The compensation philosophy and base pay administration overview at the University.

301 - Compensation Philosophy and Base Pay Administration Overview

Section: U301

Date: February 2015



To describe the compensation philosophy and base pay administration overview at the University.


The University of Chicago is committed to providing a comprehensive total rewards program to attract, retain and reward highly qualified, diverse, and productive employees. Additionally, the compensation program will comply with all applicable laws and contractual requirements.


A. Compensation Philosophy: The University of Chicago is committed to providing a comprehensive total rewards program to attract, retain and reward highly qualified, diverse, and productive employees. To facilitate achievement of our compensation philosophy, we apply the following design objectives:

• The total rewards program emphasizes alignment of employee efforts and results to support the University’s mission and goals.

• The University strives to be both externally competitive in relevant labor markets and internally equitable.

• The program also promotes fiscally responsible pay decisions, encourages efficient use of University resources, and ensures compliance with applicable legal and contractual requirements.

B. Base Pay Administration Overview

1. All positions must have a job description which accurately describes the essential functions, job-related qualifications (i.e., experience, education, and functional competencies), FLSA exemption status, working conditions, and mental and physical requirements. Please refer to Policy 302 Job Descriptions for additional details.

2. Positions are evaluated based upon the job content in the job description. Please refer to Policy 303 Job Evaluation for additional details.

3. Critical inputs into a base pay decision include employee performance, relevant skills and job experience, external market data, internal peer data, and budget availability.

4. HR Partners, in conjunction with unit leadership, review non-union staff employee base pay during the following activities:

a. Job evaluation process

b. Annual compensation process

c. Employee job changes such as promotions, demotions, and changes in scope of responsibility

5. All pay decisions must conform to the University’s policy of equal employment opportunity, and federal, state, and local laws and regulations.

C. Annual Compensation Planning

1. The annual compensation process is our formal process for reviewing non-union employee base pay levels. This process provides HR Partners and managers the opportunity to review base pay levels and make appropriate adjustments to ensure base pay levels are differentiated to reflect performance, and remain externally competitive and internally equitable.

2. Performance evaluations are recommended for all employees either before or in conjunction with the annual compensation cycle. If a formal performance review process is not currently in place, managers should document and then consider employee performance when making base pay decisions.

3. To recognize and differentiate employee performance, pay guidelines, as a percent of budget, have been established for each annual performance rating.

4. All active, non-union staff employees are eligible for the annual compensation process.

o The University common review date is July 1 for monthly paid employees, and the closest pay period to July 1 for biweekly paid employees.

5. The annual compensation process timeline is established to align with the fiscal year of the University.

6. Employee job changes, such as promotion, demotion, transfer and changes in scope of responsibility may impact base pay. HR Partners can collaborate with the compensation team to facilitate the job evaluation process, which may or may not result in an adjustment to the base pay level.

7. Under exceptional circumstances (i.e., grant funding availability) off cycle base pay adjustments may be given to an employee outside of the annual compensation process. HR Partners can collaborate with the compensation team to determine an appropriate approach to update the base pay for an employee.

8. Under exceptional circumstances, back pay (i.e., making base pay retroactive to a specific date) can be given to an employee, up to a maximum of one month, provided timing is within the same calendar year.


Employees represented by a bargaining unit may be governed by the appropriate bargaining unit agreement.

302 - Job Descriptions

Section: U302

Date: October, 2016


To establish a standardized process for documenting the roles and responsibilities of positions within the University. Job descriptions define the talent role and inform role expectations.


All positions must have a job description which defines the purpose, scope and level of impact, describes the work to be performed (i.e., essential functions, job-related qualifications), outlines specific responsibilities and duties, summarizes the competencies (i.e., knowledge, skills and abilities) required, and articulates the FLSA exemption status, working conditions, and mental and physical requirements. The job description template provides a consistent format for summarizing a position, percentage of time dedicated to specific responsibilities, and provides a common platform for the job evaluation process. Keep in mind, Job descriptions define the role, not the incumbent performing the role. Job descriptions are the foundational elements used in the following processes:

• Job code and title review – determine the appropriate job profile (i.e., job code and title assignment)

• Job evaluation – begins with job code and title review, FLSA exemption review, and includes alignment of base pay with level of role and scope of responsibility, leveraging both internal peer and external market data to inform decision process

• Talent Acquisition process – provide guidance for candidate evaluation and selection

• Training & Development – identify growth and development opportunities

• Performance management process – define expectations of role and provide basis for evaluation.


