Compensation

The following are commonly asked questions regarding the University of Puget Sound (the “university”) Compensation Policy. Please click on the question to be directed to the relevant policy section.

I.      Policy
Staff members are integral to the mission of the University of Puget Sound. In order to recruit and retain a talented and diverse staff, the university is committed to offering fair and competitive total compensation in the form of pay and benefits. The compensation structure should reasonably and accurately reflect the contribution of each staff position to the mission and goals of the university. Fair and competitive compensation is grounded in:

  • A clear understanding of our competitive position in all relevant labor markets in which the university competes for staff (see Establishing Pay Level below),
  • Confidence that we have valued jobs equitably in relation to one another (see Evaluation Process below), and
  • An effective staff compensation communication program.

Further, the university recognizes that not all rewards of work are financial. In order to recruit and retain a talented and diverse staff, the university is also committed to providing satisfying work opportunities for development and advancement. Finally, the university is committed to clearly demonstrating in its relationships with staff and others the values implicit in its mission, thus attracting and retaining staff who admire and ascribe to those values.

II.    Position Descriptions
Position descriptions describe the job, not the staff member who is currently performing the job, based on normal, recurring, required responsibilities, not extraordinary or unusual situations. Each position at Puget Sound should have a description through which the department head defines the position. The information generated through the position description process is used to evaluate positions, to group similar positions, to match positions at Puget Sound with comparable positions in external labor markets, and to assign positions to appropriate classifications and pay ranges. In addition, the position description is used for recruitment, selection, training, orientation, and performance management.

III.   Evaluation Process
Human Resources evaluates the position based on the following job competencies: 

  1. KNOWLEDGE: The mental aspects of work. The knowledge requirements, problem challenge, and mental effort required to perform the tasks of the position.
  2. INTERPERSONAL SKILLS: The total inventory of “people skills” required by the job, as well as the scope and diversity of these contacts inside and outside the university.
  3. JOB RESPONSIBILITY: The impact the job has on the university, including two basic considerations: (1) freedom to make decisions and act, and (2) supervisory or managerial responsibilities.

This evaluation process enables the university to relate pay to measured job content, thus providing for equitable pay relationships throughout its pay structure. The process evaluates job content and does not consider incumbent-specific factors (e.g., job performance or personal characteristics.

IV.  Establishing Pay Level

A.   Pay Range
Through the job evaluation process, positions are separated into groups based on relative job content. Within these groups, jobs that resemble one another - those with similar general duties and responsibilities - are assigned to the same classification and given the same classification title and classification description. 

A pay range is established for each group based on pay survey data. The university annually establishes a market pay line based on data for benchmark positions (positions at Puget Sound that match positions included in pay surveys). The pay line is derived from survey data specific to regional and national higher education employers and survey data covering a wide range of employers locally and regionally. The pay line represents the full market rate—the rate paid to experienced and capable persons who meet substantially more than the job minimum requirements. Pay range minimums and maximums are established based on the pay line.

B.   Pay Range Minimums, Pay Lines, and Maximums
Staff members are normally paid at least the minimum of the pay range to which the job is assigned. Pay for staff members who are relatively new to their occupational categories are at or near the minimum of the pay range. Ideally, pay for staff members who are fully qualified and whose experience and performance reflect full mastery of their positions will be at or near the pay line of the pay range (full market rate). Normally, only staff members whose performance has been consistently superior over an extended period have pay between the pay line and the maximum of the pay range.

C.   Pay Increase Program
The Board of Trustees makes decisions each year about proposed adjustments to Puget Sound’s annual operating budget. The budget planning process includes staff compensation – pay and benefits. Decisions about staff compensation adjustments are based on economic and market conditions and on organizational needs and resources. Neither general increases to the staff pay budget, nor individual pay increases, are automatic. Decisions about increases take into account a number of factors, including the external marketplace in which we compete to hire and retain staff members, equity among staff in comparable positions, and individual performance. When pay adjustments are warranted, it has been university practice to make such adjustments at or near the start of its fiscal year.

