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2.1.5 Compensation of Staff Employees

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Approved by the Vice President for Human Resources.
Last Updated

Formerly Known As Policy Number: 22.4

This Guide Memo outlines Stanford University's compensation policies.


Applies to regular employees not covered by a collective bargaining agreement and Academic Staff-Libraries as defined in Guide Memo 2.2.1: Definitions. For policies that apply to employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement, refer to the agreements at Labor Relations & Collective Bargaining for details. This policy also applies to:

  • Temporary and casual employees, where specified
  • SLAC, but implementation procedures may differ

Policy Statement:

It is Stanford University's policy to pay salaries that reflect the duties and responsibilities of the position and the scope and complexity of the work performed. This policy and Stanford’s compensation practices are designed to set pay that is competitive in the geographic region where work is performed and ensure that pay is managed in a consistent, equitable manner regardless of funding sources. It is also the intention of the university to set salary ranges that provide competitive pay comparable with relevant labor markets. Consistent with its obligations under the law, Stanford shall not discharge, or in any manner discriminate or retaliate against, employees or applicants because they have discussed, inquired about, or disclosed their own pay or the pay of another employee or applicant. For questions or further information, contact your local Human Resources office or University Human Resources Staff Compensation.

1. Information Sources

University compensation policies and procedures for staff employees are described in this Guide Memo and these publications and memoranda:

  1. Annual memoranda that describe the salary program, issued by the Vice President for Human Resources. These memoranda include current compensation policies and procedures, and salary structures that are reviewed and approved each year.
  2. To find specific administrative information on the staff compensation program, policies, and salary structures, see the Compensation website.

2. Hours of Work and Work Records

a. Workweek

The basic full-time workweek is 40 hours of work on five consecutive eight-hour days. The standard week is a seven-day period commencing at 12:01 a.m. Monday and ending at midnight the following Sunday. Salaried staff employed for a work week of less than the basic 40-hour week receive reduced salary based on the ratio of hours worked to 40 hours. Staff employees who are employed at an hourly rate are paid for the actual time worked.

Straight time is time worked up to eight hours a day and 40 hours a week unless the employee is on an alternative work schedule (see section 6, Alternative Work Schedule).

b. Nonstandard Workweek

Departments may establish other workweek schedules or work arrangements to meet their requirements, including a workweek that begins and ends on other days or hours than the basic workweek (outlined in section 3.a), if approved in advance by the local Human Resources office. See guidelines at Flexible Work Options.

c. Make-Up Time

At the written request of the employee, and with the approval of the supervisor, a non-exempt employee may reduce their work hours for a personal obligation on one day and make up the hours not worked on another day during the same workweek. The employee may do this by working more than eight hours but not more than 11 hours in one day, with the understanding that no overtime premium will be paid unless the total number of hours worked in any one day exceeds 11 hours or the total number of hours worked in any one workweek exceeds 40.

d. Day of Rest

Non-exempt employees working more than 30 hours a week are entitled to have at least one day off in seven in compliance with California state law.

e. Rest Breaks

The university provides non-exempt employees a 15-minute paid, duty-free rest break for each four hours of work or "major fraction" of four hours of work (i.e., more than two hours), provided the employees work at least three-and-one-half hours per day. Insofar as practicable, rest breaks should be scheduled in the middle of each work period. Rest breaks are duty-free time and employees are free to leave the premises, where practicable. Rest breaks should also be arranged so that disruptions of work and services are held to a minimum. Employees are not permitted to use their rest breaks to shorten the workday or to extend the meal period. If a non-exempt employee is not provided the required number of duty-free rest breaks in a day and/or is not relieved of all duty during their rest breaks, a penalty of one hour of pay at the employee's regular rate must be paid to the employee.

f. Meal Periods

Meal periods normally are for one hour and are unpaid. Time taken for meal periods is not part of the work day, provided the employee is relieved of all duty. A non-exempt employee must be provided with an unpaid meal period of at least 30 minutes after no more than five hours of work, and a second meal period of at least 30 minutes after no more than ten hours of work, unless the employee waives the right to the second meal period. A non-exempt employee who works no more than six hours in the workday may also waive the right to a meal period if the supervisor approves. Such waivers require the employee’s consent, can be revoked by the employee at any time, and are recommended to be in writing. Supervisors should consult with their local Human Resources office before agreeing to waive an employee’s meal period.

