To: Deans, Directors, and Department Heads

Warwick A. Arden
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost

Charles A. Maimone
Vice Chancellor, Finance and Administration

Subject: Important Update: Suspension of All Nonessential Human Resources Actions
Date: March 27, 2020

In light of current circumstances focusing the university’s attention on the COVID-19 response, the UNC System Office is temporarily suspending the following nonessential human resources activities:

  1. Salary adjustments.
  2. Position actions, including creating new positions or modifications to existing positions.
  3. New hires.


The following exceptions may be granted under the following circumstances:

  1. When necessary to support the COVID-19 response, including any health care or clinical operations.
  2. When necessary to support or augment other clearly essential university operations at the discretion of the chancellor.
  3. When mandated by law or policy, including critical compliance obligations.
  4. When required by an employment contract.
  5. As otherwise directed by the UNC System president or his designee.

Exception requests should be submitted via your college/division/unit HR representative to the UHR classification and compensation unit for final review and approval by the chancellor.

Any human resources actions already in progress but not yet completed or implemented must be put on hold unless they meet the above criteria. This includes actions in process with the UNC System Office.

The suspension of new nonessential hires does not preclude the reappointment of existing faculty members under existing term contracts as long as the reappointment is subject to the availability of funds. However, we ask you not to process such reappointments any earlier than necessary based on term expiration dates.

Employment offers that have already been formally communicated may be honored with the caveat that a start date may be subject to modification based on COVID-19 and related public health restrictions. This does not include situations where an offer has been discussed or contemplated but not formally completed and communicated. Appointment letters for new hires with start dates in April, May or June should stipulate that start dates may be subject to change based on COVID-19 developments and related public health restrictions. In addition, the chancellor is authorized to waive normal posting requirements and alter minimum qualifications when deemed necessary for essential or emergency hires in response to the COVID-19 situation.

The following is supplementary guidance received from the UNC System Office on March 26, 2020, to help clarify additional questions regarding the suspension of all nonessential HR actions:

  • This suspension of HR activity is not designed to be a total hiring freeze but does intend for the chancellor or his/her designees to carefully evaluate each position proposed for continued recruitment and/or hiring to assure that the position is either related to COVID-19 response or otherwise necessary for the continued effective functioning of the university. It is understood that certain administrative, operational and faculty positions will fall within this category and may still need to be filled in spite of a pause for other more discretionary human resources actions.
  • This pause is not intended to delay faculty promotions and related promotional increases per your institution’s tenure code and related procedures.
  • This pause is not intended to prohibit acting or interim appointments and associated pay actions when such an assignment is necessary for the conduct of the university’s operations.
  • Institutions are authorized to proceed with graduate assistantship hires or extensions for upcoming terms when determined necessary for the continued conduct of research and/or instructional activities, including online classes.
  • Institutions are authorized to reappoint existing fixed-term faculty members so long as appropriate funding contingencies are provided for in any reappointment.
  • Institutions are authorized to implement hires which are fully grant funded as long as appropriate funding contingencies are provided for in any appointment. This does not mean, however, that nonessential salary or position actions should be proposed on grant funded positions for the time being.
  • Adherence to all regular university salary increase and position approval protocols and procedures remain in effect for those actions that must continue.
  • This pause is being implemented to defer discretionary hiring, to temporarily avoid nonessential salary actions, and to limit position actions which are not immediately necessary to sustain the university’s operations or respond to COVID-19.
  • Institutions are asked not to grant blanket exceptions to these provisions except for positions dealing with health and safety. All other positions, including permanent, temporary, full- and part-time, should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
  • These temporary guidelines are intended to assure that extra care and discretion is exercised for all human resources actions that are accomplished for the duration of this event. The implementation and oversight of this directive for each institution is delegated to each chancellor and their direct designees.

For more information, please contact the following:

  1. For general questions: Your unit/college HR representative or University Human Resources
  2. For new hire questions: David Perryman, director of Talent Acquisition and Employment at
  3. For salary and/or position action questions: Lori Preiss, director of Classification and Compensation at

3D Memo Information

Subject Important Update: Suspension of All Nonessential Human Resources Actions

Warwick A. Arden
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost

Charles A. Maimone
Vice Chancellor, Finance and Administration

Fiscal Year
Effective Date March 27, 2020
Category Governance and Administration