1. People manager partners with the employee to author, review, and update the job description to accuracy reflect the role.

2. Human Resources Partner (HR Partner), in conjunction with the people manager, are responsible for ensuring job descriptions are kept current and accurately capture the position’s purpose.

3. Under exceptional circumstances, job profile updates (i.e., changing job profile assignment) can be given to an employee, retroactively to a maximum of three months, providing timing is within the same calendar year. Note, job profile updates may result in a posting requirement.

4. The HR Partner will use both Workday and UChicago Jobs to communicate new and updated job descriptions to HR-Compensation (non-union roles) and HR-Employee and Labor Relations (union roles). Job descriptions are required for all requisitions submitted through UChicago Jobs.

5. It is best practice to review the job description on a quarterly basis as part of the performance management dialogue and annual compensation process; and continue to update as the role evolves. This gives both the employee and the people manager the opportunity align on the role and expectations.

6. Additional details are available at job profile resources on HR Connect, including job description template and best practices in authoring an effective job description.

Employees represented by a bargaining unit may be governed by the appropriate bargaining unit agreement.

303 - Job Evaluation

Section: U303

Date: February 2015



To describe the holistic job evaluation process at the University of Chicago. This process begins with a review and analysis of a current job description, and includes a recommendation of an appropriate job code, job title, and base pay range that aligns with level of role, scope of responsibility, and is informed by internal and external data.


Positions are evaluated based upon the job content in the job description. This holistic process begins with a review and analysis of a current job description whereby the job is assigned to an appropriate job code and job title as compared to comparable positions (i.e., having similarly leveled roles and scope of responsibilities). The HR Partner reviews internal peer data and external market data, to inform the base pay decision process. HR-Compensation is available to help the HR Partner in recommending a base pay range, as needed. Officer and Senior Administration level positions must be approved by the President, the Provost, the Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO), and/or the Board of Trustees.


A. Job Evaluation for Staff

1. A position is evaluated based upon the job content in the job description. Job evaluation is an evaluation of the job, not a specific employee performing the job. The employee-specific skill set, education, experience, and performance are irrelevant to the job evaluation process.

2. A job is also defined as being within or outside a bargaining unit (i.e. as a union or non-union position).

3. Additionally, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) exemption status (i.e., exempt or non-exempt) of a position is determined by the FLSA Exemption Review Protocol. The FLSA Exemption Review Protocol follows the Fair Labor Standards Act and regulations, and outlines the partnership between the HR Partner, the FLSA Review Team, and Office of Legal Counsel. Please refer to FLSA Exemption Review Protocol for process details, tools and resources.

4. Positions are also categorized by the number of hours worked (i.e., full or part-time), and duration of position (i.e., staff or temporary).

5. Based upon the review and analysis of the factors described above (i.e., job description review, bargaining unit representation, FLSA exemption status, hours worked, and position duration), the job is assigned to an appropriate job code and job title.

6. Both internal peer data and external market data are used to inform an appropriate base pay range for a position. The following factors inform the base pay range:

a. Level and contribution of the role in relationship to the internal team hierarchy. How does the job fit into the current structure?

b. Internal peer data. Internal peer data is available for positions with five or more incumbents within the same job code and job title. Data is effective as of mid-May to inform the base pay decisions made during the annual compensation process, which begins in the early June timeframe.

c. External market data. External market data reflects the best practice of using a +/-10% range around the 50th percentile (or median) of the market data. Data is effective as of July 1 to align with the annual compensation process. Given the sensitivity of pay data, external market data is shared with HR Partners only.

d. Budget, to ensure funding is available to provide base pay at a level which is internally equitable, externally competitive, and aligned appropriately with the level of the role.

e. Consulting with HR-Compensation, as needed, at the beginning stages of defining a job.

i. If internal peer data and external market data is unavailable, the HR Partner can ask HR-Compensation for additional base pay reference points.

ii. This proactive approach ensures pay is aligned with role, resolves any job title assignment and pay questions before jobs are posted, and facilitates an informed base pay discussion during the interview process.

