P&S Council recommends 'significant' raises to counter inflation

A "significant" pay increase for Professional and Scientific employees in fiscal year 2023 is warranted in the face of increased inflation, according to the P&S Council report and recommendation on benefits and compensation. 

At its Feb. 3 meeting, the council had its first reading of the report and recommendation, suggestions it annually submits to senior leaders for consideration as they plan for the coming budget year that begins July 1.

In some recent years, the recommendation specified the minimum percentage increase the council believes P&S staff should receive if they have satisfactory performance reviews. This year's version, much like last year's, doesn't quantify a target increase, though it states that a significant raise would "reignite the passion and loyalty" of P&S staff.

The companion report notes that average P&S raises lagged inflation for fiscal years 2018-21, and inflation was 7% in 2021. Small salary increases combined with increases to health insurance premiums have resulted in net pay cuts for some P&S staff, the report said.  

"If a prospective employee asks a current staff member about compensation, their answer could be as simple as, 'This is a great place to work, but we haven't had a significant raise in five years, and our benefits were cut last year,'" the report said.

These trends come as P&S staff are taking on more instructional duties, helping address growing mental health needs and dealing with experience lost when colleagues departed via the retirement incentive option, the report said.

The council will consider approving the report and recommendation at its March 3 meeting.

Another home test option

There are numerous ways ISU employees can obtain an at-home kit to test for COVID-19, but an additional option was mentioned in a presentation to the council by university human resources benefits director Ed Holland and associate vice president for student health and wellness Erin Baldwin. 

Express Scripts, which administers Iowa State's prescription drug plan for employee health insurance, is offering test kits that can be ordered online. The tests are sent by mail and take about a month to arrive. They count toward the eight at home COVID-19 tests per plan member per rolling 30-day period that health insurance plans must cover under temporary federal rules effective Jan. 15.

To order tests directly from Express Scripts, log on to the Express Scripts website. The link to order tests is on the right side of the homepage.

Election nominations open

Nominations are open for P&S staff interested in running for a seat on the 2022-23 council. Staff can self-nominate or nominate someone else. See the council's election information webpage for a link to the nomination form. Nominations are due March 4. The council election will run March 21-27.

Twelve of the 30 seats representing the academic affairs division are on the ballot, along with five of the six seats for the president's division, three of the five seats for operations and finance, and three of four seats for student affairs.

Council members serve terms from one to three years beginning in June.

Conference reminder

Registration remains open for the council's annual professional development conference, to be held Feb. 23 (8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.) at the Gateway Hotel and Conference Center in Ames. Registration is $140 and is open to all P&S staff. To register or for descriptions of the keynote speaker and sessions, see the conference website.