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Human Resource Office
Fort Hays State University
Sheridan 112
600 Park Street
Hays, KS 67601
Phone: 785-628-4462
Fax: 785-628-4006

Staff Listing

Unclassified Support Staff (USS)/Unclassified Professional Staff (UPS) Comparison

Vacant University Support Staff (USS) positions not covered by labor unions are being converted to Unclassified Professional Staff (UPS) positions at the time of recruitment. Converting to one employee classification is administratively more efficient when managing employees. Additionally, there is less confusion among employees concerning matters of employee policies and procedures.

Current USS who are not covered by a labor union can voluntarily move to UPS. USS to UPS Conversion Agreement Form must be submitted to the Human Resource office to begin the process of conversion.

Benefit and Employment Differences Between USS and UPS

What benefits are available to employees in either benefit-eligible USS or benefit-eligible UPS positions?

  • Health, prescription drug, dental and vision insurance
  • Flexible spending accounts - health and/or dependent care
  • Health Savings and Health Reimbursement Account (with Plan C)
  • Basic and optional group life insurance
  • Disability insurance coverage
  • Sick leave accruals, unlimited maximum accruals and payout at retirement or if retirement-eligible at separation of employment
  • Voluntary Retirement Plans (Kansas Board of Regents 403(b) and KPERS 457 Deferred Compensation Plans)
  • Optional benefits such as Long-Term Care Insurance, Tuition Assistance, and Learning Quest savings options

What are the benefit differences between USS and UPS positions?

What are the differences between the Mandatory Retirement plans?

Employees in USS positions participate in the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System (KPERS) defined benefit program. Contributions to KPERS are determined by the legislature. Membership and contribution information depend upon whether the employee is a Tier 1 or Tier 2 member. The employee will be a Tier 2 member if first employed in a covered position on/after July 1, 2009 or who were members who left employment before vesting in Tier 1, or who withdrew their account and return to covered employment on or after July 1, 2009. Vesting occurs after 5 years of participation and guarantees the member will receive a monthly retirement benefit for his/her life if contributions are kept in the KPERS account. If the employee is not vested at termination of employment, distribution of all employee contributions plus earnings must be made within five years unless hired into another KPERS covered position. Active KPERS members can purchase eligible service credit to increase KPERS years of service.

Employees in UPS positions participate in the Kansas Board of Regents (KBOR) Mandatory 403(b) defined contribution retirement plan by selecting investments in either TIAA-CREF or Voya. The employee contributes 5.5% of gross salary and the university contributes 8.5% of gross salary and vesting occurs immediately.

Because KPERS is a defined benefit plan and KBOR is a defined contribution plan, benefits from those plans are determined differently. For KPERS, the retirement benefit is determined by a formula that uses your age, final average salary and years of KPERS service and not how much you contributed to KPERS. For the KBOR plan, your retirement benefit is determined by your account balance when you begin taking distribution, your age and the retirement income option(s) you choose.

Special provisions that apply to KPERS retirement plan participants only:

  • When an active KPERS member dies from an on-the-job accident, the spouse will receive a monthly benefit based on 50 percent of the employee's final average salary, less any Workers' Compensation (minimum benefit is $100 per month).
  • KPERS retirees receive a retiree death benefit that pays the beneficiary a $4,000 lump-sum death benefit.

If a position change occurs due to recruitment or an employee request, can a different retirement plan be selected?

If changing positions, due to recruitment or an employee request, the employee has a one-time retirement plan election. The employee can elect to remain with the existing retirement plan or switch to the retirement plan associated with the new position. (For example, a USS employee in KPERS who accepts an UPS position can elect to either remain with KPERS or switch to the KBOR Mandatory Retirement Plan.)

If a different retirement plan is selected, can the employee access retirement funds in the former retirement plan?

An employee electing to switch retirement plans cannot access funds from the former retirement plan until termination of employment. To access KPERS funds, all state of Kansas employment must be terminated; to access KBOR funds, all employment within the state university system must be terminated. Contributions in KPERS will continue to accrue interest as long as there is not a break in service and until you retire or leave State of Kansas employment. Contributions in the 403(b) plan will continue to be invested according to the employee's fund allocation.

What are the differences between the long-term disability benefits associated with each of the Mandatory Retirement Plans?

Many of the features of the state of Kansas long-term disability plan are the same for both KPERS and KBOR participants, such as:

  • Eligibility
  • Duration of KPERS long-term disability coverage
  • KPERS disability income benefit which is equal to 60 percent of the current salary on the date the disability occurred (monthly benefit minimum is $100 and maximum is $5,000)
  • Requirement to apply for Social Security disability benefits and complete any appeal process
  • Continuation of basic group life insurance coverage paid for by FHSU; optional group life insurance can continue with the employee paying the premium

Active KPERS participants who are approved for long-term disability benefits will continue to receive KPERS service credit and, after five years, the participant's final average salary will be recalculated.
Active KBOR participants who are approved for long-term disability benefits will receive the 60% KPERS long-term disability benefit. Employee contributions to the KBOR Mandatory Retirement plan will cease, but FHSU will make the entire 14% contribution to the Retirement Plan. Those employer contributions will cease at the earliest of:

  1. The date eligibility for KPERS long-term disability benefits ends, or
  2. The date that the participant dies, or
  3. Five years after the date that the participant became disabled and began receiving benefits under the KPERS long-term disability benefit program

How does the granting of annual salary increases differ?

If funds are available, UPS annual salary increases have been traditionally merit-based. Within the amount allocated by the University, deans or directors recommend individual merit increases through budgetary channels.

If funds are available, USS increases are a combination of across-the-board and merit increases. Increases are based on a performance rating of "meets expectations" or higher. From the available salary pool, 2/3 of the amount is granted as a salary increase to staff with a current performance rating of "meets expectations" or above. The remaining 1/3 of the available pool is granted by departments based on merit principles, for employees who exceed expectations.

What differences exist for overtime compensation?

Both hourly (non-exempt) USS and UPS who work more than 40 hours in a workweek will be compensated at the rate of 1.5 hours for all hours worked over 40. Salaried (exempt) USS and salaried UPS are not eligible for overtime compensation if they work over 40 hours.

There are some differences for holiday compensatory time when staff work on a holiday. Both categories of hourly (non-exempt) staff are compensated at the rate of 1.5 hours for all hours worked on a holiday. Both categories of salaried (exempt) are compensated on an hour-for-hour basis for all hours they are required to work on a holiday.

Do staff serve a probationary period upon initial hire?

All hourly (Non-exempt) USS and UPS will serve a probationary period (generally six months).

What are the differences between appeal avenues for disciplinary actions?

USS who are not serving on a probationary period may appeal suspensions, demotions, or dismissals to the University's Disciplinary Action Hearing Board.

UPS may appeal a disciplinary action in accordance with the provisions of the Conflict Resolution and Grievance Procedures as outlined in the Faculty and Unclassified Professional handbook.

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