B. Survey Library

1. HR-Compensation manages the University staff market data survey library.

2. HR-Compensation reviews and updates the library annually to ensure external market data is kept current.

3. The library is a compilation of surveys reflecting:

a. General industry from top tier industry leaders-Towers Watson and Mercer,

b. Higher education-College & University Professional Association (CUPA) and Western Management Ivy Plus, and c. Functional specific (i.e. health care).

4. To preserve data confidentiality, base pay information is shared when all of the following criteria are met:

a. Base pay data is collected through a survey processed by a third party, and not one of the participating organizations,

b. A minimum of five (5) organizations participate in the survey, and

c. Base pay data is current or historical, not reflective of future planning.

d. Requests to participate in a base pay survey must be referred to compensation team.

C. Job Evaluation for Officers and Senior Administrators Definitions:

• These positions include, but are not limited to, those titled as Vice-President, Associate or Assistant Vice President, Associate or Assistant Provost, Associate or Assistant Comptroller, and Secretary; job codes typically begin with 89 numeric series.

• Officers – As defined by the University Bylaws, these positions are titled as Vice-President, Secretary and other such Officers as recommended by the President. Positions titled President and Provost are excluded for the purpose of this policy.

• Senior Administrators – These positions are titled Associate, Senior Associate or Assistant Vice President, Associate or Assistant Provost, Associate or Assistant Comptroller, and other such senior administrators as recommended by the President.


For Officers:

1. Only the President or the Provost are eligible to request job evaluations for positions with the defined Officer titles.

2. Job evaluation requests must be submitted to the President, Provost, and CHRO for review. The President, Provost, and CHRO may request additional information.

3. If approved, the President will make the Officer recommendation to the Board of Trustees by a docket to the Board of Trustees, as indicated in the Bylaws of the University. The Secretary of the Board will share the resolution of the Board Member discussion with the CHRO.

For Senior Administrators:

1. Only Officers and his/her HR Partner are eligible to request job evaluations for positions with the defined Senior Administrator titles.

2. Job evaluation requests must be submitted to the CHRO for review. The CHRO may request additional information. The CHRO will communicate the final decision.

D. At-Will Employment

Officers, Senior Administrators and non-union staff employees are employed at-will, which means that they or the University can terminate their employment at any time and for any lawful reason, with or without advance notice. The only exception to incumbents’ at-will status is where the University has entered into a written employment contract with the incumbent. Exceptions can be made only under the authority of the President and Provost. These exception contracts must be in writing, reviewed by the Office of Legal Counsel, and signed by either the President or the Provost.


Employees represented by a bargaining unit may be governed by the appropriate bargaining unit agreement.

304 - Compensable Time, Record-Keeping, and Tracking Absences

Section: U304

Date: February 2015


To ensure University compliance with laws governing compensable time and overtime, including the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Illinois Minimum Wage Law, and Illinois One Day Rest in Seven Act.


The University’s pay practices and procedures are governed by the FLSA and its regulations, relevant state and local laws and University policy.


FLSA: a federal law which establishes requirements for minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor standards affecting full and part-time employees in the private sector and in Federal, State and local governments. Under the FLSA, employees are generally presumed to be non-exempt and entitled to overtime pay when they work more than 40 hours in a workweek unless their duties, responsibilities, and salaries meet specific, defined exemption criteria. Exempt employees are not entitled to receive overtime even if they work more than 40 hours in a workweek.

• To determine exempt status, please refer to FLSA Exemption Review Protocol.

