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Pay Administration Guidelines

At OHIO, we value and prioritize our employees' well-being and professional growth. Our compensation program is designed to reflect the significance of each role within the university and align with external market practices. As a diverse and dynamic organization, we participate in various markets, competing based on the nature of each job. The University Human Resources Compensation (UHR Compensation) team diligently collects and analyzes market data from public higher education institutions, not-for-profit organizations, and local employers.

To ensure the accuracy and relevance of our compensation data, we utilize carefully selected published salary surveys conducted regularly by reputable survey firms. Our commitment is to maintain a pay structure that remains competitive in the ever-evolving job market. We understand that each employee contributes uniquely to our community, and we are dedicated to regularly monitoring and recommending adjustments to our pay structure to reflect current market standards.

Our pay grades offer flexibility to accommodate a variety of experience levels, from entry-level to seasoned professionals, and adjust to market shifts as needed. Every employee can expect compensation within the designated range, ensuring that no one receives less than the minimum of their established pay grade. For those with a base salary above the pay grade maximum, we implement a red-circling approach.

We believe in positioning pay within the range based on factors such as skills, competency, job knowledge, experience, performance, and available budget.

Compensation Guidelines for Administrative and Professional Employees

A.    New Hire Pay Determination

At OHIO, we recognize the importance of attracting top talent and ensuring fair compensation for new hires. Starting pay up to the midpoint of the pay grade for new employees is determined by the hiring manager, considering the candidate's knowledge, skills, and experience. Hiring managers are encouraged to benchmark against pay for similarly situated employees to ensure equitable compensation decisions.

Prior to offering starting pay above the midpoint of the pay grade, approval from UHR Compensation is required. Justification for such exceptions should be provided in writing, indicating why it is appropriate to offer the candidate a rate higher than what is considered “market” for the position. The reasoning should be based upon how the candidate already has significant experience in the job and demonstrates a high level of proficiency in all aspects of the job that would justify an offer above midpoint.

B.    Changes to Existing Employee Base Compensation

Any pay change initiated through a search process will be effective on the agreed upon date between the candidate and the new department.
Any other pay changes listed below, such as through reclassification or counteroffer, will be effective from the first day of the pay period in which the request was received by the UHR Compensation team for review. 

This ensures transparency and consistency in implementing adjustments.   

1. Promotions

A promotion signifies movement to a higher pay grade and is accompanied by a pay increase. The increase is determined by evaluating factors such as the pay range associated with the new position, the employee's current pay in relation to the new range, qualifications for the new position, and pay of similarly situated employees.

a.    Hiring managers may offer internal candidates selected through a fully external, competitive search up to the midpoint of the new grade. No offer should fall below the minimum of the new pay grade. Hiring managers should consider the candidate’s knowledge, skills, and experience, and the pay of other similarly situated employees to ensure an equitable compensation decision. Managers are encouraged to request a projected range placement analysis from compensation to inform salary determinations.

b.    Existing employees moved into a higher pay grade as part of an incumbent review or waiver/partial waiver of posting are eligible for a 5-20% pay increase with the percentage based on documented performance and equity placement. No offer should be made below the minimum of the new pay grade. Managers are encouraged to request a projected range placement analysis from compensation to provide data to assist in the department’s salary decision.

2. Voluntary Demotions

At OHIO, we understand that career paths can evolve, and sometimes employees may choose to take on roles in lower pay grades. This transition generally involves a pay adjustment, determined by considering the incumbent's current pay, the pay range of the lower grade, and the pay of similarly situated colleagues. When contemplating a voluntary demotion, it is crucial to consult with UHR Compensation for guidance.

Employees opting for a voluntary demotion will experience a 5-15% pay decrease, with the adjusted compensation not exceeding the maximum of the new pay grade. An exception request for no decrease in pay must be submitted to UHR Compensation for careful review and approval. The decision will be based on several factors, including the employee's documented performance and equity placement in the new role.

