Non-Merit Related Salary Adjustment With/Without Title Change

  • Post-TTC Implementation Interim Guidance
  • Effective: November 7, 2021
  • Revised: June 2, 2022

  1. Introduction

    Per UW System Administrative Policy SYS 1277 and UW System Administrative Procedure 1277.A, 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, to address pay equity/parity, or in response to market conditions. Requests for non-merit2 related change of base salary, and/or title changes must be made via the Compensation Action Request form in Streamline. When making these requests, Deans/Directors, in coordination with their HR Business Partner, 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 to the Chancellor’s designee for final approval. Salary adjustments are not considered final until all levels of review are complete.


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



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


  2. Acceptable Reasons For Rate Changes
    1. Change in Responsibilities/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 summary of the change in responsibilities (including supplemental position descriptions, where available), must be submitted.
      • A Non-Merit request submitted based on a change in title must follow approval in accordance with the Title Review Guidelines for Filled Positions. A copy of the title change approval notification must be included with the request.
    2. Promotion

      When To Use

      • Faculty: Faculty promotion occurs for progression through the Faculty ranks (e.g., Assistant Professor to Associate Professor, etc.). Promotions that occur in-cycle should be entered through the annual budget process. Requests for the approved promotional increment need not require approval through Central HR:
        • Promotion from Assistant to Associate Professor: $6,000
        • Promotion from Associate to Full Professor: $8,000
      • Academic Staff: Salary adjustment for achievement of Indefinite Status shall be a promotional increment of $4,000.
        • Instructional Academic Staff in a Title Series (e.g., Clinical Assistant Professor, Adjunct Associate Professor): Pay for promotion within an existing title series will be determined based on other non-merit reasons (e.g., change in duties, parity, market comparison).
      • 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.
      • Note for Academic Staff and University Staff: With the implementation of the TTC Project on November 7, 2021, title progression will no longer occur. Additional guidance on Career Progression/Progression within pay range will be forthcoming.

      Documentation Required

      • Promotions are to be submitted in the Compensation Action Request Form. Request should be accompanied with documentation of the title change approval. As of November 7, 2021, only Faculty remain eligible for Provost Office Promotional Increments.
    3. Parity (previously called Equity)

      When To Use

      • A parity 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).
      • Parity 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 comparable positions 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 BLS 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.

      Note: An adjustment due to market reasons will generally be a base-building adjustment. A lump sum payment may be considered for retention purposes when increasing an employee’s salary is not advised. Please consult with central HR for appropriate use of a lump sum for retention purposes.

      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/Temporary Change in Responsibilities

      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

      • Request should include an overview of the duties being performed, how the base adjustment was
        determined, and a request duration for the temporary adjustment.
    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
    • 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 there is a change in duties resulting in a title change, and the proposed title is in a higher salary range, rate change will be considered a promotion. Pay should be commensurate with individual qualifications and with consideration to internal parity.
    • Other Increases: For increases such as market factor, parity, 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 titles in the Category A (TTC) salary structure 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.

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