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Employment Status & Records

Employment Status

Individuals requiring specific information on these classifications should contact HR.

Full-Time Employment: Generally, these are individuals employed 40 hours per week. However, for benefit purposes (health insurance, etc.), individuals routinely working 30 or more hours per week are considered full-time, although annual, sick and holiday leave are provided on a prorated basis. 

Part-Time Employment: These are individuals employed less than 30 hours per week. Staff employees who routinely work at least 20, but less than 30 hours a week will receive annual, sick and holiday leave on a prorated basis. Additionally, these individuals are eligible for benefits through Oklahoma Teachers' Retirement System (OTRS).

Part-time employment of 20 hours and above will be offered in five (5) hour increments. 

Temporary Employment: These are individuals employed in a position not anticipated to last beyond six months. Additionally, when approved by the President or their designee, certain positions are designated temporary by the number of hours for which the position is approved. Seasonal employees are included as temporary employees. Temporary positions do not qualify for SWOSU's benefit package.

Regular-Status Employees: These are individuals employed on a continuous basis (12 months) for a minimum of 20 hours or more per week. Benefits are prorated according to the hourly workweek amount as designated on the Pay Action Form.

Exempt and Non-Exempt Status:  The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) identifies these categories of employment. The HR Office routinely reviews employment classifications to insure compliance. Non-Exempt: These individuals are often referred to as “staff” and “hourly”.  (See Work Schedule; Compensatory Time). Exempt Employees: These individuals meet certain requirements established by the FLSA and do not qualify for overtime pay, nor do these individuals qualify for compensatory (comp) time as it is normally viewed. 

Grant-Funded Employees: These are individuals whose employment is funded by grant or contract monies. Except for annual leave and possible holidays, grant-funded employees will generally follow the guidelines for other SWOSU employees.

  • Annual Leave: SWOSU policy requires that employees whose positions are funded with grant or contract monies must have their annual leave funded within the grant. SWOSU funds will not be used to pay for unused annual leave upon resignation, retirement of 
  • the employee or upon the termination of grant funding. Essentially, employees are requested to take their leave within the funding cycle of the grant.  In the event annual leave is not exhausted, it is permissible to payout annual leave if grant funds are available.  This does not prevent employees from carrying over and using annual leave in future periods funded by the grant. 
  • Holidays: Grant-funded employees may or may not follow SWOSU's holiday schedule. Contact the Sponsored Programs Office or the supervisor to determine individual holiday schedule. (See Leaves; Holidays)
  • Transferring Employees: SWOSU employees transferring into a grant-funded position with the University will be allowed to carry unused, accrued sick leave into the grant- funded position. If an employee accumulates a combined annual leave balance (university and grant) above 480 hours, the combined balance is treated as if it were one total and anything above the 480 hours as of the end of August would be forfeited. The forfeited amount is deducted from the non-grant annual leave balance. Compensatory time will be paid at the time of transfer.

Transfers and Promotions

SWOSU encourages employees to apply for campus vacancies for which they qualify and feel would better meet their work desires.  SWOSU is not able to guarantee current employees will be transferred or promoted into open positions. 

If an employee transfers from one department to another within SWOSU, accrued compensatory time not taken prior to the transfer will be paid and charged to the previous department. Accrued annual and/or sick leave will transfer with the employee to the new department.

Employees transferring into grant-funded positions should refer to the Grant-Funded Employees section of this handbook or contact HR for more information.

Personnel Data Changes

It is the responsibility of each employee to promptly notify HR, in writing, of any changes in personnel data.  Name changes, personal mailing addresses, telephone numbers, changes affecting number and names of dependents on SWOSU insurance policies and other such status reports should be accurate and current at all times.  The Change of Address Form is available in the HR Office or on the SWOSU website.

Access to Personnel Files

Personnel files are the property of SWOSU and access to the information they contain is confidential and restricted.  Access to personnel files will be limited to senior administrators and HR employees.  Additionally, deans, directors, supervisors, Business Office and others deemed to have a legitimate reason to review the information will be provided access.  An employee may review material in their employee file. The review will be done in the presence of an individual appointed by SWOSU to maintain and safeguard that file.  An employee may 

request, in writing, a copy of their personnel file.  HR will provide the file with sufficient time allowed for retrieving and copying.

Open Records Act

SWOSU is subject to the Open Records Act (including, Title 51 Section 24A.5 of the Oklahoma Statutes: Personnel Records-Confidentiality Inspection and Copying).  As such, certain information is made available to inquiring individuals upon request; this includes position, date of hire and gross wage rate.

A fee shall be charged for retrieving documents pursuant to a request which is solely for commercial purposes or which causes excessive disruption of normal business operations.  Sufficient time shall be allowed for retrieving and copying documents as requested.  The Assistant Vice President for Human Resources is the designated Records Officer for SWOSU.  Visit our open records webpage for more information.


The performance of the employee may be considered in determining compensation, promotions, demotions, layoffs, disciplinary action and employee terminations.  Performance is to be judged on quality of work, amount of work, faithfulness to duties and other factors that determine the value of an employee's service.

Assistance can be provided by HR in adding memos of praise, accomplishments of projects done well or disciplinary actions to employees’ personnel files.

Employment Termination

Although an employee may terminate employment at-will, SWOSU requests an employee to give at least a ten work-day notice, in writing, to their immediate supervisor. Supervisors considering recommendations for discharge are asked to contact the Assistant Vice President for Human Resources before any further actions are taken. (See Employee Termination Form on SWOSU website)

Exit Interview and Clearance Process: To assist in the transition of leaving employment, an exit interview may be scheduled with employees. Areas that are addressed during the exit interview include final payroll and benefit information. Additionally, the employee will have the opportunity to share opinions and perceptions addressing several areas of their employment experience with SWOSU. 

Return of SWOSU Property: Employees are responsible for items issued to them or placed in their possession or control. Such items may include, but are not limited to:

  • credit cards
  • electronic devices
  • equipment
  • identification cards, badges, and/or photo ID’s
  • keys
  • parking decals
  • protective equipment
  • tools
  • uniforms
  • various written materials, forms, documents or manuals
  • vehicles

Property owned by SWOSU is to be returned on or before the last day of work.

Personal Property

Prior to retirement, resignation or termination, employees should remove personal property from their offices and other campus facilities. SWOSU is not responsible for personal property left by employees. Employees are solely responsible for making appropriate arrangements for protection of their property when separating or away from the University. Personal property left behind will be considered abandoned and SWOSU has the right to remove or discard it.

Break in Service

For purposes of this policy, a break in service is defined as when an individual leaves employment and returns to work at SWOSU within 180 calendar days. Employees in positions earning annual and sick leave, who have a break in service, shall have those benefits reasonably reinstated by SWOSU. Examples of commonly asked questions regarding this benefit are outlined below:

  • Annual Leave: Accrual rates shall be based upon the previous date of hire less the length of the break in service.
  • Sick Leave: Unused, accrued sick leave that was lost at the time of separation shall be reinstated.
  • Family Medical Leave: The previous employment period will be considered when meeting the length of service requirements for the Family Medical Leave Act.
  • Pre-existing Medical Exclusions: These are not determined by SWOSU; thus, they are not impacted by this policy.