3. Lateral Transfers

A lateral transfer at OHIO involves movement to a position within the same pay grade. While this generally does not warrant a change in pay, any proposed pay adjustment must undergo a thorough review of range placement analysis and equity by UHR Compensation. The unit must have UHR Compensation approval before any negotiations or discussions with the employee.

4. Reclassification / Incumbent Reviews

Reclassifying a job at OHIO is deemed necessary only when significant changes occur in the duties and responsibilities, and the current role will not be backfilled. We recognize that minor changes in the job or exceptional performance do not automatically trigger a reclassification. During the annual performance management process, positions whereby duties and responsibilities have changed more than 30% should be submitted to UHR Compensation for thorough review. Reclassification requests should be channeled through the Planning Unit for comment before being submitted to UHR Compensation. It's important to note that jobs cannot be reviewed for reclassification more than once every 12 months, and this review is not applicable if the incumbent has been in the role for less than six months.  Changes to a position that results in a promotion, demotion, or lateral move for an employee will follow the same transparent pay practices mentioned earlier. In case of a change that reflects a downgrade, UHR Compensation will consult with Employee and Labor Relations.

Reclassifying a job is essential when significant changes occur in the duties and responsibilities. However, we recognize that employees may take on additional duties that warrant increased compensation even if a full reclassification is not deemed necessary. In such cases, the following options are available:

a.    In-Range Compensation Adjustment: If an employee assumes additional responsibilities that significantly contribute to the department's goals but do not warrant a full reclassification, the department may request consideration for an in-range compensation adjustment, pending departmental funding availability. This adjustment, pending a supporting range placement analysis as determined by UHR Compensation, allows for an increase in the employee's pay within the same pay grade, reflecting the expanded duties and the increased value they bring to the role.

i.    Equity Review: Before proposing an in-range compensation adjustment, the department shall collaborate with UHR Compensation to conduct an equity review. This review ensures that the proposed adjustment aligns with internal equity standards and considers factors such as job responsibilities, skills, experience, and performance.

ii.    UHR Compensation Approval: UHR Compensation will be the approving authority for the in-range compensation adjustment. This step ensures that the proposed adjustment adheres to internal guidelines and is consistent with the university's compensation philosophy.

b.    Additional Pay Adjustment: In instances where additional duties are expected to be temporary, a temporary pay adjustment may be considered, as outlined in the “Additional Department Options to Supplement Existing Employee Compensation” section below.

These options provide flexibility for recognizing and compensating employees for their willingness to take on more responsibilities, contributing to the overall success of OHIO. Departments shall collaborate with UHR Compensation to determine the most suitable approach based on the nature and duration of the additional duties.

5. Counteroffers

Counter offers at OHIO are considered for employees with a current, regular appointment, provided they present verifiable documented evidence of an external offer for a similar role. Approval from UHR Compensation and the Dean/Vice President is necessary before communicating the counteroffer to the employee. Once a counteroffer has been offered and accepted, OHIO will not consider future counter offers for the same capacity. Internal counteroffers are prohibited. Employee Recognition Awards may not be used for this purpose.

6. Equity Adjustments due to Compression

At OHIO, we understand the importance of maintaining internal equity within our units and ensuring that employees are fairly compensated relative to their roles. In instances where an employee’s starting compensation causes compression within a department, we have established a provision for equity adjustments to address this concern, pending departmental funding availability. These adjustments are not intended to ensure employees in the same job classification in the unit receive exactly the same salary, as rates may differ due to several factors including employee qualifications, experience, and performance.

Equity Adjustment Parameters:
a.    Identification of Compression: The department or unit head, in collaboration with UHR Compensation, will review the compensation structure of the department to identify instances of compression. Compression occurs when the salary of a new hire significantly overlaps with or exceeds the salary of comparably qualified existing employees in similar roles in the department.

b.    Evaluation of Internal Equity: UHR Compensation will conduct a thorough analysis to assess the qualifications of the new hire in relation to the existing employees in similar roles and will review the impact of the new hire's compensation on the existing employees in similar roles within the department. This evaluation will consider factors such as job responsibilities, skills, and experience. The department or unit head will assess if documented employee performance is a mitigating factor in the analysis.

