3.1 The Relationship of Professional and Scientific Staff Members to the University of Iowa

(Amended 9/93; 10/94; 12/94; 9/1/98; 7/1/99; 5/00; 3/02; 9/02; 5/04; 11/04; 8/05; 4/06; 7/06; 12/06; 7/08; 4/09; 11/09; 12/10; 5/11; 6/11; 8/11; 10/31/11; 7/12; 8/12; 6/13; 2/15; 7/1/17; 10/18; 7/22; 7/1/23)

Effective July 1, 2023, this policy has been revised. Individual changes are not highlighted.

  1. Staff members covered: professional and scientific staff members employed in that capacity for 50 percent or more of their time, excluding staff nurses and allied health professionals whose terms of employment are established in the UI Health Care Employee Manual (available through The Loop or from a local Human Resource Representative). Each staff member covered by this policy is appointed to one of the following five categories and provided specific written notice of the category at the time of appointment: 1) career status, 2) probationary status, 3) at-will status, 4) term status, 5) temporary status. A list of all P&S classifications, including the pay level/structure, career status eligibility, and probationary periods determined for each classification, is available through the Compensation and Classification website.
  2. Career status.
    1. Probationary staff members earn career status following completion of continuous and satisfactory performance in a position during the appropriate probationary period.
    2. In an action of dismissal for cause relating to the career status employee’s lack of satisfactory performance or university-related conduct, the university bears the burden of proof in an appeal through the professional and scientific grievance procedure.
  3. Probationary status.
    1. Probationary status is that time during which a staff member's performance is evaluated to determine whether the staff member performs at a level consistent with the departmental or other standards set for the position.
    2. The probationary period for specified term and career status eligible P&S classifications is 12 months.  In rare cases, the Chief Human Resources Officer or designee may authorize a decrease in the probationary period.
    3. If a staff member takes one or more leaves of absence without pay during their probationary period that exceeds 30 total calendar days, the total time of the leave(s) of absence does not count towards fulfilling the probationary period requirement. If a staff member is placed on administrative leave, the time on administrative leave does not count towards fulfilling the probationary period requirement.
    4. Performance will be evaluated prior to the end of the probationary period. (See III-3.2 Performance Review for University Staff.)
    5. A probationary period cannot be extended beyond the original end date without the concurrence of the staff member and of those offices which acted on the original appointment. A request by a department to extend the probationary period of an employee must be documented and presented to the staff member. Extension requests must be submitted to the Chief Human Resources Officer or designee at least 30 calendar days prior to the end of the probationary period.  If the probationary period is extended beyond one year, and if the employee receives notice of layoff during the probation extension, the three-month notice period in h below is applicable during probation.
    6. Probationary staff members may be terminated at any time during the probationary period. The staff member will be informed of the reason for termination.
    7. If a probationary staff member believes that their termination was improper, that staff member may appeal the termination through administrative review (see III-28.2 Administrative Review).
  4. Probation following appointment to a new position.
    1. Professional and scientific staff members with career status, who move into a position covered by this policy, will serve a 1-year probationary period culminating in career status following successful completion of the probationary period.

      Regular Merit and SEIU staff members who move into a position covered by this policy will serve a 1-year probationary period culminating in career status following successful completion of the probationary period. 

