MADISON—Salary increases for University of Wisconsin System faculty and staff over the coming two years will depend on whatever funds might be available in the state’s compensation reserve, according to UW System President Katharine C. Lyall.
“Based on our analyses, we would need 4 percent hikes each year to keep our faculty and staff salaries competitive with their peer groups,” Lyall said, “but we know that funds in the state’s compensation reserve are limited.”
“In the past, the Board of Regents has recommended pay increases to the secretary of the Department of Employment Relations and helped fund them using tuition revenue,” Lyall added. “This year, all of our tuition dollars are committed to helping our 15 institutions cope with a $250 million cut in state support, so any pay increases will be limited by the state’s compensation reserve fund.”
Lyall forwarded faculty and academic staff pay and benefits recommendations to the Board of Regents based on competitive market analyses and recommendations from the UW System Compensation Advisory Committee.
The UW System recommended that faculty, academic staff and university leaders be asked to contribute to their health insurance coverage at the same level as other state employees. The Regents also are being asked to recommend that unclassified university employees contribute to their health insurance plans at the same levels as represented classified employees and teaching assistants.
Anticipating that the state will be able to afford less than the four percent needed, Lyall also suggested that the board modify its usual pay plan distribution guidelines (one-third across-the-board increases, one-third based on merit performance, and one-third based on market factors) in favor of an across-the-board increase for satisfactory performance if the authorized pay plan is less than two percent.
The Board of Regents is scheduled to vote on the pay plan and benefit recommendations at its meeting next Thursday and Friday (Oct. 9-10) at UW-Oshkosh. The board will ask President Lyall to forward the final recommendations to Karen Timberlake, director of the Office of State Employment Relations.
Timberlake will then recommend a pay plan and benefits package for university employees to the legislature’s Joint Committee on Employment Relations sometime over the coming months.
“As our peers continue to give pay increases of 2 percent to 4 percent—as we are seeing in some of our neighboring states—we are increasingly concerned about retaining faculty and staff who get outside offers,” Lyall said. “This would be a setback for our students and our communities as the state is struggling to recover economically and bring more ‘brain gain’ jobs to Wisconsin.”
Background information on the proposed pay plan recommendations can be found online as part of the October Board of Regents full meeting agenda.