• For additional information about the FLSA, please refer to publications of the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor at

Illinois Minimum Wage Law: guarantees a minimum hourly wage for most non-exempt employees 18 years of age and older and provides for overtime payments consistent with the FLSA; workers under 18 years of age may be paid a specific amount less than the adult minimum wage. For additional details, please refer to the Illinois Department of Labor website at

Illinois One Day Rest in Seven Act (ODRISA): provides that most FLSA non-exempt employees must have a minimum of 24 consecutive hours rest in each calendar week and a meal period of 20 minutes for every 7.5 hour shift, with the meal period beginning no later than 5 hours after the start of the shift. Meal periods for employees represented by a union are typically defined in the union bargaining agreement. For additional details, please refer to Illinois Department of Labor website at


1. The FLSA regulations establish criteria for exemption from the FLSA’s overtime payment requirements. The University must follow these regulations in determining whether a position is exempt or non-exempt from the FLSA’s overtime requirement.

2. The FLSA Exemption Review Protocol describes the process for reviewing and determining the FLSA exemption status of positions at the University of Chicago.


A. Overtime

1. Non-exempt employees are subject to the overtime provisions of the FLSA and must be compensated for all hours worked, either at a straight time or overtime rate as defined below. By contrast, exempt employees are not eligible for overtime payment.

2. As governed by the FLSA, a non-exempt employee who works more than 40 hours in a workweek, must be paid an overtime rate of 1.5 times his/her regular hourly rate of pay for all time actually worked in excess of 40 hours in the workweek. If a non-exempt employee works more than the regularly scheduled hours in a workweek, but less than forty 40 hours per week, the employee is paid at the hourly straight-time rate.

3. When calculating overtime at 1.5 times the regular rate of pay for time worked in excess of 40 hours in a given workweek, only actual time worked is used. Time charged to vacation, sick, personal holiday, University holiday or other paid/unpaid time-off must not be included in this calculation.

4. A non-exempt employee should not work in excess of his/her regularly scheduled work hours without prior manager approval. When overtime hours are required, the University will communicate to the employee as early as possible. Additionally, the University will seek to equalize overtime opportunities among employees performing similar work within a unit, as appropriate.

5. Where an employee, in a single workweek, works at two or more different jobs at the University for which different straight-time rates have been established, the rate to be used for paying the employee for any overtime worked is the weighted average of both rates (i.e., the earnings from all such rates are summed together and the total is divided by the hours worked in all jobs). If there are two or more units involved, the unit where the overtime work occurred will pay for the overtime hours.

6. The FLSA does not permit private institutions to give compensatory time-off in lieu of overtime pay, so employee overtime may only be compensated with pay and may not be compensated with additional time off.

B. Deductions from Pay

1. The University may make deductions from an exempt employee’s pay for:

a. full day absences for personal reasons or sickness if vacation, personal holiday, and/or sick leave accruals have been exhausted;

b. any days not worked in the initial and final weeks of employment;

c. for hours taken as unpaid Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave; or

d. violations of major safety rules.

2. Deductions from an exempt employee’s pay are not permitted for disciplinary problems (i.e., as a form of corrective action), for performance deficiencies, or for excused absences caused by jury duty, subpoenaed attendance as a witness in court, or temporary military leave in any week in which an exempt staff employee performs any work. Base pay deductions in less than full-day increments are not permitted except to the extent authorized under the FMLA.

C. Rest/Meal Periods

1. A non-exempt employee who works 7.5 continuous hours or more must be provided with a 20 minute meal period within the first five (5) hours of work. Departments may choose to count meal periods as compensable time but an employee may not skip a meal period to offset late arrival or early departure from work. If an employee receives a 30 minute to 1 hour lunch period within the first 5 hours of work, this satisfies this meal period requirement.

2. The University generally provides an employee with a lunch period of 30 minutes to 1 hour. Under the FLSA, meal periods of 30 minutes or longer generally do not count as compensable time if the non-exempt employee is completely relieved from work. During an unpaid meal period, a non-exempt employee may not perform any work.

D. Training

1. If an employer requires a non-exempt employee to attend training, meetings, or lectures during the employee’s regular work hours, the time is compensable.

2. Training time is paid unless all of the following criteria are met:

a. Attendance is voluntary;

b. The training is scheduled outside of the employee’s regular work hours;

c. The training is not directly related to the employee’s job; and

d. The employee does not perform any productive work during such training.