      In rare cases, the Chief Human Resources Officer or designee may authorize a decrease in the probationary period.
    2. Staff who are appointed to a new position while in probationary status ordinarily will start probationary status anew. An appointing department may request the Chief Human Resources Officer or designee to count prior probationary service toward completion of the probationary period in the new position.
    3. Staff who change classifications while remaining in their current position will retain career status in the new classification provided the classification carries career status. Staff in probationary status when any classification change is effective shall receive credit for the time already served in probationary status toward completion of any remaining probationary period.
  5. At-will status. At-will status applies to a staff member whose administrative, policy-making, leadership responsibilities, or performance with respect to their key areas of responsibility, could significantly impact the functioning or productivity of a department, program, and/or the institution. At-will status also applies to a staff member who holds a temporary appointment as described in paragraph g below. Staff members in classifications at pay level 6 and above are considered at-will for purposes of this policy and university employment unless otherwise designated by the Chief Human Resources Officer or designee.
    1. Staff members in classifications at or below pay level 5 may be considered at-will if they meet the definition directly above. To obtain approval to designate at-will status for a position in a classification at or below pay level 5, the dean or director of an administrative unit or designee must request at-will status in writing prior to beginning recruitment for the specific position in question. In rare cases, a position may be designated as at-will with an incumbent in the position if there are significant changes that align with the at-will definition above.  Any at-will request must be submitted to, and approved by, the Chief Human Resources Officer or designee. The employing department shall provide written notice and explanation of the at-will status.
    2. Staff members who are appointed at-will may be terminated at any time except as specified in paragraph h(2) below.
  6. Term status. Staff members may be appointed to term status for a specific period of time in order to accomplish a specific purpose, or when the duration of funding is limited or unknown. A term status employee will be subject to the same probationary period requirements described in c above.
    1. Reappointments to term status may be made at the discretion of the college/division.  A staff member in term status may be moved to career status at the discretion of the college/division, provided they have been in term status for at least one year.
    2. The nature and duration of such term appointments may be limited by contract. In the absence of special contract terms, term appointees may complete their terms unless they fail to demonstrate continued performance at a level necessary to meet the departmental or other standards for the position.
    3. In an appeal from a termination during the term of an appointment, the burden of proof shall be on the staff member. No right of reappointment shall be implied by an initial appointment. As a consequence, the notice provisions of paragraph h(1) below do not apply at the end of a term appointment.
  7. Temporary status. A staff member may serve in temporary status in a continuous appointment for not more than 2 fiscal years to meet an emergency or temporary need of the university. Temporary appointments of less than 75 percent (1560 hours) will not be subject to the 2-year appointment limitation. Staff members in temporary status serve "at will."
    1. If during the term of the 75 percent (1560 hours) or greater temporary appointment the department anticipates the position extending beyond 2 fiscal years, then an affirmative action search must be completed as soon as possible and completed prior to the end of the second fiscal year. An affirmative action search also must be completed if a temporary appointment of less than 75 percent (1560 hours) is increased to 75 percent (1560 hours) or more time and exceeds the temporary hours limit for two consecutive fiscal years. Exceptions include appointments in classifications experiencing a labor shortage.
    2. Limited extensions of temporary appointments of 75 percent or more time beyond 2 fiscal years are permitted in extenuating circumstances with the prior approval of the Chief Human Resources Officer or designee.
  8. Permanent layoffs.
    1. "Permanent layoff" means termination of employment due to the position being eliminated, or an involuntary permanent reduction in time accompanied by a proportionate reduction in salary, for reasons other than causes relating to lack of satisfactory performance or university-related conduct (e.g.  funding, reorganization in the project, department, college, or university).
    2. Notice of layoff. The application of the notice provisions of this subsection will be based on the individual's length of regular and continuous university service (seniority date) at the time the notice is given to the employee. If this notice is late, extended, or a new notice is issued, the application of these provisions will be based on the length of service when the extension or new notice is issued.
      1. Staff in career status who are laid off, and staff in probationary or term status who are laid off prior to the end of the probationary period or term, will receive notice in accordance with the following schedule:
        1. Three months’ notice during the first year of employment.
        2. Six months' notice thereafter.
      2. At-will staff who are laid off will receive a notice of three months.
      3. The notice provisions of this subsection will not apply if the Senior Vice President for Finance and Operations determines that notice of such duration would seriously impair the financial integrity of a major administrative unit (college or division) of the university.
    3. Colleges and organizational units seeking to implement permanent layoffs must submit a Reduction in Force plan for approval by the Chief Human Resources Officer or designee.  After approval of the plan, colleges and organizational units must forward letters of permanent layoff notification to the Chief Human Resources Officer or designee.
    4. Layoff priority consideration.  If qualified, staff members who have received notice of a permanent layoff or who are permanently laid off will have priority consideration for open regular professional and scientific positions at the University of Iowa, following the procedures described below:
      1. A laid-off employee who applies for an open position in any job family at their current pay level and below, and meets the required qualifications, will be offered an interview.

