Frequently Asked Questions
These questions/answers refer only to employees covered in the Classified System Personnel Rules and are addressed in a broad format. Employees are encouraged to contact their agency personnel office for the most accurate information, as answers may be agency dependent.
Where do I get a Comprehensive Position Questionnaire (CPQ) form?
Copies can be obtained from your agency Personnel/Human Resources contact person, or the AS State Personnel office. Or, you can download a version of the Position Description Questionnaire (PDQ) here.
Where can I get a copy of the Classified System Personnel Rules and Regulations?
- These can be obtained from your agency Personnel/Human Resources contact or you can find a copy on the Classified System Rules & Regulations page.
- For employees covered by a Labor Contract, the Labor Contracts can be found on the Employee Relations publications page.
Is my position Rules covered or Labor Contract covered?
Generally speaking, positions that are supervisory, general management, confidential or temporary, are excluded from the Contract. To verify your position status, please see your agency Personnel/Human Resources contact person or refer to Chapter 1 of the Classified System Personnel Rules.
How does the classification process work?
For a position review, an employee must complete a Comprehensive Position Questionnaire (CPQ), or Position Description Questionnaire (PDQ) and submit it to their agency. (See Chapter 3-Definitions for proper use usage of PDQ’s and CPQ’s.) From that point, the agency reviews the CPQ, includes any additional information, and forwards everything to State Personnel. State Personnel then begins the final review and determination process. For more specific information regarding this process, please refer to Chapter 7 in the Classified System Personnel Rules.
How do I appeal a classification decision?
If an employee or agency does not agree with the classification decision of AS State Personnel, they may request reconsideration, in writing, within 15 work days from notification of the classification decision to the Director of Personnel, AS State Personnel Division, and shall explain in detail the reasons for such a request. The letter shall contain a concise and specific statement as to why the decision was inappropriate, the specific reasons therefore, and a statement of the classification sought. An employee request shall be forwarded through the agency head to the Director of Personnel, AS State Personnel Division. The Director of Personnel, AS State Personnel Division, shall assign [a] different Personnel Analyst[s] to conduct the second review. Following a thorough review, the Analyst[s] shall present a recommendation to the Director of Personnel, AS State Personnel Division. The Director of Personnel, AS State Personnel Division, shall ensure that: 1) proper application of the State’s classification methodology was utilized in the decision making process, 2) the issues raised by the employee were taken into consideration, and 3) that the information used in the decision-making process was accurate and correct. The review shall be limited to the issues raised by the appellant in the initial request for reconsideration of the classification decision. New evidence shall not be allowed.
If I transfer from a non-classified agency (such as the University of Nebraska) to an agency within the State Classified Personnel System, what happens to my sick and vacation time?
The amount of sick and vacation leave time you would have earned had you been in the State Classified Personnel System will be transferred over to the new agency, minus any time you already used. You will not start with a negative balance.
What happens to my service date?
Employees returning to a Rules-covered position after a break in service of less than five calendar years may have their service date adjusted for the period of absence, meaning the employee will earn leave at the same rate as when they left state employment. Check with your agency Personnel/Human Resources contact as some agency discretion may be applied in certain instances. Contract covered employees should refer to questions/answers provided by the AS Employee Relations Division.
What happens to my unpaid sick time?
Employees returning to a Rules-covered position after a break in service of less than three calendar years will have their accumulated unpaid sick leave balance restored. Check with your agency Personnel/Human Resources contact as some agency discretion may be applied in certain instances. Contract covered employees should refer to questions/answers provided by the AS Employee Relations Division.
How much of a pay raise do I receive if my position is reclassified to a higher salary grade?
Employees placed in a higher salary grade may receive up to a 10% pay increase per salary grade advanced, at the agency head's discretion except in a few cases. Refer to Chapter 8 of the Classified System Personnel Rules for a listing of exceptions. Contract covered employees should refer to questions/answers provided by the AS Employee Relations Division.
What happens if a State employee works for two State agencies?
Non-Exempt State employees working for more than one State agency are considered to work for one employer. Therefore, the hours worked at both agencies must be combined to determine if the employee is entitled to any overtime pay.
Note: Elected officials, their personal staff and legislative employees are not covered by FLSA. SOS Non-Exempt employees would be covered by FLSA and considered to work for the same employer, unless appointed by an SOS vendor.
What happens if a Non-Exempt employee works for a State agency and the University?
The university is considered to be a separate employer. Therefore, the State agency and University hours worked need not be combined.
Can an individual, at the same time, be an employee and independent contractor for the State?
The Department of Labor has traditionally held that “it is unrealistic to assume that an employment and independent contractor relationship may exist concurrently between the same parties in the same workweek.” Therefore, in most cases, the individual would have two appointments and the hours from these appointments would need to be combined to determine any overtime entitlement.
What is the relationship between the Labor Contract and the FLSA legislation?
The Labor Contract cannot eliminate an overtime entitlement provided by federal legislation. However, the Labor Contract can provide a greater entitlement to overtime compensation. For example, the Labor Contract might provide overtime eligibility to some positions determined to be FLSA Exempt.