E. On-Call Time

1. A non-exempt employee who is required to remain on-call on University premises is working while on-call and must be compensated.

2. An employee who is required to remain on-call at home, or who is allowed to leave a message where he/she can be reached, is not working (in most cases) while on-call and may not need to be compensated. Additional constraints on the employee’s freedom could make this time compensable.

E. Travel Time

1. To determine whether time spent in travel is compensable time for a non-exempt employee, the type of travel involved must be considered. For example:

a. A non-exempt employee who travels from home before the regular workday and returns to his/her home at the end of the workday is engaged in ordinary home to work travel (i.e., commuting), which is not work time and is not compensable.

b. If a non-exempt employee regularly works at a fixed location and commutes to a different location to work, the time spent traveling to and from the other location is work time and it is compensable. The University may deduct (not count) that time the non-exempt employee would normally spend commuting to the regular work site.

c. Time spent by a non-exempt employee in travel as part of his/her principal activity, such as travel from job site to job site during the workday, is work time and is compensable.

d. Travel that keeps a non-exempt employee away from home overnight qualifies as work time if it takes place during the non-exempt employee’s regularly scheduled workday. This travel time qualifies as work time even if it occurs during the employee’s corresponding working hours on nonworking days. Time spent traveling outside of the employee’s regular working hours is not considered work time and is not compensable.

e. Regular meal period times are not considered compensable time while traveling.

2. An exempt staff employee is not subject to the travel time provisions of the FLSA. Since an exempt staff employee is not paid per hour, he/she does not receive additional pay for time spent traveling.

F. Record-Keeping/Tracking Absences

1. Each unit is required to maintain a record of each employee’s paid and unpaid absences.

2. An exempt staff employee must record full-day absences and the reason for each absence (i.e., vacation, personal holiday, sick leave, bereavement leave, jury duty) on a Monthly Absence Report for every monthly pay period. If an exempt employee’s pay is to be reduced, the unit must submit a copy of the Monthly Absence Report to Payroll in accordance with University published guidelines.

3. A non-exempt staff employee must record time worked according to unit procedures. A non-exempt staff employee tracks hours worked using UChicago Time or on a timecard for every two-week pay period. Exceptions to normal scheduled hours must be noted.


Employees represented by a bargaining unit may be governed by the appropriate bargaining unit agreement.

305 - Variable Pay

Section: U305

Date: February, 2015


To establish variable pay program (i.e., bonus awards and incentive pay) guidelines for staff employees.


In addition to base pay, units have the flexibility to provide variable pay opportunities to reward exceptional performance (i.e., bonus award) or achievement of specific goals (i.e., as described in an incentive plan). Recognition of ongoing performance should be reflected in base pay level, rather than with a bonus award or incentive payment.


Bonus Award: payment given to an employee to recognize performance or acceptance of an employment offer. Bonus awards are discretionary, given after the fact, reflected as a single or one-time payment (i.e., lump sum), and are in addition to an employee’s base pay.

Incentive Payment: designed to motivate employees to achieve desired short or long-term goals. An incentive payment is nondiscretionary, formula driven, tied to expected results identified at the beginning of a performance cycle, and is in addition to an employee’s base pay.


A. Overview

1. HR Partners and unit leadership should consult with HR-Compensation in the development of a program for incentive payments and regarding bonus awards above $2,000 threshold. All incentive payments or bonus awards must be approved by the appropriate Dean or Director prior to submission to HR-Compensation.

2. An incentive payment or bonus award for an employee is payable in the pay period following the pay period in which the qualifying activity occurred.

B. Bonus Award

1. A bonus award may be used to reward an employee’s special efforts or a high level of performance on projects or special assignments. A bonus award is delivered after the fact, based upon judgment of performance. It is discretionary in nature and should not be used to incentivize an employee in advance of performing the work.

2. Bonus awards may be appropriate for exempt employees who perform additional work outside the scope of his/her responsibility for a short timeframe.

a. Performance of work requiring an exceptional amount of extra time (i.e., equivalent of more than one day per week) or involvement in a special project may warrant a bonus award.

b. Bonus awards are for performance of work that occurs in a timeframe of less than 3 months. For ongoing changes in work demands, the HR Partner submits an updated job description for job evaluation.