        The layoff applicant shall be interviewed by the department, along with other applicants selected for interview, utilizing the search committee that was established when the position was announced. The layoff applicant must invoke layoff priority consideration prior to or at the time of application to receive layoff consideration. The applicant must meet the required qualifications in order to be interviewed for the position.
      2. Layoff consideration will exist during the notice period and for one year following termination unless during that period the layoff applicant accepts a regular position or fails to accept an offer for a comparable position for which they qualify. If a layoff applicant does not accept a comparable position that has been offered, the Chief Human Resources Officer or designee will determine if layoff priority consideration will be preserved.
  9. Layoff lump-sum payment option.
    1. When a department determines that a position will be permanently eliminated, the department may offer the layoff lump sum payment option in lieu of the standard layoff notification period described under III-3.1h(3). This option is offered at the discretion of the department following approval from Chief Human Resources Officer or designee.
    2. Departments may elect to offer the layoff lump sum payment option even if it was not initially offered in the original layoff notification letter. The department will be required to initiate a new Reduction in Force (RIF) and a revised layoff notification letter offering the layoff lump sum payment option and revised notification dates.
    3. A 45-calendar-day notice period begins on the date the staff member receives the layoff notice including the lump sum option. The employee will remain employed during the notice period, and will receive priority consideration for vacant positions for which they are qualified during the 45-calendar-day notice period, and for one year after termination from the University of Iowa. The 45-calendar-day notice period may be reduced or waived based on the agreement of parties, but the notice period may not be less than 30 days from the initial notice date. The employee will be eligible for priority consideration for the period described in h(2)a above.
    4. At the end of the 45-calendar-day notice period, the staff member is paid a lump sum that is equivalent to three months’ salary.

      If the staff member secures a different regular position or terminates employment from the university for any reason before the end of the notice period, the lump-sum payment will not be paid.
    5. The university will contribute to COBRA employee only health insurance coverage for 12 months following the layoff termination. 
    6. If the department chooses to offer the lump-sum layoff option based on operating needs, the staff member has the right to choose the lump-sum or retain the standard notice period during which the staff member remains employed for the entire layoff notice period.

      The employee will have 3 weeks to respond with a decision on whether or not to accept the lump-sum option. If the employee does not respond within the 3-week period, the layoff process described in III-3.1i will be followed. Whichever option goes into effect, the respective notice period begins on the date the staff member was given the written notice of job elimination.
    7. Once the lump-sum option has been offered and accepted, it may be revoked at any time during the 45-calendar-day notice period with written agreement by both parties.
  10. Layoff Networking Program. The University of Iowa Layoff Networking Program is available to professional and scientific (P&S) non-organized employees who have received a permanent layoff notification letter or currently are permanently laid off ("laid-off employee").

