University of Waterloo Support Staff Compensation Program

Objectives of Compensation

The pay practices of the University of Waterloo are intended to do many things: attract highly qualified applicants; retain competent employees; maintain internal pay equity; compensate employees relative to responsibility; encourage higher performance levels; and comply with government requirements. These pay practices are governed by the desire to provide good and fair compensation, while considering the University's current financial requirements, and future financial commitments.

How this is Accomplished

The University has developed a formal salary structure which takes into account the following compensation elements:

Policy 5, "Salary Administration, University Support Staff" which defines: the University's philosophy regarding salaries and pay practices for individuals covered by the Policy; those responsible for the development and administration of these practices; and how this is accomplished.

Salary Plan or Structure: at Waterloo, there are 21 University Support Group (USG) salary ranges, which are based on their relative value to the organization as well as to each other.

Job Evaluation: this is the comparison of jobs based on skill, effort, responsibility, and working conditions that result in the assignment of a USG classification. The University uses the Hay point-factor system, which provides a consistent process for evaluating all jobs.

Legislative Requirements: these include Income Tax, Canada Pension Plan, and Employment Insurance as well as the Pay Equity Act and other relevant legislation.

Financial Resources: the University makes every effort to pay competitive salaries within the constraints of available funding and University budget priorities.

Job Values and Salary Ranges

Each USG level is assigned a job value which represents the salary of an employee who is performing all the job duties at a competent level.

Because most individuals new to a position may need time to become acquainted with the job and to learn all the relevant skills, they are usually hired below the job value. Individuals who are in a position for a lengthy period may be performing the responsibilities of the position above the normally expected levels and could be at a salary that exceeds the value of the job.

To recognize this, salary ranges are developed around the job value to allow for learning a job and for growing in the job. Salary ranges are often expressed as a percentage with the job value at 100%, the figure between the minimum and the maximum of each salary range. Individuals whose salaries are at or around the job value are being compensated at the value of the job. Individuals whose salaries are in the 80 to 99% position of the range are normally gaining experience and knowledge. Those with salaries beyond 100% are compensated above the value of the job and are recognized as employees with extensive experience (long service) and knowledge beyond the normal requirements of the job.

Individuals newly hired into a position would normally begin with a salary positioned between the minimum and the job value. Those with skill sets and working experience which allow them to do the job at, or close to the job value, would have starting salaries to reflect this. While those who need to acquire the necessary skills and experience would have starting salaries toward the bottom of the range.

How Salary Increases Are Determined
Relevant Facts

All increases are based on merit (the rating you received on your performance appraisal).
There are no scale/general/cost-of-living or across-the-board increases.
Job values are increased by an amount recommended to the Vice-President, Academic & Provost by the Provost's Advisory Committee on Staff Compensation in accordance with the process defined in Policy 5.
The Provost's Advisory Committee on Staff Compensation has four members representing the Staff Association, four members representing the University Administration, and is chaired by the Chief Human Resources Officer.

Salary Ranges

Each staff member's position is classified within the USG levels 1 to 21, with an approximate difference between job values of 9%. Each of these levels (salary ranges) has a minimum, job value and maximum:

80% = Minimum 100% = Job Value 120% = Maximum

Staff members' salaries within the range are expressed relative to the value of the job.

For example: two staff members in USG 4 where staff member X has an annual salary of $27,221.81 and staff member Y has an annual salary of $30,087.27, both based on a 35-hour workweek. The range for USG 4 looks like this:

80% 100% 120%
$22,923.63 $28,654.54 $34,385.45
Member X
(95% of job value)
Member Y
(105% of job value)

Therefore, staff member X has a position in the range of 95% or 5% below the value of the job. Staff member Y has a position in the range of 105% or 5% above the value of the job. Individual staff members can determine their position in the range (expressed as a percentage) in relation to the job value by dividing their salary by the job value (100%) of the salary range for their position.

Performance Appraisal

Each year, staff members receive a performance appraisal rating between 1 and 5, with the following, corresponding interpretations:

5.0 Exceptional performance in all areas of the job requirements, which is recognized throughout their unit or broadly throughout the University.
4.0 Performance significantly exceeded the requirements of the job in one or more key areas.
3.0 Performance was fully satisfactory in all key areas.
2.0 Need for recognizable improvement in one or more key areas.
1.0 Performance was significantly below job requirements in several important areas and improvements will be required or re-assignment or termination will be considered. Ratings at this level are subject to disciplinary action.