c.    Equity Adjustment Proposal: If compression is identified, UHR Compensation will propose an equity adjustment plan to rectify the imbalance. This proposal should include details on the affected employees in the department, the extent of compression, and the recommended adjustments.

d.    Collaboration with UHR Compensation: Once the department secures the funding, the department will work closely with UHR Compensation to ensure that any proposed equity adjustments align with the university's compensation philosophy and guidelines.

e.    Communication with Employees: If approved by UHR Compensation, the department will transparently communicate the equity adjustments to the affected employees, providing a clear explanation of the changes and the university's commitment to maintaining internal equity.

f.    Regular Review: The university will conduct regular reviews of compensation structures to proactively identify and address potential compression issues. This ongoing evaluation ensures that our employees are compensated fairly and equitably.

This addition to the "Changes to Existing Employee Base Compensation" section emphasizes our commitment to internal equity and addresses concerns related to compression resulting from new hires. By implementing equity adjustments when necessary, we aim to foster a fair and supportive work environment for all employees at OHIO.

7. Exception Requests

At OHIO, we acknowledge that unique circumstances may arise, and exceptions to pay determination guidelines may be necessary. The department may request an exception by submitting written approval from the planning unit head. This request will be sent for consultation and approval to UHR Compensation, and if necessary, the Vice President of Human Resources. Our commitment is to ensure fair and equitable compensation decisions aligned with our employee-first approach. The decision-making process considers the best interests of our employees and the overall success of the University.

C. Additional Department Options to Supplement Existing Employee Compensation

1. Recognition Awards

Departments at OHIO have the opportunity to offer Recognition Pay in line with Policy 40.011. This serves as an incentive or acknowledgment of an employee's exceptional achievement. Our goal is to use rewards and recognition to enhance performance, motivate employees, instill confidence, and increase employee retention.

2. Temporary Changes to Job Content/Interim Appointments

Recognizing the dynamic nature of roles, employees at OHIO may need to assume additional or different responsibilities temporarily, ranging from 30 to 364 days. As these temporary and interim appointments can vary significantly, supervisors are required to consult with UHR Compensation when proposing temporary changes that necessitate a temporary pay adjustment. Policy 41.002 outlines the conditions for short-term additional pay.

3. Referral Bonus Program

Our Employee Referral Program is crafted to recognize and reward staff members who contribute to the recruitment of exceptional talent for open positions within OHIO. In the dynamic landscape of talent acquisition, this program prioritizes our employees, aiming to bring in the best talent. By doing so, we uphold our mission to inspire significant investment in OHIO and create transformative relationships that positively impact lives.

a.    Eligibility Criteria:

i.    All active assignment, full-time regular and part-time regular administrative staff employees are eligible to receive payment under the referral bonus program and must be employed with OHIO at the time of payment.

ii.    Referring employees that participate in the hiring process for the referred candidate are not eligible to receive the referral bonus.

iii.    Referring employees that will have direct or indirect supervision of the candidate being referred are not eligible for the referral bonus.

iv.    An employee may receive multiple referral bonuses in any fiscal year.

b.    Bonus Structure:

i.    The referral bonus will be paid in a lump sum payment in the amount of $1000 (gross amount), after the referred employee has completed the required length of employment.

ii.    The bonus amount, subject to withholdings as required by federal, state, and local laws and other regular deductions as outlined in University policies and procedures, will be processed and paid according to the regular payroll schedule. 

c.    Terms and Conditions:

i.    After the referred employee has completed six months of employment the hiring department will submit the bonus award request for processing.

ii.    For hard to fill, high turnover non-exempt positions, the department may submit the bonus reward request after the referred employee has completed two months of employment.

iii.    Referred candidates must meet the specified qualifications for the open position.

iv.    Referred candidates must not have been employed at Ohio within the last twelve months.

v.    The referral bonus program is for regular status administrative positions and is not applicable for student, temporary, intermittent, or faculty positions.

vi.    The referral bonus is subject to departmental funding availability.

vii.    The hiring manager will attach a copy of the referral email to the official search documentation file.

d.    Application Process:

i.    To participate in this program the referring employee must send an email to the contact listed in the job posting for each referral. The email must include the potential employee’s name and the posting link. The email must be received before the referred applicant applies for the position.

ii.    The referred candidate must apply for the eligible vacant position.

iii.    In the event the same candidate is referred by more than one employee, the employee who submitted the referral email first will receive credit for the referral.