3. Bonus awards may be appropriate when an employee performs work for another unit.

a. Permission is required by employee’s primary unit before working in another unit.

b. Employee may perform additional duties for up to 3 days per month.

c. Performance of work should occur in a timeframe less than 3 months. For an ongoing occurrence, the unit should consider longer-term options such as training current employees or creating a new position.

4. Bonus awards may be appropriate for an employee who has temporarily assumed major responsibility for, and performance of, another position (i.e., acting/interim during vacancy), subject to the following guidelines:

a. The employee has assumed additional responsibility in addition to primary responsibilities.

b. Appropriate documentation relating to the temporary vacancy (i.e. leave of absence) must be submitted to unit HR Partner.

c. Managers cannot receive bonus awards for performing the work of a subordinate employee.

d. In assigning additional responsibility any offering a bonus award, units should be mindful of impact to their broader team, and plan around:

i. How the employee’s primary job responsibilities will be handled.

ii. How the responsibilities of the vacant job are distributed.

e. An employee may be paid up to fifty (50%) of the vacant position pay level; percentage should align with the percentage of time given to the additional responsibilities.

f. If the unit is actively considering the interim employee for promotion to the vacancy, the unit may pay the interim employee at the higher level for up to a 3 month timeframe. After 3 months, alternatives below should be considered in developing a longer-term solution:

i. Offer the position to the interim employee if she/he is the most qualified candidate after a competitive search,

ii. Request job evaluation of interim employee’s updated job description, which integrates additional responsibilities,

iii. Rotate interim employee out of performing additional responsibilities, or iv. Restructure additional responsibilities in another way.

5. Bonus awards of up to $2,000 may be given to an employee for exceptional performance, in conjunction with written justification provided to unit HR Partner. Bonus awards greater than $2,000 and the corresponding written justification will be reviewed by the unit HR Partner and HR-Compensation.

6. Bonus awards may be appropriate in special hiring situations that are highly competitive or market driven. These sign-on bonus awards must be expressly stated in offer letters.

C. Incentive Payment

1. Incentive payment is delivered through a formal, documented, and approved program based on a predetermined performance and reward schedule. Employee performance is measured against the goals and objectives of the plan. The incentive may be paid in alignment with a specific timeframe (i.e., pay period, quarter, year, or multi-year) or when an event occurs (i.e., achieving a milestone, completing a project).

2. Unit leadership may develop and recommend a formal incentive plan for one or more employees in the unit. The plan proposal must include the following:

a. Goals: what the plan intends to accomplish;

b. Eligibility: who may participate in the plan and impact of termination;

c. Funding: how the plan will be funded;

d. Measurement Definition or Criteria: how individual or group rewards will be determined;

e. Timing: when payments will be made;

f. Length: how long the program will last;

g. Impact of Plan: description of potential positive and negative impacts of the plan; and

h. Administration: how the plan will be governed and communicated.

3. All incentive plan proposals must be reviewed by unit HR Partner and HR-Compensation prior to communication to employees and implementation.

4. All incentive payments must be included in the regular rate of pay for overtime purposes.

Employees represented by a bargaining unit may be governed by the appropriate bargaining unit agreement.

306 - Employee Work Schedules

Section: U306

Date: February, 2015


To define the schedules of staff employees.


The University’s standard schedule begins on Sunday at 12:00:00 a.m. and concludes on Saturday at 11:59:59 p.m. Units have the flexibility to use different schedules and to offer flexible work arrangements.


1. The University’s standard work schedule for base pay purposes begins on Sunday at 12:00:00 a.m. and concludes on Saturday at 11:59:59 p.m.

2. The normal business hours of the University are 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Units have the flexibility to set different business hours to meet their unit needs.

3. Most employees work a weekly schedule of 37.5 hours per week which consists of 5, 7.5-hour days, Monday through Friday, including one unpaid hour for lunch.

4. Unit leaders will determine work schedules, communicate expectations, and notify employees of changes.

5. Units have the flexibility to offer flexible working arrangements. Please refer to Policy 307 Flexible Work Arrangement for additional details.