If a non-exempt employee is not provided with a 30-minute, duty-free meal period and/or is not relieved of all duty during a meal period, then the time must be recorded as work hours. Additionally, a penalty of one hour of pay at the employee's regular rate must be paid to the employee for any missed, late, or otherwise non-compliant meal period.

g. Note to Supervisors

Unpaid meal breaks, including actual start and stop times, must be recorded in each employee's Axess Timecard. If a meal break is not provided, a one-hour penalty must also be recorded.

h. Work Records

1. Records for Non-Exempt Employees

Federal and state laws require non-exempt employees to keep an accurate daily record of hours actually worked, including actual start and stop times and meal breaks. Axess Timecard, in the human resources management system (HRMS) is the system of record to indicate hours worked, including overtime hours and vacation, sick, holiday and other leave time taken by each non-exempt employee. In the time-keeping system, records must be updated by the end of each pay period, but it is recommended that employees update their actual work hours each work day. Supervisors (or their departmental designees) must approve non-exempt employees' time records and must approve any variance from the employees' normally scheduled work hours.

Also see Guide Memo 2.1.6: Vacations, Guide Memo 2.1.7: Sick Time, Guide Memo 2.1.8: Miscellaneous Authorized Absences, and Guide Memo 2.1.13: Paid Holidays.

2. Records for Exempt Employees

Axess Timecard, in the human resources management system (HRMS), is the system of record to indicate vacation, sick and other leave time taken by each regular exempt employee. In that system, records must be updated by the end of each pay period. For exempt employees it is not necessary to report any vacation, PTO or Floating Holiday time less than four hours. For reporting purposes of four or more hours, record a minimum of four hours or the actual time taken if over four hours. Sick time may be taken in any increment. In the case of intermittent Family and Medical Leave, the local Human Resources office must be consulted to ensure that (a) accurate records are maintained of time used for Family and Medical Leave, and (b) the employee's leave balance is properly reduced for time charged to intermittent Family and Medical Leave. Supervisors (or their departmental designees) must approve exempt employees' leave records.

Also see Guide Memo 2.1.6: Vacations, Guide Memo 2.1.7: Sick Time, Guide Memo 2.1.8: Miscellaneous Authorized Absences and Guide Memo 2.1.13: Paid Holidays.

3. Records for Non-Employees

Stanford is not required to keep a record of hours for consultants or employees of another employer with whom the university has a contract for service.

3. Pay Administration

The Vice President for Human Resources administers the overall salary program, including establishing staff job classifications, maintaining location-based salary structures, and developing job-specific regional market pay ranges. University Human Resources Staff Compensation is responsible for providing guidance to local Human Resource Managers to ensure jobs are properly classified, and base pay is set appropriately and managed in a consistent, equitable manner. University Human Resources Staff Compensation proactively reviews and approves all pay actions for Remote employees to ensure pay is managed in alignment with the applicable salary structure and program guidelines, and is equitable with pay of Stanford employees in similar roles. The Vice Presidents, Vice Provosts, Deans and Directors are responsible for managing  pay and classification actions in their area(s) in a manner consistent with this policy and compensation program guidelines. 

a. Base Pay

Base pay is set for each job based on market survey data and managed within the parameters established by the applicable salary structure. Pay for employees in On-site and Hybrid work arrangements and Remote employees who perform work within the 10-county area is set and managed based on the Stanford Work Location Salary Structure. Pay for remote employees who perform work working outside the 10-county area is set and managed based on one of the four Regional Salary Structures determined by the location where work is performed. See Guide Memo 2.1.21 for definitions of On-site, Hybrid, Remote, and 10-county area. Upon request to their supervisor or local Human Resources Manager, employees will be provided the pay range for their current position.

b. Minimum Wage

In compliance with federal and state laws, employees must be paid the current minimum wage or higher unless a request for a specific exception is allowable under the law and approved by the Vice President for Human Resources. Information on the current minimum wage rate is available from University Human Resources Staff Compensation.

c. Non-Cash Compensation

When the university provides perquisites such as room, apartment, or meals, their value (as determined under tax laws) is added to cash compensation (and the employee’s regular rate of pay if required by law) to establish total base pay for computation of insured benefits. When required to be taken as a condition of employment, perquisites are not subject to federal income tax.

d. Performance Increases

Staff employees are eligible for pay increases based on performance. Pay increases are not automatic. Internal pay relationships and relevant market information are considered in setting pay increases.