Can rules-covered Exempt positions receive any overtime?
An agency head, may request approval from the Director of Personnel, AS State Personnel Division, to grant straight time overtime compensation to exempt staff for special circumstances or emergency situations.
What changes occurred to the FLSA legislation in 2004?
On August 23, 2004, new federal regulations regarding “white collar” exemptions to the FLSA became effective. Please see the explanation of the Executive, Administrative, and Professional exemptions outlined in the AS State Personnel website.
In what situation may a deduction be made from the compensation received by a Exempt employee?
Typically, an Exempt employee regularly receives a predetermined amount constituting all or part of the employee’s salary, which amount is not subject to reduction because of variations in the quality or quantity of work performed. An exempt employee must receive a full salary for any week (other than first or last week of employment) in which the employee performs any work. If an employee is ready, willing, and able to work, deductions may not be made in anything other than full week increments when work is not available because the employee’s absence was not within the employee’s control. Chapter 9 003.02A of the Personnel Rules reflects this philosophy by stipulating that an exempt employee's salary is not subject to reduction for absences of less than one day. A public sector employee's salary may be reduced by a budget induced furlough of at least one day period.
Are meal periods and breaks considered to be hours of work?
Meal periods generally are not considered to be hours of work if they are 30 minutes or longer, and the employee is relieved of all duties and is free to use the time effectively for a meal. Employees voluntarily taking lunch at their desks may have the period counting as work time if the lunch involves answering the phone or other work interruptions longer than a few minutes or multiple interruptions. Rest periods of less than 20 minutes are counted as hours of work.
What happens if a Non-Exempt employee works an extra five minutes, at the end of the day or starts work five minutes early?
Normally, any amount of time less than 7½ minutes is considered to be insignificant and would not be considered as hours of work. Employers may record employee starting and stopping time to the nearest quarter hour. Note: the mere fact that the employee comes to work early does not mean that this time is counted as hours of work. The determining factor is if the employee is performing work to the advantage of the employer.
What is the “suffer or permit” concept under the FLSA?
An employer must compensate an employee for unauthorized work that, even though not authorized, is performed with the knowledge or acquiescence of management. The employer must pay for the unauthorized work whenever it is performed even if the employee does not make a claim for overtime. The unauthorized work has been performed for the benefit of the employer.
What is included in the regular rate of pay to determine the overtime pay rate?
Generally, the employee’s “regular rate” for the overtime compensation includes all remuneration for employment such as salaries, shift and weekend differentials, on-call pay, and certain stipend or bonus payments. Remuneration for uniform allowances, meal allowance, and tuition reimbursement is not included. Note: Additional compensation such as shift differential received during a week involving overtime work must be included in and will increase the “regular rate” amount utilized to determine overtime compensation.
What hours are not considered work hours for overtime purposes?
Holidays are considered as work hours. Leave time (vacation, sick, etc.) are not considered as hours worked. Hours worked on an employee’s designated holiday shall not be considered as hours worked for overtime purposes.
How long do employers need to retain mandatory wage and hour records?
Records for Non-Exempt and Exempt employees must be kept for a three year period and kept in a format open to inspection and transcription by the Wage and Hour Division. The following mandatory wage and hour records must be maintained:
- The employee full name as used for Social Security purposes and any employee identification number
- Home address and ZIP code
- Date of birth (if under 19 years of age)
- Employee’s sex and occupation
- Time and day of week on which the employee’s workweek begins
- The regular hourly rate of pay or other basis on which wages are paid
- Hours worked each workday and total hours worked each workweek
- Total daily or weekly straight time earnings or wages
- Total overtime excess compensation for the workweek
- Total additions to or deductions from wages paid in each pay period as well as a breakdown of the items constituting the additions or deductions
- Total wages paid in each pay period
- Dates of payment and the pay period covered by the payment
- The first five items listed above for Non-Exempt employees and the basis on which wages are paid to the employee, in sufficient detail to permit calculation for each pay period of the employee’s total compensation for employment, including fringe benefits.
Is time spent changing clothes and washing up after a shift considered to be hours worked?
Normally, such before and after activities are incidental to work and are not considered as hours of work. However, job related activities that are required as part of an employee’s work such as pre-shift briefings, fueling cars, cleaning up the work area, and filling out time cards are considered as hours of work.
Is training time counted as hours of work for overtime?
Attendance at lectures, training programs, and similar activities need not be counted as working time if all of the following four criteria are met: 1) attendance is outside of the employee’s regular working hours, 2) attendance is, in fact, voluntary, 3) the course, lecture, or meeting is not directly related to the employee’s job, and 4) the employee does not perform any productive work during such attendance.
When is an individual a State employee or an independent contractor?
The Department of labor utilizes the following factors when qualifying an individual as an independent contractor: 1) The extent to which the worker’s services are an integral part of the employer’s business, 2) The permanency of the relationship, 3) The amount of the worker’s investment in facilities and equipment, 4) The nature and degree of control by the worker/employer, 5) The worker’s opportunities for profit and loss, and 6) The level of skill required in performing the job and the amount of initiative, judgment, or foresight in open market competition with others required for the success of the claimed independent enterprise.