Original Issuance Date: December 27, 2019
Last Revision Date: December 27, 2019

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

Senior 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.

Definitions specific to this policy:

Institution base funds: Institutional funds that are part of an institution’s budget, not part of Board of Regents pay plan funds.

Compensatory time: Time off the job which is earned and accrued by an employee in lieu of immediate cash payment for overtime in accordance with FLSA.

Extraordinary Salary Range (ESR): An approved salary range that is greater than the assigned range for the title. An ESR can be either system wide or institution specific. An ESR is associated with one of the following:

  •  A title (e.g., clinical anesthetist)
  • A portion of a title series (e.g., nurse practitioners, within the clinical nurse specialist series)

An ESR can apply to any faculty, academic staff, university staff, or limited appointee position, including temporary or permanent positions.

Overtime: Any hours worked over forty (40) in a work week by an FLSA non-exempt employee.Premium rate: means the regular hourly rate plus .5 times the regular rate paid the FLSA non-exempt employee.

Range spread: The percent difference from the midpoint of the range to the minimum and maximum

Regular rate: The average hourly rate actually paid the employee as straight time pay for all hours worked in the workweek or work period, including all remuneration for employment paid to, or on behalf of, the employee, except any payments specifically excluded from the calculation of the regular rate under the FLSA and related federal regulations.

Work hours: Work time as directed by the appointing authority during which an employee must be on duty and/or at a prescribed place of work.

Range Minimum: The lowest salary that will be paid to individuals qualified to hold positions in the range.

Range Mid-Point: The salary that represents the middle of the range i.e. the salary is equidistant to the minimum of the range and the maximum of the range.

Range Maximum: The highest salary that can be paid to individuals holding positions in a range. A salary above range maximum will be “red-circled” until adjustments to the salary structure bring it to within range. A range maximum can be exceeded if an extraordinary salary range is approved.

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 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 pre-approved; 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

I. Minimum Eligibility Requirements:

  1. Employees must be continuously employed by the institution position for at least twelve 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 Executive Order 54 training and Outside Activity Reporting).
  3. Employees who are supervisors must have completed performance reviews for all their subordinates by scheduled timelines for the fiscal year.
  4. Employees must have a current performance review documented and on file in Human Resources an appropriate minimum standard as established by the institution, based on its performance rating scale.

II. Employees Ineligible for Merit:

  1. Employees who have begun a new appointment within 6 months of the request and/or are on probationary period.
  2. Employees currently under a performance improvement plan.
  3. Employees who have received a promotion or other salary adjustment within the preceding 6 months from the request.
  4. Employees who have received merit increase outside of pay plan in two consecutive years.
  5. Employees in the following classifications are ineligible for merit increases:
  1. Ad hoc employees
  2. Interns
  3. Interim, acting appointments, or employees with temporary base adjustments
  4. Graduate assistants and fellows
  5. Student Hourly Staff
  6.  Employees on an approved leave of absence
  7. Temporary employees

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.

C. Required Documentation

Each institution shall 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 2: Background.
  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
SYS 1277.A, Compensation: Extraordinary Salary Ranges

6. History

First approved: December 27, 2019