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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

Aug. 10, 2006

HR drafts proposal for flexible pay for P&S employees

by Anne Krapfl

As early as September, units could begin to develop plans for awarding bonus pay to P&S employees for extraordinary performance. Associate vice president for human resource services Carla Espinoza shared with the P&S Council on Aug. 3 a first draft of a proposal for a flexible pay program for P&S employees.

She said she hopes to get a final proposal to the campus community shortly after Sept. 1. The next step would be for college and vice president-level units to develop their own flexible pay guidelines and criteria for awarding bonus pay to employees within that unit. Once approved by human resource services, those guidelines would become the basis for evaluating individual nominations for bonuses. Bonuses don't become part of base salaries.

In June, the Board of Regents, State of Iowa approved a change to its policy manual that gives the three regent universities the freedom to develop programs for awarding one-time cash awards to non-union P&S staff for exceptional work. The University of Iowa piloted such a program last year. At the request of President Gregory Geoffroy, a late change to the policy included faculty in the employee group eligible for the bonuses.

Espinoza said the draft proposal does not apply to faculty. She said another proposal for that employee group will be needed.

Among the proposed details in the draft are:

  • Colleges and major administrative units would fund the flexible pay awards.
  • An eligible employee (non-organized P&S employee whose most recent performance evaluation was above average) could receive up to a total of 10 percent of his or her salary in a maximum of two flexible pay awards per fiscal year.
  • Bonus pay would have to be awarded between Oct. 1 and the April payroll deadline date. Espinoza said this precludes units from relying on end-of-year funds to award bonus pay. It also prevents bonus awards from being used as a "solution" to low salary increases in times of university-wide budget constraints.
  • Bonuses would be awarded for "extra-meritorious performance." They could reward "a variety of outcomes and behaviors e.g., project completion, sustained above-average performance and revenue generation, etc."

"This is not a mandatory program," Espinoza emphasized. "No unit, no supervisor needs to do this, but if a college or vice presidential unit wants to put together a plan, this would guide them."

In addition to members of the P&S Council, Espinoza said she is seeking input on the draft proposal from the offices of the three vice presidents.


Units at the college and vice president level could develop guidelines and criteria for bonus pay recognizing exemplary work by P&S employees within that unit. Bonus pay nominations would be evaluated against those guidelines.