P&S Council delays vote on hiring and employment policy

The Professional and Scientific Council voted at its May 2 meeting to wait until June to decide whether to endorse a proposed new policy and guidelines outlining procedures for seeking, hiring and promoting employees.

The draft hiring and employment policy was published on the policy library website three days before the council's meeting, and some councilors were concerned that their constituents had limited time to review the proposal before the council's planned vote.

The proposed policy outlines general policies for all employee searches. Proposed hiring and employment guidelines offer more detailed information about the search and hiring process for all employees, including the role of the human resources service delivery teams that will launch July 1. The guidelines also cover specific procedures for promotions, transfers and demotions for P&S staff. The proposals would replace existing policies for P&S staff concerning open searches, recruitment and selection, changes in employee status, reclassification and reclassification salaries. The proposals are open for public comment through May 31.

The university's policy library advisory committee spent several months drafting the proposal and has been open to feedback, said Sara Parris, the council member who sits on the committee.

"We have really reviewed this exhaustively and tried to look at it from all angles," she said.

Because the open comment period on the policy and guidelines ends less than a week before the council's June 6 meeting, waiting to vote on the endorsement won't cause much delay, councilor Barb Wollan said.

The motion the council delayed would request a few changes to the guidelines, including the clarification of several terms. For example, the motion calls for further definition of the word "temporary" in a section noting that temporary backfill of other positions doesn't necessarily result in a promotion or higher pay.

The council's motion also asks that the guidelines include a way for employees to request reclassification without discussing it with their manager and spell out the documentation required for a promotion pay increase beyond the 55th percentile of the pay range.

Current policy requires the new salary of a promoted P&S staff member to land within the lowest third of the pay range, unless a senior vice president approves a larger raise. The new guidelines say a raise for a promotion that would set a salary above the 55th percentile of the range is "atypical" and requires documented justification to university human resources (UHR).

The proposed 55th percentile threshold may change before the guidelines are implemented, depending on feedback from senior leaders, and could be reevaluated over time if needed, said Emma Houghton, UHR director of classification and compensation.

The changes proposed do not impact the policy on starting salaries for P&S staff, which requires UHR approval for starting pay above the first one-third of a classification's range. Houghton said the starting rate of pay policy will be looked at as part of the ongoing P&S classification and compensation review.

Other business

The council approved motions endorsing three other policy proposals that didn't involve any substantial changes to university practices, including payroll policies on direct deposit and P&S staff who work less than 12 months.

Council also endorsed a proposal on providing reasonable accommodations for employees and applicants, a new policy that reflects established university practices. Public comment on the accommodations policy is open through May 20.

How to provide feedback

Employees with comments or questions about policy proposals can submit them by email at policy@iastate.edu.