Temporary/variable hour employees

Who are considered variable hour employees?

Variable hour employees are employees who primarily work in temporary non-benefit eligible positions.  Temporary positions are those positions not intended to continue indefinitely or whose hours vary and do not offer benefits.

Temporary positions may be filled by employees that are classified in a wide range of variable hour employment categories, including student employment, graduate assistantship, temporary hourly/salaried employment and part-time faculty.  For more characteristics of a variable hour employee, please click on the link below:

Other characteristics of variable hour employees:
  • Flexible hours - works sporadic hours (on call, seasonal, or filling as needed).
  • Works a standard schedule for a short duration and varied (tied to a project, for a specific time period, filling in for a vacant position, etc.).
  • May be funded from temporary salary savings.
  • Job may end at any time, at the supervisor's discretion.
  • Worker may be employed by a temporary hiring service and assigned to NAU, with Human Resources review.
  • Tied to Arizona State Retirement System 20/20 participation rule.
  • Paid on an hourly basis and eligible for overtime pay if physically works more than 40 hours.
  • Not eligible for compensatory time in lieu of overtime.
  • Not eligible for benefits.
  • Holds multiple positions.
  • Opportunity to gain a permanent employment.
  • Gain valuable work experience for a related field of study.

What is the intent?

If the intent is for your employee to work 30 hours or more for an extended period of time, according to the benefit eligibility rules, they are entitled to benefits from the start of their employment.  If you have employed someone with this intent, please contact your Employment and Compensation Analyst to discuss a method to resolve this employment arrangement. (i.e, create a benefit eligible position, or reduce the hours worked for your current employee.)

If you know that your employee will not be working for several weeks (3 pay periods or more) please terminate their employment.  Remember, a new hiring packet is not required for an employee with less than a 6 month break in service, so rehiring them should be fairly easy, and will make your tracking of hours worked for employees much simpler.  Terminating inactive employees is extremely helpful to HR as we track the hours for all variable hour employees at NAU.

Expectations for variable hour employees

How can a variable hour employee maintain their variable hour status and how can the department supervisor's monitor the variable hour employees.


Temporary/variable hour employees can be hired through the university's payroll or an outside temporary staffing agency with Human Resources review.