Note: Evaluators may add a .5 increment to a staff member's rating to acknowledge performance that exceeds one category, but does not achieve the next.

Corresponding to each performance appraisal rating is a target salary:

5.0: sets a target salary of... 120% or 20% above the job value
4.5:... 115% or 15%...
4.0:... 110% or 10%...
3.5:... 105% or 5%...
3.0:... 100% (the job value)

Salary increases are based on performance, and will move individuals' actual salaries closer to the target salaries for their levels of performance.

Merit Pools

A merit pool to recognize performance is calculated on a Department/School, Faculty or organizational group basis (subsequently referred to as "unit"). The merit pool is determined by:

a) total salaries and the job values in the unit;
b) total salaries and the job values for those below the job value for their positions;
c) adjustment to the job values.

The amount of money in the merit pool does not depend on the performance ratings assigned. However, ratings do determine the way the merit pool is distributed to staff members within the unit.

Individual staff members receive salary increases based on their performance ratings and position in the range. Basic increases move individuals toward the target salaries for their performance ratings, and this movement is accelerated for those below the value of the job. Basic increases cannot be adjusted by the manager.

If there are funds remaining in the merit pool after responding to the basic increase, a supplementary increase will be calculated to distribute the remainder of the money to eligible staff members within the unit. The supplementary increases, where applicable, are provided so that staff members may advance toward their target salaries more rapidly. Performance and range position will normally indicate this distribution, but managers may make further adjustments, taking into account factors such as equity within the unit. However, no supplementary increases may be awarded to individuals who are already at or above their target salaries.

Examples of Basic Increases (based on a 1% adjustment for illustrative purposes only)

Performance Rating 3 4 5
Position in Range Basic Increases
90% 2.50% 3.00% 3.50%
95% 1.75% 2.25% 2.75%
100% 1.00% 1.50% 2.00%
110% 0% 1.00% 1.50%

If you would like further information or explanation, please contact or ext. 45935 for any questions.

Some Common Questions About The Salary Program

The report of the Provost's Advisory Committee on Staff Compensation said that the range increase was 1%. Does this mean I am guaranteed an increase of that percentage?

No. There are no automatic increases in the Staff Compensation Program. The range increase is the amount by which the job values are adjusted, normally each year, as a result of the recommendations made by the Provost's Advisory Committee on Staff Compensation. They are not minimum increases.

Why would I receive less than the job value increase of 1%?

If your current position in the range is above the target salary which corresponds to your performance rating, your salary increase will be less than the range increase. This will occur even if your performance rating reflects performance above the competent level.

Why did I receive only the job value adjustment of 1%?

If your current position in the range is equivalent to the target salary which corresponds to your performance rating, then your increase will be the job value adjustment of 1%. For example: if you are rated 3 and your position in the range is 100%, you will receive the job value adjustment of 1%. Or, if you are rated 4 and your position in the range is 110%, or 10% above the job value, you will receive the job value adjustment of 1%. Since you are already at your target salary, the system will maintain that position until your performance rating changes.

Can my performance rating be changed to fit the pool of money?

No. One of the reasons the performance evaluation process and the merit exercise have been separated is to specifically address this concern. In fact, performance evaluations are normally a matter of record before the salary increases are determined.

When should I expect to reach the job value of my position?

There is no guaranteed time to reach the job value. Your starting salary in your position, your annual rating and the supplementary portion of the annual increase all affect how quickly or slowly your salary moves. However, you should anticipate being close to or at the job value within four to five years of beginning your current position.

What happens once I reach my target?

Provided your performance rating does not change, increases in your salary are equal to the percentage increase in the job value. If your rating goes up or down, a new target is set.

How do I know where my salary is in relation to the job value of my grade?

To determine where your salary is in your grade, divide your salary by the job value of your grade.

Prepared by the Provost's Advisory Committee on Staff Compensation
February 1999
Reviewed 2002
Revised 2005 to update USG ranges

Revised 2010 to update title