4. Overtime Compensation

a. Employees Exempt from Overtime Compensation

(1) Definition of Exempt Employee

Certain employees hold jobs that are exempt from governmental regulations regarding compensation for overtime work. In general, employees are exempt when employed in executive, administrative or learned, creative or computer professional positions as defined by the Fair Labor Standards Act and California law. Exempt University employees are not entitled to receive overtime pay.

The Vice President for Human Resources or designee determines the exempt or non-exempt status of university classifications. Special circumstances, such as an employee working in more than one job (also referred to as a dual appointment) that may affect their exempt status, must be discussed with the local Human Resources office before hiring employees into additional jobs.

Normal Expectations - Because of the many activities required to keep the university functioning, full-time members of the academic staff and regular exempt staff may be called upon to perform a variety of services for the institution apart from those normally considered to be their regular job duties. These staff members may be assigned these tasks either within their department or for another area within the university.

Further, it is understood that regular academic and exempt staff may often be expected to work in excess of 40 hours a week. Because these situations are considered to fall within the normal expectations for these staff, they would not constitute grounds for payment of additional compensation and the staff member would not receive payment in excess of 100% of the FTE salary.

If an employee receives a request to perform additional work for a department other than the employee's home department assignment (whether related or unrelated to the employee's current responsibilities), the employee must receive formal approval in advance from their supervisor or provide notification to the supervisor, depending on the duties:

  • For non-teaching dutiesthe employee must receive prior written approval from their current supervisor and the local Human Resources Office.
  • For teaching duties:
    • If the teaching duties occur outside the employee's normal work schedule, the employee must give prior written notification to their current supervisor and the local Human Resources office.
    • If preparation and/or teaching duties occur during the employee's normal work schedule, the employee must receive prior written approval from their current supervisor and the local Human Resources Office.

(2) Further Information

For regular non-bargaining unit staff and academic staff-libraries, contact your Human Resources office.

b. Overtime Entitlement

Any employee holding a non-exempt job and who is required to work more than eight hours in a day, or more than 40 hours in a week, is entitled to compensation in accordance with (1) below. The total hours worked for one or more departments of the university are to be counted in determining overtime even though employment in any one department does not exceed the standard 8-hour day or 40-hour week. University policy provides for overtime payment for hours worked in excess of eight in one day in accordance with state regulations. University policy provides overtime payment for hours worked in excess of 40 in one week in accordance with state and federal regulations. Overtime policies are applicable to non-exempt temporary and/or casual employees as well as to regular non-exempt employees. University requirements and government regulations require that overtime hours worked by non-exempt employees be recorded and compensated.

(1) Overtime Rate

The university's policy is to compensate non-exempt employees at a premium rate of one-and-one-half times the employee's regular rate of pay. For non-exempt employees, the regular rate is the weekly salary, including any applicable premiums required to be added by law, divided by regular, non-overtime hours worked. For non-exempt employees who are paid more than one hourly rate in a pay period, the overtime rate will be calculated based on the weighted average method.  

  • Non-exempt employees who work in excess of 12 hours per workday or in excess of eight hours on the seventh consecutive day of work in a single work week will be compensated for those excess hours at the rate of twice their regular rate of pay.
  • Overtime Rates:
    1. Time and one-half: hours eight through 12 in one workday
    2. Double-time: hours after 12 in one workday
    3. Time and one-half: first eight hours on seventh consecutive workday
    4. Double-time: after eight hours on seventh consecutive workday
    5. Time and one-half: after 40 hours in one work week, unless a double-time premium applies

(2) Overtime Hours

Authorized paid time off (e.g., vacation, sick leave, personal time off, holidays, etc.) counts as time worked in determining if a non-exempt employee is entitled to overtime compensation. Leave without pay does not count as time worked.

(3) Overtime Limitations

Overtime work is to be kept to a minimum because of costs. Departments should permit overtime work by non-exempt employees only when it is essential to the operation of the department. State law prohibits persons under age 18 from working more than eight hours per day under any circumstances.