D.   Starting/Hiring Rates
The hiring range for new staff members is typically between the pay range minimum and the pay line. Decisions about starting pay rates will be made based on internal equity and market considerations. Pay offers that exceed the pay line occur in rare circumstances and must be authorized by the Vice President for Finance and Administration.

V.      Working Titles
The working title is the one used by the department to describe the position functionally. Working titles are submitted through the department head to Human Resources for review and then used by the department to make the responsibilities of the position clear to internal and external constituents.

VI.  Pay Policies

A.   Payroll Dates
The university is on a semi-monthly payroll cycle. All exempt and non-exempt staff members are paid on the 15th and the last day of each month. If the 15th or the last day of the month falls on a weekend or holiday, payday will be the preceding business day.

Non-exempt staff members are paid for time worked from the 22nd through the 6th on the 15th and from the 7th through the 21st on the last day of the month.

Exempt staff members are paid for time worked from the 1st through the 15th on the 15th and from the 16th through the last day of the month on the last day of the month.

B.   Additional Time Worked

Exempt Positions
Staff members in exempt positions are not eligible for additional pay for time worked beyond the normal work schedule. In recognition of the fact that staff members in exempt positions routinely work beyond the normal work schedule, the university has established a liberal vacation leave program for these staff members.

Staff members in exempt positions who are invited by the Academic Vice President’s office to teach a course at Puget Sound will first consult with their department heads. If the staff member’s teaching responsibilities are distinct from her or his regular staff responsibilities, both in content and in schedule, the staff member will receive additional pay for the teaching responsibility based on the university’s normal pay schedule for adjunct faculty. If the teaching responsibilities are not distinct from those of the staff member’s regular position, if the class is scheduled during the staff member’s normal working hours, and/or if the staff member’s other responsibilities are adjusted to accommodate the teaching responsibilities, then the staff member will not receive additional pay for teaching.

Staff members in exempt positions who perform incidental assignments that are outside of, and in addition, to their primary job responsibilities, e.g., assist with a special event, drive a van to an event, or host an event, will not receive additional compensation.

Non-exempt Positions
When projects and priorities require extra work beyond a staff member's normal schedule, the supervisor can rearrange work schedules and can require overtime when necessary to meet the operating needs of the department. If a staff member in a non-exempt position has work that he or she feels needs extra time and effort, the staff member must have the supervisor’s authorization before working beyond regularly scheduled hours. A staff member who works beyond regularly scheduled hours without prior authorization may be subject to corrective action, up to and including termination of employment.

It is the supervisor's or department head's responsibility to organize the workload in such a way that work beyond that which is regularly scheduled may be minimized and is distributed equitably among staff members. If a staff member is required to work beyond regularly scheduled hours on a given workday, the staff member may be scheduled for fewer hours of work on another day in the same workweek so that total time worked during the workweek does not exceed the regular schedule. Before approving work in excess of the regular schedule, the supervisor should check with the responsible budget manager to determine whether budget funds for additional pay are available.

Staff members in non-exempt positions are eligible for additional pay for time worked beyond regularly scheduled hours. Staff members must be paid for additional time worked, i.e., all hours worked in excess of 40 hours in the regular workweek. In determining the total hours worked, all hours a staff member is permitted or required to work for the university must be counted. This includes work performed on campus, at home, away from the campus, or traveling on university business and includes all hours worked for the university regardless of department or source of funds. Prior to authorizing a staff member to work at home, the supervisor should review the circumstances with Human Resources and secure approval from the next level of supervision for the work to be done at the staff member's home.

For all hours worked in excess of 40 in a standard workweek, a staff member in a non-exempt position will be paid one and one-half times the regular rate of pay for each hour of additional time worked.

Staff members in non-exempt positions who are requested to perform incidental assignments that are outside of, and in addition to, their primary job responsibilities, e.g., assist with a special event, drive a van to an event, or host an event, will be paid at their normal hourly rates of pay if the assignments are similar to their regular positions. If the assignments are different, staff members are paid an hourly rate consistent with the temporary assignment. Requests for staff members in non-exempt positions to fill assignments outside of, and in addition to, their primary job responsibilities must be coordinated through Human Resources before the assignment or pay rate is communicated to the staff member.

