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Compensation

Whether you’re a new employee or have been at UT for many years, the compensation team offers many services to support you. We also work with departmental HR contacts to process many different types of compensation and position transactions. Please call us at 865-974-6642 if you have any questions.

Compensation Project

The University of Tennessee system has been working on a three phase compensation project. The new compensation and classification structure is effective January 2021.

Phase 1: Staff Position Descriptions
The former position description questionnaire (PDQ) was replaced with the new position description (PD) form on July 1, 2017. This form made it easier to create and update staff position descriptions.

Phase 2: Job Families
A statewide human resources team was appointed to review and update job families—classifications grouped by similar types of work and required training, skills, knowledge, and expertise.

Focus groups with subject-matter experts were held at each campus and institute to gain a better understanding of the roles and levels within each job family. The focus groups provided essential feedback to ensure the new and revised roles within each family are an accurate description of work. Position descriptions for regular staff were used to validate the new job family descriptions.

Human resources offices requested updated position descriptions as the work began on each of the job families. All job families are available on the dedicated Job Family page.

Phase 3: Market-Based Pay Ranges and Benchmarking
Job families were finalized, and a system-wide external market assessment was conducted and market-based pay structures were developed. Positions were assigned to job family roles and pay ranges more reflective of relevant job markets.

Available Resources:

Job Families

Market Ranges

Leader Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

ERC/ESC – special webinar session

K@TE Informational course

Additional FAQs: (will be added as additional Knox Area specific questions are developed/received)

Please contact hrcompensation@utk.edu with questions about the project.

Tarah Keeler, Director, Compensation & Recruitment
Donovan Johnson, Compensation Analyst
Michelle Currier, Compensation Analyst



The Fair Labor Standards Act is a federal law that establishes minimum wage, overtime pay eligibility, record-keeping, and child labor standards affecting employees in the private sector and in Federal, State, and local governments. Employees covered by the Act are considered to be non-exempt workers and are entitled to a minimum wage of not less than $7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009.

Overtime-eligible employees must be compensated with overtime pay or compensatory time for all hours worked over 40 during an established seven-day work period. The established work period for most UT Knoxville employees is Monday–Sunday. The overtime rate is one and one-half times the regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40.

Compensatory leave may be granted in lieu of pay and is earned at a rate of one and one-half hours for each overtime hour worked. Paid leave does not count towards hours worked when determining overtime. Eligible (non-exempt) employees may accrue up to 240 hours of compensatory leave.

More information can be found on the UT System HR’s FLSA page. There you’ll also find details on recent proposed changes and updates to FLSA.




Compensation determines whether a position is designated as exempt or non-exempt from the FLSA based upon criteria established by the US Department of Labor. A designation is made when new positions are established and when there are changes to existing position description questionnaires. In order for an exemption to apply, an employee’s specific job duties and salary must meet all the requirements of the Department of Labor’s regulations.

The FLSA provides an exemption from both minimum wage and overtime pay for employees employed as bona fide executive, administrative, professional, computer and outside sales professions, as defined by the Department of Labor. There may be situations where a position has been designated as exempt based on job duties but the employee’s salary does not meet the salary threshold; therefore, the employee will be designated as non-exempt and will be eligible for the overtime provisions of the FLSA.