4. Stay Bonus Program

At OHIO, we recognize the value of retaining key talent within our departments. The Stay Bonus Program has been established to acknowledge the dedication and contribution of employees deemed critical to the success of their respective departments. This program is designed to provide financial incentives to eligible employees, encouraging them to remain with the department.

a.    Eligibility Criteria:

Administrative employees eligible for the Stay Bonus are those identified by their respective departments as critical to the ongoing success and operations of the team, pending departmental funding availability. The determination of critical retention will be based on factors such as, but not limited to:

  • Specialized Skills: Employees with unique skills, knowledge, or expertise crucial for the department's continuing success.
  • Leadership Role: Employees in leadership positions essential for maintaining the department's stability and progress.
  • Long-Term Contribution: Employees who have demonstrated a significant and sustained contribution to the department's success.
b.    Bonus Structure:

i.    The Stay Bonus for administrative employees shall be a flat amount, not to exceed the equivalent of 15% of the annual base salary, and shall be distributed in either one or two payments to eligible employees.

ii.    The bonus amount, subject to withholdings as required by federal, state, and local laws and other regular deductions as outlined in University policies and procedures, will be processed and paid according to the regular payroll schedule.

c.    Terms and Conditions:

i.    Commitment Period: Employees accepting the Stay Bonus agree to remain employed in the same position within the department for twelve months following the date of first payment, as outlined in the agreement.

ii.    Repayment Clause: In the event an employee voluntarily leaves the agreed upon position within the department before completing twelve months of service, they will be required to repay any and all of the Stay Bonus that has been paid.

iii.    Intra-Department Transfer: Employees receiving the Stay Bonus must remain within the same department to retain eligibility. Any voluntary transfer to another department within OHIO during the commitment period will trigger the repayment clause.

iv.    Exceptional Circumstances: Exceptions to the Stay Bonus terms may be considered in exceptional circumstances, such as unforeseen personal or family-related reasons. Such exceptions will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the department and UHR Compensation, with final approval from the Vice President of Human Resources.

d.    Application Process:

i.    Identification of Eligible Employees: Departments will identify potential employees based on the established criteria for critical retention and shall develop a proposal for approval by UHR Compensation.

ii.    Agreement: Eligible employees will be required to sign a Stay Bonus agreement outlining the terms and conditions, including the commitment period, repayment clause, and other relevant details.

iii.    Distribution of Payments: The Stay Bonus payments will be processed according to the agreed-upon schedule.

At OHIO, we believe in recognizing and rewarding the commitment of our valuable employees. The Stay Bonus Program aims to foster employee retention, ensuring that key contributors remain an integral part of our university community.

D.    Title Changes

Job titles at OHIO should accurately reflect the nature of the work and the role within the institution. When contemplating a job title change, UHR Compensation should be consulted for guidance consistent with the University's guidelines and market practices. It's important to note that title changes typically do not warrant a change in job entry date unless accompanied by changes in job family, subfamily, career track, or level. Approval from UHR Compensation is required before implementing any title changes.

E.    Pay Structure Movement

Annually, the President, with recommendations from the Vice President for Finance and Administration and the Vice President for Human Resources, will make a determination regarding the movement of salary structures at OHIO. This decision is based upon factors such as the current competitive status of pay plan minimums, midpoints, and maximums; the financial means of the University; and the percentage with which other peer and comparison universities or organizations are moving their grade structures. Importantly, pay structure movement will not impact employee pay unless their rate falls below the new minimum of their pay grade.

Collective Bargaining Agreements

AFSCME 3200, AFSCME 1699, Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Police Officers, & FOP Police Lieutenants should refer to the language within their respective collective bargaining agreements related to bonuses and wages.