    In order to facilitate the placement of laid-off employees at the University of Iowa, the following process may be used to secure regular P&S non-organized positions:
    1. Laid-off employees and/or Human Resources Representatives may initiate contact with departments across campus to determine what employment opportunities may be available.
    2. If a department has an open position and wants to fill it with a laid-off employee, they may do so before or during the advertising process.
    3. If a department does not have an open position but wishes to hire the laid-off employee, they may request the creation of a new position.
    4. The transfer is completed using the HR Transaction Guidelines.
      1. Staff shall transfer to the new position with the appropriate status based on the designation of the position. A probationary or specified term employee with less than one year of regular continuous service will serve additional time in probationary status as described in d1 above.
      2. By accepting a transfer into a regular P&S non-organized position, the employee no longer will have layoff rights/priority consideration for regular P&S non-organized positions.
      3. By accepting a transfer to the into a temporary position, the laid-off employee will retain layoff/priority consideration for regular P&S non-organized positions until such time layoff/priority consideration ends.
  11. Temporary furloughs for non-organized professional and scientific staff (2/1/22).
    1. Purpose. The university may implement temporary furloughs for non-organized professional and scientific staff members to manage budget requirements. Such temporary measures will be implemented in a systematic and nondiscriminatory manner that complies with all applicable federal and state laws, rules, and regulations.  
    2. Scope. This policy applies to temporary furlough of non-organized regular professional and scientific staff members in career status, probationary status, at-will status, and specified term status, as defined here in III-3.1.
    3. Definition. Within the scope of this policy, “temporary furlough” means the placement of an employee on a nondisciplinary unpaid leave of absence for a period of fewer than 25 workdays or 200 hours of work per calendar year.
    4. Duration and conditions. Temporary furloughs for professional and scientific staff may be administered in increments of a workweek as defined by the university per the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Salary adjustments will be calculated based on the payroll calendar for the employee’s appointment type, either fiscal year or academic year appointment. Departments will have the discretion to schedule the temporary furlough within the parameters established in this policy and are encouraged to consider the staff member’s preferences to the extent possible without interfering with operational needs. If the designated furlough week encompasses a paid university holiday, the department may choose to allow the staff member to receive holiday pay.1  For any individual employee, temporary furlough periods may be scheduled no more than four times per calendar year. Departments may not schedule a temporary furlough in a manner that affects the staff member’s eligibility for university benefits, such as in the case of a furlough that extends for an entire calendar month. The staff member must be in paid status for some portion of each calendar month to maintain benefits eligibility.

      During a designated furlough period, the staff member shall not be required nor permitted to perform any university-related work. This prohibition includes but is not limited to on-campus or remote work, phone calls, email reading or response, and troubleshooting activities. Exceptions require prior written approval by the dean/vice president or designee, as well as the Chief Human Resources Officer or designee. If such exceptions are granted, the employing department must maintain records of the actual hours worked by the employee during the temporary furlough period. Exempt staff members will be considered as non-exempt for the workweek in which the furlough occurs and will return to exempt status after the temporary furlough period.  Staff members (exempt or non-exempt) are not allowed to work overtime hours during the week in which furlough days are taken. The staff member will return to their position and regular work hours following the temporary furlough.

      Staff members on temporary furloughs may not utilize paid leave.
    5. Benefits. During a temporary furlough, the staff member will continue to receive university benefits.  The university will continue to provide the regular university contribution toward benefit plans (health, dental, long-term disability, life). Paid leave accruals will continue during the temporary furlough period. Retirement contributions will not be made for the temporary furlough period.
    6. Designation. The designation of affected staff members should be equitable and consistent within the department based on employee category and classification. Temporary furloughs will not be used to address disciplinary or performance-related concerns. 
    7. Notice. Staff members will be given at least 30 calendar days’ notice of the temporary furlough.
    8.  Exclusions. Certain employee groups may be excluded, where such temporary furloughs would be restricted by state or federal laws, rules, or regulations.  Excluded employee groups, such as H1-B visa holders, may be subject to a temporary salary reduction and/or be required to utilize vacation leave in an amount equivalent to the temporary furlough.  
    9. Temporary furlough plan. When a college/organization determines that it is necessary to implement temporary furloughs to meet budgetary requirements, the college/organization will develop a temporary furlough plan that provides the budgetary justification for the temporary furlough, specifies the classifications and departments of employees subject to the temporary furlough, and an explanation as to why the selected classifications were selected. The temporary furlough plan must be reviewed by the Office of the President and approved by the Chief Human Resources Officer or designee before announcement and implementation. Approval by the Chief Human Resources Officer or designee constitutes final university action.


1. Operations Manual III-23.1b(4) allows holiday pay when the employee has not worked their last regularly scheduled day before and/or their first regularly scheduled day after the holiday if the absence was caused by “extraordinary circumstances beyond the control of the staff member.” The temporary furlough period qualifies as such extraordinary circumstances that will allow holiday pay.