(4) Approval of Overtime Work

Overtime work by non-exempt employees requires approval in advance by the department head or a designated representative who has the authority to schedule work and approve overtime compensation. Non-exempt employees cannot be authorized to schedule or approve overtime work for themselves. Non-exempt employees cannot be authorized to work unpaid overtime. In circumstances where a part-time employee plans to work in more than one job for the same or other department(s), the employee’s supervisors should contact the local Human Resources office for consultation on both topics before implementation. In the event an employee works overtime without obtaining the prior approval of their supervisor, the overtime hours must be paid, but the failure of the employee to follow this provision can be addressed through corrective action.

(5) Approval of Extended Overtime

Departments finding it necessary to schedule overtime for one or more employees on a regular basis for six months or longer as the only means of meeting work requirements, must obtain approval in advance from the appropriate Vice President or Vice Provost.

5. Alternative Work Schedule

a. Definition

"Alternative work week" refers to a schedule that allows non-exempt employees to work a standard work week (40 hours) that is condensed into fewer than five full days. A common alternative work week schedule is four 10-hour days.

b. Guidelines

Guidelines for Flexible Work Options.

c. Administrative Considerations

Managers should consider their operational needs before implementing an alternative work schedule. For example, an alternative work schedule may be used in the academic departments where expanded service hours are needed to accommodate client needs during irregular hours (e.g., students or clients in other time zones), but may be impractical when 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. coverage is the priority.

d. Alternative Work Schedule Election

Upon secret ballot election by affected employees conducted in strict compliance with applicable laws, and with the concurrence of management, non-exempt employees may work an "alternative work week," such as four 10-hour work days, with the understanding that no overtime premium will be due unless the employee works more than 40 hours in any one week, or the supervisor compels the employee to work more than the agreed upon hours in any work day. No alternative work schedule for non-exempt employees may be implemented unless it meets all legal requirements and prerequisites and is reviewed in advance by Employee & Labor Relations in University Human Resources. Contact your local Human Resources office if you are interested in exploring the option of implementing an alternative work schedule, or consult with Employee & Labor Relations and review these guidelines for alternative work schedules or flexible work options.

6. Special Compensation Situations for Non-Exempt Employees

a. Call-Back Time

"Call-back" time occurs when a non-exempt employee responds to an emergency call and returns to work outside their normal working hours without advance notice. The minimum compensation for "call-back" time is two hours pay. Compensation for "call-back" time includes all hours worked, including the actual time spent traveling to and from the "call-back" duty.

b. Standby and Beeper Pay

Employees away from work may be required to remain accessible for consultation or to return to work. Non-exempt employees assigned such duties are eligible to receive partial salary for the duration of the assignment depending on the extent to which that assignment restricts their personal activities.

(1) Beeper Pay

If that restriction is limited to carrying a "beeper," cell phone or similar device, and remain within range of the device, and be required to return any beeper page or call within 20 minutes, the partial salary is 5% of the employee's base pay for hours assigned to beeper duty, but not at work (called "beeper pay"). Any time spent by the employee answering pages or calls or returning to work is compensable at the employee’s base rate of pay or overtime regular rate, as applicable.

(2) Standby Pay

If the restriction is narrower than discussed in (1) above, and the assignment requires the employee to be prepared to return instantly to return to work, the partial salary is 50% of the employee's base pay (which must be at least the minimum wage) for hours assigned to standby duty, but not at work (called "standby pay"). 

c. Shift Pay

Shift premiums are paid to non-exempt full-time employees assigned to shifts other than daytime schedules. Non-exempt employees working full-time and assigned to swing shifts (shifts starting between 2 p.m. and 10 p.m.) will be paid a 10% shift premium. Non-exempt employees working full-time and assigned to owl/night shifts (shifts starting between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m.) will be paid a 15% shift premium. 

Non-exempt employees who work swing shifts or owl/night shifts for their own convenience rather than to meet operational needs shall be considered to be assigned to daytime schedules and paid their normal hourly rate regardless of when the hours are actually worked.

This shift pay provision does not apply to sworn officers in the Department of Public Safety.

7. Temporary Compensation for Work in a Higher Classification

Additional temporary compensation may be appropriate when an employee temporarily fills a position at a higher classification for two or more consecutive months, but typically no longer than six months, subject to additional considerations. The employee retains their classification and exempt or non-exempt status during the temporary assignment. In addition, non-exempt employees may be entitled to overtime compensation consistent with the sections in this Guide Memo. For questions or further information or assistance in determining the appropriate temporary compensation amount, contact University Human Resources, Staff Compensation.