Original Issuance Date: December 27, 2019
Last Revision Date: February 14, 2023

1. Purpose of Procedures

The purpose of this procedure is to provide minimum requirements for salary increases, specifically for merit, outside of the State of Wisconsin pay plan. This procedure outlines minimum standards and required documentation for merit increases in order to promote consistent and transparent compensation practices within the UW System.

2. Responsible UW System Officer

Associate Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer

3. Definitions

Please see  SYS 1225, General Terms and Definitions for a list of general terms and definitions.

4. Procedures

This procedure establishes the minimum requirements for merit for university staff, academic staff, faculty, and limited appointees who are eligible for compensation changes for meritorious performance in accordance with SYS 1277, Compensation. Merit criteria/factors to consider include but are not limited to:

  • Length or frequency of outstanding performance
  • Overall significance or importance of the employee’s work products to the goals and mission of the organization
  • Regularity with which the outstanding performance or unique contribution is demonstrated (e.g., an employee who routinely demonstrates exceptional performance and performs special projects on an ongoing basis, as compared to an employee who completes a one-time special project)
  • Whether the employee has acquired additional competencies (e.g., educational attainment, certifications, etc.), which are both specialized and critical in carrying out the permanent functions of the position

Institutions may consider additional factors for the award of merit increases as long as such factors are documented; based on the needs of the department and/or campus community; funding is available and has the approval of the appropriate chancellor [designee] and/or president.

A. Eligibility Criteria

  1. Minimum Eligibility Requirements
    1. Employees must be continuously employed by the institution for at least six (6) months prior to the effective date of the merit increase.
    2. Employees must have completed mandatory training and required requests for information, if applicable, necessary for institution compliance (not limited to Information Security Awareness, Title IX, Executive Order 54 Mandatory Reporting and Outside Activity Reporting).
    3. Employees who are supervisors must have completed required performance reviews for all their subordinates.
    4. Employees must have a current performance review documented and on file in Human Resources reflecting an appropriate minimum standard as established by the institution, based on its performance rating scale. If a supervisor fails to complete a required performance review, an employee’s eligibility for a merit increase will not be negatively impacted, provided that the supervisor otherwise confirms that the employee’s performance meets or exceeds the minimum appropriate standard for the institution.
  2. Employees Ineligible for Merit
    1. Employees currently under a performance improvement plan.
    2. Employees who are:
      1. Paid by Lump Sum
      2. In the Student Assistant and Post Degree Training job families (assigned to salary grades 51 to 58)
      3. On an approved non-medical leave of absence under SYS 1217, Non-Medical Leaves of Absence
      4. Temporary University Staff employees appointed pursuant to Section 6.A of SYS 1256, University Staff Temporary & Project Appointments

B. Lump Sum or Base Building Salary Increase

  1. An institution can provide an employee with either a base building increase salary or a one-time lump sum to recognize merit, as deemed appropriate by the institution.
  2. A merit increase cannot be used to exceed the maximum salary of the range, including an Extraordinary Salary Range (ESR). Employees at or near the maximum of the pay range may receive a merit distribution via a lump sum payment.
  3. Crafts Workers will be eligible for lump sum merit increases only.

C. Required Documentation

Each institution must adopt a practice that outlines the framework for approving merit pay increases.  At a minimum the practice must define:

  1. Meritorious performance for the institution which, at a minimum, includes the factors noted in Section 4, Procedures.
  2. Required documentation to substantiate the merit increase, which may include either a performance evaluation within the past 12 months or other documentation specified in a written policy, and/or evidence that supports the recognition.

5. Related Documents

SYS 1277, Compensation

6. History

Revision 1: February 14, 2023

First approved: December 27, 2019