Q&A: Staff salary structure and increases

The guest presentation at our May Area Reps meeting was from HR’s Chantal Moore who gave a presentation about annual salary increases. You can download the presentation slides from the HR website (PDF). The conversation broadened into questions about how the salary structure works in general and we’ve followed up on a few questions since the meeting. We hope this information helps!

Where can I find more information about how salaries work?

There’s a helpful Q&A about staff salaries on the HR website: University of Waterloo University Support Staff Compensation Program. HR also has a Q&A for managers about the salary increase process.

Do we get cost-of-living or scale increases?

Only indirectly: The entire salary grid (minimum, job value, and maximum for each USG level) goes up by a scale increase each year. The scale increase is part of our three-year salary agreements with the University. Your annual increase is calculated based on your current position within your USG level, the job value of that USG level, and your merit score (see the presentation slides for more on this formula). Because the scale increase raises the job value every year, your salary will always go up by some amount.

This year, because of Bill 124, the scale increase is 1% (we are revisiting this now that the bill has been struck down in court). The University just announced revisions to the Faculty Association’s settlement that include a scale increase of more than 2% and a lump sum payment.

What options are available for staff who feel they are not paid equitably?

Come see us at the UWSA! Our Members’ Advisory Committee can help you understand your options, including having your job re-evaluated (also see Policy 5, section 3E).

What options are available to staff who are at the top of their pay scale?

The UW salary structure is designed to ensure that staff with roughly the same responsibilities are paid roughly the same amount. If you’ve maxed out your salary at your job’s USG level and are seeking a higher salary, your job will need to change. You can review your job description with your manager and if your responsibilities have changed significantly, you can have your role re-evaluated to see if it should be in a higher USG level. Again, our Members’ Advisory Committee can provide support if you need it.

Your other option is, of course, to apply for a job at a higher grade. Sue Fraser, Employee Career Advisor, is available to help you with that!

What on earth are salary pools and who decides who’s in which pool?

This is a great question. Interestingly, this aspect of the salary structure isn’t covered in the policy on University Support Staff Salary Administration (Policy 5), but they are explained briefly on the HR Support Staff Compensation Program page. We have asked HR for more details about how the pools work and where they’re documented, and plan to discuss this at an upcoming PACSC meeting, with the hope that we’ll have more information to share with you soon!

More questions? Ask your Area Rep to bring them forward!