University of Vermont

Human Resource Services and Operations

FAQs on Flexibility in Salary Increases for Non-Represented Staff

Frequently Asked Questions on Flexibility in Salary Increases

for Non-Represented Staff


Why should we incorporate flexibility in non-represented staff pay increase guidelines rather than continue the fixed increases of the last six years?


  1. Flexibility is consistent with the spirit of individual unit accountability.
  2. Flexibility allows supervisors to assign percentage or dollar increases differently in order to address merit and compelling compression issues.
  3. Flexibility will help mitigate the compounding influence of fixed increases, which otherwise results in an ever widening gap in salaries.
  4. Flexibility allows supervisors to use salary savings from turnover, changes in FTE, reorganizations, etc. to supplement individual increases for continuing staff.
  5. Fixed increases have the potential to encourage high performing employees to seek employment outside UVM.
  6. During the period of fixed increases we have experienced a significant number of reclassification and off-cycle increase requests, where jobs have not changed substantially and where the requests are clearly an attempt to award merit to high performing employees.


Has UVM always had fixed increases for non-represented staff?

No, prior to FY10, UVM’s non-represented staff guidelines allowed for consideration of market, internal equity and merit components in addition to a required across the board increase.


What will the across the board increase be within a 2.75% pool?

Considering the current annual inflation rate of 1.6%, a required across the board, or normal minimum increase, will be no less than 1.6%, unless otherwise justified.


Are performance appraisals required in order to make effective salary increase decisions?

Managers should be prepared to explain the reasons why they award pay increases differentially. Therefore, performance reviews should be an integral part of the merit increase process. To support your future efforts, the Division of Human Resources, Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, in consultation with Staff Council, will implement a new online performance appraisal process during the next fiscal year. Communication about the online performance management system is forthcoming. Until that time it is expected that managers will continue their current process of review and documentation.


Should we be concerned that supervisors will award increases inappropriately?

No, not based on prior experience. During the years we had flexibility in awarding fiscal year increases, managers were extremely judicious about awarding pay increases, resulting in the majority of employees receiving the full pool.


Even though we assume supervisors will award increases appropriately, are there other controls in place?

Yes. All non-represented staff fiscal year pay increases are reviewed at the department, dean/divisional, and HR levels to ensure compliance with the Wage and Salary Increase Guidelines for Non-Represented Staff. Managers will be expected to use discretion in awarding increases.


Will all non-represented staff receive at least the 1.6% across the board component?

Yes, unless there is documentation of seriously deficient performance. This is in keeping with current practice.


Does the remaining 1.15% of the salary increase pool give supervisors enough flexibility to address market, internal equity and merit?

Yes, even awarding a half percent less to an employee earning $50,000 allows a manager to award a full percent more to an employee earning $25,000. In addition, budget managers with salary savings from retirements, changes in FTE, reorganizations, etc., will have salary savings to supplement individual increases for continuing staff.


Should there be limits to non-represented staff increase flexibility?

Yes and no. Increases above the 1.6% across the board minimum increase, but within the 2.75% pool, can be made at the discretion of the supervisor.


What is the down side to flexibility in setting non-represented staff increases?

Some supervisors may not feel comfortable with flexibility when they have awarded fixed increases for six years. Classification and Compensation in Human Resources will provide guidance based on best practices. 


Will flexibility in setting non-represented staff increases require changes to existing processes and protocols?

Yes and no. Existing fiscal year protocols and procedures for budget building processes will support flexibility in fiscal year pay increases for non-represented staff. As always, Classification and Compensation in Human Resources and the Office of Financial Analysis and Budgeting will provide guidance and submission deadlines for this process. What will change from recent years is that each salary increase above the 1.6% across the board minimum increase will be determined independently.


To which groups does the flexibility in setting FY16 non-represented staff increases apply?

This will apply only to non-represented staff. Represented faculty and staff increases are covered by their respective contracts. Non-represented faculty guidelines (except for the College of Medicine) have been distributed by the Provost’s office.  As in past years, salaries for Deans and other senior university Officers of Administration will be established via a process defined by the President and Provost.