Compensation Policy 



The board approved a salary pool increase of 3.25%. Why is the general increase given to most staff 3.0%?

The 3.25% pool of funds available for staff salary increases will be used for:

  1. general salary increases equivalent to 3.0% of current base pay (for most staff), and
  2. market and internal equity increases for a limited number of positions across the university.


What role does the Staff Senate compensation committee play in making recommendations to the university?

The Staff Senate compensation committee is appointed by the Staff Senate to draft a proposal for the total percentage increase in the staff salary budget for review by the senate, before being presented to the Budget Task Force for consideration.  After the overall university budget (including the staff salary budget) has been approved by the board of trustees, the committee submits a proposal recommending the distribution of funds available for staff salary increases first to the senate for review and then to human resources. The committee’s proposal was included in the overall proposal that human resources presented to the president’s Cabinet.


What positions will be eligible for market and internal equity adjustments?

Market and internal equity adjustments are determined each year following an analysis of external salary surveys and an internal review of all Puget Sound positions. Some Puget Sound positions may need adjustments based on how they are currently paid compared to other positions in the external labor market and/or at Puget Sound. To ensure that we are able to retain staff and/or attract qualified candidates in areas falling below external market comparisons, some staff members will receive a market adjustment in addition to the 3.0% general increase. Internally, adjustments may be warranted when individuals in comparable positions with similar experience are paid differently, or when individuals in comparable positions with different amounts of experience are paid the same amount.


What does it mean to be performing below expectations?

Staff members who have been or will be formally apprised of below-expected job performance may not receive the 3.0% general increase. This includes staff placed on notice of possible termination of employment through the performance review process, a formal performance development plan, or other form of written corrective action. Decisions about these uncommon circumstances will be made by the department head and the division Cabinet member in consultation with human resources.


What is the lowest general increase that a staff member can expect?

No staff member in a regular position will receive an increase of less than 3.0% of his or her current base pay rate, unless a staff member has performed below expectations or was hired after March 31, 2017.


Does the university always grant general salary increases based on the staff member’s current base pay rate?

No. The total funding available for salary increases is recommended by each year’s Budget Task Force, considered by the president, and then forwarded to the board of trustees for approval. Because the funding and overall conditions change from year to year, the allocation plan approved by the president may change accordingly to best address circumstances and strategic objectives.


Do other universities typically award salary increases in this way?

Each organization chooses an approach to salary increases based on its resources, policies, and culture. Some organizations award only performance-based increases, some award across-the-board increases only, and some award flat-dollar or step increases only, while most attempt to annually balance equity, market competitiveness and meritorious performance against available resources by using some combination of these approaches. In some years, organizations are not able to offer salary increases at all.


How do Puget Sound’s staff salary increases compare with other employers?

Puget Sound’s 2017-18 general staff increase of 3.0% surpasses the median salary increase of 2.0% reported by the College and University Professional Association (CUPA) for 2016-17 and is equal to the 2017 projected median increase of 3.0% for businesses in the Puget Sound region as reported by Milliman in 2016.


How has the cost of living changed during the last twelve months?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national year over year average Consumer Price Index for all urban consumers [CPI-U] increased 1.3% during calendar year 2016. During this same period, the average CPI-U in the Seattle – Tacoma – Bremerton region CPI-U increased by 2.2%.


How has the annual salary pool increase been distributed in recent years?