Forms, Policies, & Guides

306 - Base Pay Administration

Subject: Base Pay Administration

Section: U306

Date: August 4, 2005


To outline the philosophy and processes used to administer base pay at the University.


The University of Chicago is committed to providing a fair and competitive compensation program that will attract, retain, develop, and reward staff. The University's goal is to provide a competitive total compensation package tied to the application of knowledge and skills, and the achievement of organizational goals. In addition, the compensation program will comply with all applicable laws and be communicated clearly to staff. In conjunction with Human Resources (HR), managers administer the program.


A.  Base Pay Administration Guidelines
  1. HR - Compensation establishes and maintains pay scales based on appropriate market data from the areas in which the University competes for applicants. Each pay scale is defined by a set of pay ranges that have minimum and maximum values. No employee should be paid below the minimum or above the maximum of the range that is currently in effect for his/her position's classification.
  2. Individual staff employee pay decisions (for starting rate, promotion, reclassification, transfer, demotion, etc.) are made by the unit and are based on several factors including: job classification; pay range; market pay information; unit budget; internal equity; the applicant or employee's directly-related education, experience, and skills; performance; pay history; and the employee's pay rate in the pay range.
  3. HR - Staff & Recruitment Services and Compensation are available to advise managers and supervisors on staff employee pay rates by providing appropriate comparison information from both external and internal labor markets.
  4. All staff pay decisions must conform to the University's policy of equal employment opportunity, and federal, state, and local laws and regulations.
  5. Each position in the University should be regularly analyzed and documented through an accurate, clearly written job description. As job duties and labor markets change, each position should be reviewed to ensure it is appropriately classified. Each job description should be reviewed regularly in conjunction with the annual performance planning and feedback process.
B.  Annual Compensation Planning
  1. An annual base pay adjustment should be consistent with the results of the performance planning and feedback process.
  2. The pay rate should be reviewed in the spring of each year to coincide with the annual compensation planning process. Any pay adjustment made as part of this process is effective on July 1 for monthly paid staff and the nearest pay period to July 1 for biweekly paid staff.
  3. An employee who is hired, promoted, transferred or reclassified in the first half of the calendar year (January 1 through June 30) should have his/her pay reviewed during the fall for pay adjustment effective January 1. After the January 1 review, the employee should be reviewed again during the spring for a July 1 pay adjustment. Future annual adjustments should occur on July.

    The chart below displays this cycle:

    Date of hire/promotion/transfer/reclassification: 7/1 to 12/31 1/1 to 6/30
    Review date on following: 7/1 1/1
    Subsequent review date: 7/1 7/1
  4. It is the University's practice to award salary increases through the annual compensation planning cycle. As with all practices, however, some flexibility is needed to respond to exceptional circumstances. A supervisor or unit human resources representative may request an off-cycle adjustment to provide consideration to critical and/or unusual pay administration problems. With all requests for salary increases, a compelling argument must be made to explain the reason for an increase to a staff employee's base pay. Any off-cycle adjustment request must be sent to HR - Compensation before communicating the change to the affected employee.
  5. Any reasons for a pay adjustment outside of the regular annual compensation planning cycle may include issues such as external pressure in high demand areas, internal pay compression, and/or retention considerations. In these instances, a pay increase may be approved to remedy a pay inequity. Off-cycle pay adjustment is not granted to reward performance. Written justification must accompany any request for pay adjustment, including specific outside salary offers in cases of retention, or a specific analysis of pay relationships in the case of correcting an employee's pay.

Employees represented by a bargaining unit may be governed by the appropriate bargaining unit agreement.