A 6% adjustment to the pay matrix for professional and scientific (P&S) employees received approval from the state Board of Regents Wednesday and takes effect March 1. University human resources (UHR) leaders worked with consultants this winter to tweak the pay matrix to better align it with changes occurring in the market. It's the first overall adjustment to the pay matrix since it was adopted in September 2020.
Adjustments for two pay grades in the matrix, P803 and 804, took effect Dec. 1 as part of a strategy to be more competitive in the local Ames market.
Adjusting the compensation structure doesn't automatically move any employee's salary, but rather increases P&S employees' earning potential in the years ahead. However, the change will impact about 200 P&S employees whose current pay either places them below the new minimum or back within the new maximum of their pay grades. UHR vice president Kristi Darr said the managers of these employees will receive letters next week to share with their impacted employees.
Darr said an estimated 179 employees fall into the first category, and by Oct. 1 their salaries must be raised to at least the new minimum. She said units should plan for these required adjustments and, when possible, make the adjustments before the deadline.
Another 24 P&S employees return within their pay range with the matrix shift. This makes them eligible again for a performance-based increase to their base salaries. Employees earning the maximum in their pay grade can only receive one-time payments as part of the annual performance increase process.
The starting salaries for new P&S employees on or after March 1 also must meet at least the new minimums.
Darr said UHR's intent is to separate pay matrix adjustments from the annual performance-based increase process to give units time to plan for the financial impact of matrix changes and, where possible, the flexibility to adjust compensation to the market ahead of the performance review cycle.
Job assignments in pay grades also being studied
Darr said a second phase of their review of the P&S compensation structure, evaluating the pay grades some job profiles were assigned to, should conclude later this spring. Some employees could see their pay grade move higher as a result of the review.
"This step is an important piece in ensuring the overall structure remains competitive," Darr noted.
She emphasized this is a review of jobs, not individual employees. The review doesn't include and will not change job duties or exemption status under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Similar to the pay matrix adjustment, by Oct. 1, units would need to meet at least new pay grade minimums for any employees whose job profile moves to a higher pay grade.