Frequently Asked Questions
What specific requirements do I need to have to be eligible for higher-level classifications?
Each job description lists the minimum qualifications necessary to be eligible for that classification. This section is at the bottom of the job description. For Merit classifications, the section is titled “Minimum Eligibility Requirements” and for Professional and Scientific (P&S) classifications, the section is titled “Qualifications”.
What specific skills do I need to acquire to make myself more marketable?
Each position has a different set of skills that are needed to be successful. Skills that are common to a large number of classifications include proficiency in Microsoft Office programs (i.e. Word, Excel, Access, Outlook and PowerPoint), knowledge of medical terminology, proficiency in web development applications, as well as other skills and abilities. Using Skillsoft is a good way to develop and enhance your computer and other skills.
Are courses in Skillsoft recognized by Employment Services when applicants are screened for eligibility for a position?
Yes, if an applicant shows that they have completed a 2nd-level Skillsoft course with an 80% passing rate, they are determined to have that particular skill.
What courses at the undergraduate level are eligible for tuition assistance and do they have to be related to their current position?
University staff members who do not already hold a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent can use the University of Iowa tuition assistance program to obtain one. All undergraduate courses that are part of an undergraduate degree program are considered work-related and therefore eligible for assistance for those participants who currently do not hold an undergraduate degree. We strongly encourage all supervisors to support this perspective. Individual departments will need to look at additional issues such as work coverage to determine whether it is appropriate to grant flex or vacation time for individuals to attend classes during normal work hours.
What factors determine if a person should be reclassified?
The most important factor is that the employee is performing work outside of their current classification on a regular and ongoing basis.
What are some common reasons that reclassifications are not supported?
The following lists common reasons that employee’s request reclassification but individually do not meet the requirements for reclassification:
- The regular workload has increased.
- The employee provides periodic “back-up” to one or more employees.
- There is a temporary shift in duties because of various factors.
- High-level performance by the employee.
- Additional duties are not outside of the expectations of the classification.
- Extended amount of time at the University or in the position.
- When a reclassification is used solely as a way to increase the employee’s salary.
If a position in a department is eliminated or a vacancy does not get filled and the workload is redistributed to other employees, how will that impact the classification of other employees?
Example: A P&S position is not filled and the workload is redistributed to other employees. In this scenario, the department should look at each affected individual to determine if there should be any change to their classifications. When an employee inherits some new duties, that does not necessarily mean that they will be reclassified. The position as a whole should be evaluated after the new duties are being performed. If the department determines that the position should be reclassified, the appropriate documentation can then be submitted.
What determines if a position is classified as Merit or P&S?
The most common distinction between a professional and non-professional position is that the professional position requires knowledge and education beyond that of a high school graduate. A 4-year college degree or an equivalent combination of education and experience is typically required for a P&S position. In order to classify a position as P&S, a minimum of 50% of the duties and responsibilities must be at the professional level. We are governed by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which is a law created for fair treatment in wages for employees. Some P&S positions are covered under the Act even though they are considered professional in the University system. The majority of P&S employees are exempt from this law. Those that are covered under the act are eligible for overtime benefits. All Merit employees are covered under the Act.
Should applicants with a college degree apply for Merit positions?
We encourage potential employees to apply for any position that may be of interest to them, whether it’s P&S or Merit. There are many Merit employees who have a college degree and there are many former Merit employees who now have P&S positions.
If someone is hired as a Merit employee, how can they progress into a P&S classification?
There are two ways to enter into a P&S classification. The most common way is to apply for an open position. Any employee who meets the minimum requirements that are listed in the requisition is eligible to apply. An employee may also be in a position that has evolved to the extent that it is more appropriately classified as a P&S position. When that occurs, the employee or department may submit a reclassification request. Whatever means are used to enter into a P&S classification, the development of knowledge, skills and abilities is important for current and future employment opportunities.
How does an employee acquire supervisory skills to become eligible for a classification that requires prior supervisory experience?
Supervisory experience can only be attained in a supervisory position. There are no classes or seminars that are the equivalent of supervisory experience. An employee may be in a classification (i.e. Project Assistant) that does not require supervision but the specific position does have that requirement. If the employee meets the basic requirements for the classification, they are eligible for that position.