6. Circumstances may arise in which a non-exempt staff employee is required to work overtime with little or no advance notice. Please refer to Policy 304 Compensable Time for rules and guidelines on overtime.

7. Both employment status and benefit eligibility is determined by the number of hours worked, the regularity of the work schedule, and the duration of the position. Please refer to Employment Policy 203 for additional details.

Employees represented by a bargaining unit may be governed by the appropriate bargaining unit agreement.

307 - Flexible Work Arrangements

Section: U307

Date: February, 2015


To provide guidance for managers in establishing flexible work arrangements for staff employees whose work can be performed outside of a University office and/or traditional work schedule for part or all of the workweek.


The University recognizes that there may be situations where flexible work arrangements are appropriate. Flexible work arrangements offer alternative approaches to getting work done through nontraditional work hours, locations, and/or job structures. They offer employees creative approaches for completing work, while promoting balance between work and personal commitments.

Typical flexible work options include flextime, flexplace, compressed work schedules, part-time, and job-sharing assignments. These arrangements must support unit goals and must be approved by unit leadership.


1. A flexible work arrangement is valuable tool for supporting an employee’s efforts to balance work responsibilities and personal life commitments.

2. Employees on a flexible work arrangement remain obligated to comply with all University rules, policies, and procedures.

3. Typical flexible work arrangements include:

a. Flextime: is the most requested, easiest to manage, and the most affordable option, flextime offers flexibility in arrival, departure, and/or lunch times, typically with a designated core midday schedule during which employees are customarily at the work site.

b. Flexplace: often referred to as telecommuting assignment, this arrangement allows for a portion of the job to be performed off-site, on a regular, recurring basis. The majority of work time is spent at the office and the off-site work typically is performed at home. It may be the most complicated flexible work option to arrange, since it involves special issues (i.e., workers’ compensation considerations, and purchase and/or management of equipment and systems away from the workplace).

c. Compressed Work Schedule: traditional 37.5- to 40-hour workweek is condensed into fewer than 5 days of work. Common compressed work schedules for the traditional workweeks include: four 10-hour days for a 40-hour week; and three 10-hour days and one 7.5-hour day for a 37.5-hour workweek.

d. Part-time work: is a regular arrangement for workweek of 34 hours or fewer. Part time work is different from a temporary work assignment, which is where an employee is expected to have a temporary, nonrecurring relationship to the workplace. Regular part-time employees who work 20 hours per week or more are eligible for benefits.

e. Job sharing allows two staff employees to share the responsibilities of one full-time position. Each staff member shares a specific proportion of a full-time position. Creative and innovative schedules can be designed to meet the needs of the job sharers and the unit. The two employees are considered regular part-time employees.

4. Employees may submit written flexible work arrangement requests to both the manager and unit HR Partner for consideration. If accepted, the manager, unit HR Partner and the employee will create a flexible work arrangement agreement.

a. A flexible work arrangement agreement should provide details of the arrangement, including any change in job responsibilities (time commitments, availability) and/or condition of employment (i.e., compensation, benefits, work location, work schedule, and/or duration of the arrangement).

b. Additionally, the agreement should include provisions to recognize how busy timeframes or special projects will be addressed (i.e., may need to return to original schedule during these times).

c. If, at any time a flexible work arrangement no longer serves the employee’s purposes or the needs of the University, the arrangement may be discontinued.

d. The agreement should include a provision for the modification or termination of the agreement should either the University or the employee need to change it. Two calendar weeks’ notice of modification or termination will be given to the employee, unless such notice is impractical.

e. In the case of a flexplace arrangement, the agreement should also include clear delineation of responsibility for telephone costs, supplies, computer set-up and maintenance, security of any University-owned equipment that would be used away from University premises (including responsibility for loss), and any additional applicable items.

5. A pilot should be conducted to evaluate a requested flexible work arrangement before a long-term commitment is made by either the University or the employee.

a. The manager and employee should meet periodically (for example, every two weeks) to discuss the arrangement, and to make adjustments as needed.

b. The pilot should be reviewed after a period of 3 – 6 months to make appropriate adjustments and to determine whether or not the flexible work arrangement should be continued.

