked are tracked and recorded in the appropriate timekeeping system. They are entitled to premium compensation for overtime work. See UAP 3305 ("Overtime") and UAP 3310 ("Compensatory Time") for information on compensation for overtime hours.

3. Regular Employees

Regular employees are appointed for an indefinite period of time subject to satisfactory performance and availability of funding.

3.1. Regular Full-Time Employees

A regular full-time employee is normally scheduled to work at least forty (40) hours per week.

3.1.2. Regular Part-Time Employees

A regular part-time employee is normally hired for an indefinite period of time and is scheduled to work less than forty (40) hours per week. 

4. Term Appointment Employees

A term appointment employee is hired (full-time or part-time) into a position that is designated to run for a defined period of time. This may happen for various reasons: such as, the position is funded from non-recurring sources (e.g., contracts and grants) or the position is needed to complete a special project. Term employees are normally hired for periods greater than three (3) months and less than two (2) years.

Depending on the length of an appointment period, a formal competitive search may be required. Term appointments for periods that do not exceed two (2) consecutive years do not require a formal recruitment. Term appointments that will exceed two (2) years are required to conduct a competitive search, either at the time of recruitment or prior to the expiration of the two (2) year period.  Term appointments without a formal recruitment are not eligible for any extension, with the exception of a term employee named in a contract or grant; see Section 5.5 of UAP 3210 (“Recruitment and Hiring”).

Employees hired for a term appointment will be separated from the University as of the specified date unless the supervisor notifies the employee that the appointment will be extended.  An extension does not imply a commitment of employment beyond the duration specified.  For the specified period of appointment, term employees are entitled to all other rights and privileges as regular status employees, except the right to grieve separation at the end of the appointment. Term appointment employees are not placed on layoff status at the end of the appointment. For information on layoff status refer to UAP 3225 ("Separation of Employment").

5. Contract Employees

Contract employees are hired into certain senior positions designated by the President to serve for a specific period of time. The responsibility associated with the position is judged to be such that the University must reserve the right to renew or not renew the contract of the incumbent in the position when such contract expires. Contracts are normally written for one (1) year terms. Except for the University's right either to renew or not renew an administrator's contract, and except for matters specifically set forth in such contract (including duties and salary), the benefits, terms, and conditions of employment of an administrator on contract shall be governed by the University's personnel policies and procedures, found in Section 3000 of the University Administrative Policies and Procedures Manual. For further information refer to UAP 3240 ("Contract Employees").

6. Temporary Employees

A temporary employee is hired to work a reasonably predictable schedule, full-time or part-time, for a period not to exceed twelve (12) consecutive months. Temporary positions are normally not renewable; however, short-term extensions may be granted with the approval of the employee's dean, director, or department head, and the Division of Human Resources. Individuals hired on twelve (12) month professional service appointments are classified as temporary employees; refer to Section 5.1 of UAP 3210 ("Recruitment and Hiring").

7. On-Call Employees

An on-call employee is employed on an intermittent basis to work special events, during peak work periods, to fill in for an absent employee, and in other similar circumstances. An on-call position may be renewed by the employee's dean, director, or department head subject to approval from the Division of Human Resources for approval. Refer to UAP 3210 ("Recruitment and Hiring").

8. Employees Holding Multiple Positions

An employee working two (2) regular part-time positions, totaling forty (40) hours per week, will be considered a regular full-time employee. If the total hours regularly worked are less than forty (40), the employee will be considered regular part-time. An employee working a regular part-time and a temporary or on-call position will be considered a regular part-time employee.  An employee may not be routinely paid on more than one (1) payroll (such as both monthly and biweekly). If employed in two (2) positions, one (1) exempt and one (1) nonexempt, the employee will be considered nonexempt and both positions will be paid on the biweekly staff payroll.

9. Change from Term Appointment, Temporary, or On-Call to Regular Status

When a position is changed from term appointment, temporary, or on-call status to regular status, the position is considered to be a new position and should be treated in accordance with UAP 3210 ("Recruitment and Hiring"). The incumbent of the term appointment, temporary, or on-call position may be considered for the regular position.

10. Positions Covered Under a Collective Bargaining Agreement

Some regular staff positions at 0.5 FTE or greater are covered under a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).  Position titles covered under a CBA will have this noted on the Position Description under “conditions of employment.”  For terms that may differ from University policy or questions regarding labor relations at UNM, please go to the Labor Relations Section on the 

HR Website.