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

April 9, 2008

Council approves flex pay program, salary policy

by Erin Rosacker

A revamped program that would enable supervisors to award pay for performance incentives earned a passing vote (31-3) at the April 3 Professional and Scientific Council meeting. It is the group's second try at getting a bonus pay plan started at ISU.

A "pay for exceptional performance" policy, established by the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, in June 2006, allowed regent institutions to develop a program that would financially reward non-organized P&S employees. The University of Iowa successfully piloted a program in 2005.

After Iowa State's initial flex pay program failed to get campus support, a P&S ad hoc committee put together a program that addressed the main stumbling blocks -- paperwork and funding.

The committee developed a standard request form that requires written justification and approvals at the department and dean, director or vice president levels. Units would be responsible for developing their own approval process, but human resource services would maintain the approved applications and compile an annual report for the regents.

Funding options in the program proposal included full or joint monies from the employing unit, major administrative unit or central pool. Departments affiliated with employees in other units also are encouraged to collaborate in funding awards.

Current P&S employees (term, continuous, full and part time) who have been at ISU for at least one year would be eligible for the lump-sum award. The justification portion of the request must illustrate all of these standards:

  • A "significant and outstanding contribution and effort well beyond normal expectations"
  • A contribution viewed as "major, key or vital"
  • An "extraordinary effort to meet quality and quantity requirements while meeting the essential requirements and performance standards of the regular job"

During discussion, some council members expressed concerns about the inability of some departments to fund this type of program, essentially making it impossible for some employees to be rewarded for exceptional performance. For example, as proposed, grant dollars would not be available for use. These concerns were raised in the proposal, but implementation still was encouraged.

"This is simply one more tool we can put in managers' tool boxes for them to keep our good, productive, creative employees," said Lynn Mumm, council president-elect.

The program proposal goes to President Gregory Geoffroy for his consideration.

Salary recommendation

Council members unanimously approved a recommended salary policy from the compensation and benefits, and university planning and budget committees. The proposed 2.65 percent increase follows the rise in the 2007 regional consumer price index, as determined by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The recommendation applies the 2.65 percent increase to employees with a satisfactory (or better) performance appraisal, and to the P&S pay matrix at all levels. Allocations in excess of 2.65 percent could be used to reward performance. The state legislature's salary bill and the regents' distribution of that money are expected by mid-May.

  • Other recommendations for fiscal year 2009 included:
  • "Meaningful salary increase" for employees with satisfactory or better performance appraisal
  • Full funding of the increase from reallocated university-wide resources (if needed)
  • Funding for performance, market and equity increases
  • Language change to the salary policy in the Faculty Handbook (sets minimums for P&S employees with a satisfactory or better performance appraisal)
  • Implementation of a performance appraisal system


"This is simply one more tool we can put in managers' tool boxes for them to keep our good, productive, creative employees."

Lynn Mumm, P&S Council president-elect