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

March 14, 2008

P&S Council considers salary policy, flex pay

by Erin Rosacker

Representatives on the Professional and Scientific Council are mulling a proposed flexible pay program and a recommended P&S salary policy for fiscal year 2009.

Both motions, introduced at the council's March 6 meeting, are up for a vote in April.

The topic of flexible pay is not a new one. In summer 2006, the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, approved a "pay for exceptional performance" policy that allowed its member schools to establish a program that would reward P&S staff. At ISU, however, a proposed flex pay program failed to get enough support. Part of the problem was paperwork, another was funding.

The resolution introduced at the last P&S Council meeting supports a revamped "Exceptional Performance Pay Program" drawn up by a subcommittee of the council's compensation and benefits committee.

Performance pay guidelines

  • The committee's proposal set these guidelines for a pay award:
  • Does not increase base salary or annual increase
  • Given at the discretion of management
  • Should not replace or undermine other university awards
  • May be up to 10 percent of base salary
  • May be awarded at any time, but only once per year, per employee
  • Is not considered in benefits calculations
  • Is awarded in a lump sum

The proposal also includes these guidelines:

  • There is no guarantee or promise to a staff member
  • Criteria must be fairly applied, no arbitrary awards
  • All current P&S employees (full or part time) who have been at ISU for at least one calendar year are eligible

The proposed pay disbursement request form requires justification of contribution and effort beyond expectations; "major, key or vital" contributions; or extraordinary effort in addition to the standards of the employee's regular job duties. The completed form must get approval from the unit head and the vice president, director or dean to whom the unit reports, before moving on to human resource services.

Paperwork required by administrative units would be limited to tracking the number of awards requested and approved, along with a final list of awards with allocations. The program allows full and joint funding options from employing units, administrative units and central pools.

"I know this group has worked very hard on this," said Virgil Schmitt, chair of the compensation and benefits committee. "They put a lot of time and effort into it, and I think they've come up with an excellent document."

Salary policy

How to include recommendations from the Towers Perrin report on ISU's compensation structure was one of four issues executive vice president and provost Elizabeth Hoffman asked the P&S Council to consider in its FY09 salary policy recommendation. In response, the council said new salary funding in FY09 should address performance-based increases rather than the implementation cost of the report.

"This is the basis of the question: Do they have other salary funds in line to address this besides the salary funding that we get from the Legislature each year?" said Kevin Kane, chair of the council's university planning and budget committee.

Like last year, the council's recommended pay matrix increase mirrors the regional consumer price index issued by the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, which rose 2.65 percent in 2007.

The salary policy recommendation withheld a market adjustment, citing that "with the Towers Perrin compensation study nearing completion, it would be premature to make any market-based recommendations."


A resolution introduced at the March 6 P&S Council meeting supports a revamped "Exceptional Performance Pay Program" drawn up by a subcommittee of the council's compensation and benefits committee.