6. A copy of the approved flexible work arrangement agreements should be sent to the unit HR Partner.

7. In allowing flexible work arrangements, the University will abide by all federal, state and local wage and hour laws.

8. An employee working in a flexible work arrangement remains an at-will employee, meaning he/she or the University can terminate employment at any time and for any reason, with or without advance notice. If, for any reason, the flexible work arrangement is terminated, and the employee decides not to return to his/her former traditional work schedule/arrangement and leaves the position, the employee will be considered to have resigned.


Employees represented by a union may be governed by the appropriate bargaining unit agreement.

308 - Performance Planning and Feedback

Section: U308

Date: February, 2015


To promote an open and constructive dialogue between leaders and employees regarding job requirements, job expectations, work environment, and opportunities for skill and career growth.


The University of Chicago relies on and expects its leaders (referred to as “supervisors” in this policy) at the unit level to promote and create work environments where ongoing discussions about work occur between staff employees and those who supervise them. These discussions may include: identification of expectations; assessment of progress; and opportunities for training and career development. Although each University unit has the flexibility to develop a performance planning and feedback process that best fits its unique environment, all processes should reflect certain principles as outlined below.

A performance planning and feedback process is responsive to the employee’s need to know where he/she stands with respect to job requirements, and the need to know how and where to seek guidance on job skill and career development. The process can also serve as a basis for work group and unit planning.

Desired Outcomes of Performance Planning and Feedback Discussions

1. Mutual planning and/or goal setting between the supervisor and employee using the current job description as a basis for discussion.

2. Mutual understanding between the employee and supervisor concerning job expectations and performance requirements.

3. Clear communication between the supervisor and employee regarding job performance.

4. Improvement in job performance and job satisfaction.

5. Identification of opportunities for employee growth and development.


1. The planning and feedback process should use the current job description, individual goals, and unit goals as the basis for an ongoing conversation about job expectations and job performance.

2. Performance planning and feedback discussions should contain the following elements:

o timely and effective feedback – to enhance two-way communication regarding all aspects of job performance;

o goal and objective setting/future planning – to clarify job expectations and performance standards; and

o development – to plan, discuss, and implement professional development.

3. Results of the planning and feedback process may be used to aid supervisory decision-making with respect to (for example): promotion; transfer; training/counseling; compensation; disciplinary action; and workforce analysis.

4. Supervisors should continuously monitor the employee’s progress toward established goals and objectives, and provide feedback as needed. The monitoring process should include identification of obstacles, giving feedback and advice, training support, and other assistance, as may be required to facilitate the employee’s achievement of goals and objectives.

5. The planning and feedback process should be summarized formally on a planned, periodic basis at a minimum of one time per year. Written comments need not be limited to a specific form. However, the form or written format will be consistent with the purpose and principles outlined in this policy. At least one performance planning and feedback discussion should also be held prior to the end of a new employee’s probationary period.

6. Formal performance planning/feedback must be based on lawful, job-related, non-discriminatory criteria and standards that reflect the unique requirements of each position. The focus must primarily be on observable, measurable behaviors and outcomes/results, rather than on personality characteristics.

7. Formal Performance Planning/Feedback documentation will have, as an integral part, a mechanism to incorporate the employee’s perspective, including the offer of a dissenting opinion.

8. Supervisors are encouraged to attend training on performance planning and feedback.

9. The planning and feedback process will be conducted by the immediate supervisor. If the employee works for other supervisors, the immediate supervisor will consider feedback from those constituents.

10. A pay adjustment should be consistent with the results of the performance planning and feedback process.

11. Documentation of the planning and feedback process (usually the written performance review) will be signed by the employee and the supervisor. Units should keep a copy of the review and supervisors must provide a copy to the employee.

12. Any dispute arising from the performance planning and feedback process may be addressed using the Employee Complaint Resolution Procedure or more informally though discussions with the supervisor and, as needed other unit leaders.

Employees represented by a bargaining unit may be governed by the appropriate bargaining unit agreement.