The university encourages staff participation in standing and ad hoc committees, and staff members in non-exempt positions may be elected or appointed to participate on a committee. While the university attempts to hold such committee meetings during normal business hours, schedules may require meetings to be held during staff members’ luncheon periods or outside of staff members’ normal working hours. If staff members are required to attend committee meetings outside of normal working hours, those hours will be counted as time worked. The staff member will consult with the supervisor in advance to determine any required adjustment to the work schedule.

The university considers the regular, one hour monthly meetings of the Staff Senate to be release time from staff members’ regular positions. In other words, staff members are paid for the regular, one-hour monthly meetings of the Staff Senate. If the meetings of the Staff Senate are scheduled during the luncheon period, staff members take their normal luncheon periods in addition to the one hour Senate meeting.

C.   Training and Travel
Training that is required by the supervisor will be counted as time worked. Training that is voluntary and outside of regular working hours is not counted as time worked. Required job-related travel that occurs within a staff member’s regular working hours is counted as time worked. Human Resources is available for consultation for questions regarding other training and travel situations.

D.    Emergency Response Pay
Staff members in non-exempt positions in Facilities Services and Dining & Conference Services that support the health and safety of the campus community will receive additional pay when required to return to campus to address emergencies. The staff member will be guaranteed a minimum of three hours (straight time) pay, plus pay for actual time worked. Pay for actual time worked will be handled in accordance with “Additional time worked.” Payment for time worked will be for actual time worked or one hour, whichever is greater. The three hours of emergency response pay will be made in the form of straight time pay.

On regular business days when the university is officially closed because of weather or other emergencies, this policy will be superseded by emergency campus closure pay practices determined in accord with the closure circumstances.

E.    Temporary Adjustment in Pay
Occasionally there are circumstances when a temporary pay increase is appropriate. Temporary increases may occur when a staff member fills a position at a higher level or when a staff member takes on a special project. If a temporary pay increase is warranted, the amount of the increase is determined by Human Resources in consultation with the department head based on the duties the staff member is being asked to perform.

F.   Transfers and Promotions
If a staff member is promoted to a position with a higher pay range, the staff member will be eligible for a pay increase on the effective date of the promotion. The increase for a promotion is influenced by factors including the staff member’s current pay level, the staff member’s related qualifications, internal equity, and available market data. There is generally no change in pay when a staff member transfers to a position in the same pay range. If a staff member applies for and accepts a transfer to a position with a lower pay range, the staff member's pay will generally be reduced to an appropriate position in the new range. If a reclassification or reorganization results in a staff member’s position being assigned to a lower pay range, the staff member’s pay may or may not be reduced. Such decisions will be influenced by factors including the staff member’s current pay level, the staff member’s related qualifications, internal equity, and available market data. If the staff member’s pay is not reduced and is above the maximum of the new pay range, it will be frozen until the new range maximum exceeds his or her pay.

G.   Reclassification
When the duties and responsibilities of an existing position description are anticipated to change materially, e.g., changing requirements, business practices, reorganization, and the new duties and responsibilities are likely to represent an ongoing change, the department head will review the changes with the appropriate cabinet member. The cabinet member will contact Human Resources regarding the timing and process for a classification review of the position, after which the department head will submit the classification review request indicating what duties and responsibilities have changed along with an updated position description. Human Resources will assess the classification and associated pay range and in consultation with the appropriate cabinet member and the chief financial officer will determine appropriate action considering available funding and other factors.

H.   Incentive Payments
The university does not provide any commission, bonus, or other incentive payment based in any part, directly or indirectly, based upon success in securing enrollments or the award of financial aid, to any person or entity who is engaged in any student recruitment or admission activity or in making decisions regarding the award of Higher Education Act Title IV program funds.

Revised: 1/1/2004

Revised: 7/1/2008, 3/16/2011, 7/1/2011, 2/7/2012, 12/22/2012