Non-Merit Related Salary Adjustment With/Without Title Change

1. Introduction

Per UW System’s UPS Operational Policy: TC 3, the Chancellor or designee1 may authorize salary adjustments outside of the State approved pay plan. In accordance with this policy, a non-merit related salary adjustment may be warranted when there are changes to an employee’s duties and responsibilities, whether such changes result in title change, or not (e.g. needs arising from resignations, retirements, restructuring), promotion/progression, to address pay equity, or in response to market conditions. Requests for non-merit 2 related change of base salary, and/or title changes must be made via the “Non-Merit Related Salary Adjustment with/without Title Change” form. When making these requests, Deans/Directors must include all of the required information and documentation as outlined in this document.

Retroactive salary adjustments for personnel transactions are prohibited per Art. IV, § 26, Wisconsin Constitution. The request for non-merit adjustment shall be effective the pay period following the approval date of the Dean or Division Head.2

With the exception of temporary base salary adjustment, every request requires a compensation analysis that includes current salary rate data for individuals within the same title on campus, as well as an explanation of how the rate was derived.

The non-merit form and the accompanying documentation must be submitted to the Department of Human Resources. Once reviewed and approved, Human Resources will forward the requests from Academic Units or requests for increases greater than 10%, to the Chancellor’s designee for final approval. Salary adjustments are not considered final until all levels of review are complete.


1 Chancellor Designee = Provost; Provost Designee: Academic Units (Associate Vice Chancellor, Academic Affairs, Devarajan Venugopalan), Administrative Units (Associate Vice Chancellor, Human Resources, Tim Danielson).

2 Guidelines on Performance Pay Requests can be found at Merit Guidelines Outside of a State of Wisconsin Pay Plan.

2. Acceptable Reasons For Title And/Or Rate Changes

  1. Change in Duties/Title
    • When to Use
      • A Change in Duties is requested when a substantive change in duties and responsibilities of a position occur. The change has to be a qualitative rather than a quantitative change in duties. The title of the position may or may not change.
    • Documentation Required
      • In cases where the change in duties warrants a salary adjustment request but without a corresponding change in title, a current, and revised position descriptions, and the organization chart, must be submitted.
      • When a title change is requested for an Academic Staff, University Staff, or Limited appointment, it must be accompanied by a current position description, an explanation of the position changes (or a revised PD), and an organizational chart; or, if the title change was previously approved, a copy of the title change approval memo from Central Human Resources.
  2. Promotion/Progression
    • When to Use
      • Faculty: Faculty promotion occurs for progression through the Faculty ranks (e.g., Instructor to Assistant Professor, Assistant Professor to Associate Professor, etc.). Promotions that occur in-cycle should be entered through the annual budget process.
      • Academic Staff: Promotion occurs with a prefix change within the same title series (e.g., Associate to No Prefix Lecturer).
      • University Staff: For University Staff, promotional pay occurs via title change when identified as a promotion upon approval. Any base pay increase exceeding 5% of the minimum of the new range shall be submitted for review.
    • Documentation Required
      • Promotions subject to the Faculty and Academic Staff Promotional Increments for 2012-2013 memo currently in force, do not require submission of the non-merit related salary adjustment form. A Staff Hire and Job Change Form, accompanied with the title change approval, is sufficient.
  3. Equity
    • When to Use
      • An equity adjustment may be requested to correct an inequity identified through analyses of faculty or staff positions with comparable training, experience, and responsibilities (similarly situated group of employees).
      • Equity adjustments should not be requested to correct inequities which have resulted from the department’s distribution of past merit plan increases, base adjustments made in response to competitive factors, or due to impact of salaries offered to newly hired employees.
    • Documentation Required
      • A salary analysis identifying the “similarly situated group of employees” including the reason for the adjustments and a list of comparables with years of experience (e.g. years in title).
      • The methodology/formula used to determine the adjustments.
      • An analysis of the effect the proposed adjustments will have on the current salary structure within the department.
      • If the proposed increase is in response to the salary of a newly hired employees, the evidence of the necessity to hire at higher levels must be provided (i.e. market data from BLR or CUPA if regional or national search, evidence of previous failed searches, etc.).
  4. Market Factor
    • When to Use
      • Outside Offer: Adjustment may be used to retain a person who has received an outside offer of employment (with comparable duties and responsibilities) at a rate higher than his/her existing rate. The position offered must be from an employer outside the UW System.
      • Preventive: Adjustments may be used to retain a person or persons who have not received an outside offer, but significant evidence of the serious retention problem exists. Evidence may include a recent pattern of employees in the same discipline/unit receiving outside offers or taking outside employment with a higher rate of pay. This type of adjustment will be used only to retain small groups whose expertise is highly valued, and performance must be taken into account.
      • Competitive: Adjustment may be used when there is evidence an employee’s salary is below market peers.
    • Documentation Required
      • Outside Offer: The request must include a copy of the outside offer letter or other evidence of the offer (e.g. email from the respective hiring authority).
      • Preventive: The request must include evidence of retention problem, marketing data showing current salary is below market (e.g., salary surveys), and identification of the individuals and methodology used for the adjustment.
      • Competitive: The request must include market data showing current salary is below market and the identification of individuals and methodology used for the adjustment.
      • All requests for a market factor adjustment must identify the source of funds and an equity analysis the proposed increase will have on the existing population of employees.
  5. Temporary Assignment
    • When to Use
      • This adjustment reflects a rate increase for a temporary assignment such as an acting position while recruiting for a permanent position, unanticipated assignments of an unusual, short-term or non-recurring nature, or a temporary administrative assignment (e.g., chair).
    • Documentation Required
      • N/A
  6. Temporary Employee (TE) Adjustment
    • TE employees in the University Staff (formerly LTEs) may warrant an adjustment to their pay for any of the reasons cited in these instructions.
    • The required documentation is based on the reason for the request while taking into account the information provided herein.

3. Acceptable Amount of an Increase

  • Faculty promotional increases are a specified amount provided in the annual pay plan document.
  • Academic Staff promotional increases as specified in the memorandum from the Chancellor’s designee.
  • University Staff promotional increases may be set at any rate that is not less than 5% above the minimum of the applicable pay range, subject to the maximum of the pay range.
  • When there is a change in duties without a change in title, the minimum increase is determined by the appointing authority; a maximum of 10% is allowed. Exceptional situations where increases greater than 10% are proposed, the request shall be forwarded to the Chancellor’s designee for further review and approval.
  • When the proposed title is in a higher salary range refer to the promotional increment or pay determinations document for guidance as appropriate.
  • Other Increases: For increases such as market factor, equity, temporary assignment there is no set amount. The amount of the increase should not create an internal pay inequity.

4. Other Considerations

  • Salaries that exceed 75% of the UW System President’s salary require approval by the Board of Regents. This amount changes every year.
  • Salary increases for Administrative Academic Staff & University Staff titles must not exceed the title range maxima.
  • Activities related to securing enrollment (recruitment) or securing financial aid may not serve as the basis for an increase request.

5. Related Documents

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