Faculty and staff compensation updates

Oct. 27, 2016

Dear UNT faculty and staff members,

Taking care of faculty and staff ― some of our most important assets at UNT ― is a priority, and I’m happy that we’ve got many positive things happening to that end.

Many of you are likely aware that we are in the final stages of the university’s Staff Job Evaluation and Grading Project. This has been an important initiative for our university, and I’m looking forward to its completion. We also are providing a merit pool for the FY 2017 year to reward high-performing staff and faculty. There also is a new change to the federal rule affecting compensatory “comp” time. With so much happening at the same time, I wanted to provide details on the timelines and potential impacts for each change.

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
Recent changes to this federal law require that full-time staff members who earn a base salary less than $47,476, with some exceptions (including faculty, salaried graduate students, etc.), receive “time-and-a-half” compensatory time for hours worked over 40 in a work week. Previously, employees making a base salary less than $23,660 were part of this category, referred to as “non-exempt” employees. The change means that most employees whose base salary is less than $47,476 will be designated as non-exempt and will earn compensatory time at time-and-a-half. These changes prompted us to increase some of our pay structures for certain positions. You will be notified if you are impacted.

These changes take effect Nov. 27 and any salary changes will be reflected on January 2017 paychecks.  

Merit Pool
In our budget for FY 2017, our university leadership worked hard to ensure that faculty and staff are rewarded for the outstanding work happening on our campus. We were able to set aside a merit pool of 3 percent. This merit-based raise is not designed to be a cost-of-living increase, but rather to show appreciation for the highest performers. As a one-time exception, employees with a salary who are currently at, above, or who will reach the maximum of their pay grade, will receive a merit salary increase as opposed to a lump-sum payment.

This change takes effect Jan. 1 and will first be reflected on February 2017 paychecks. Managers will be asked to follow the merit process for making recommendations as decisions must be made by Nov. 21.

Staff Job Evaluation and Grading Project
Taking the time to engage individuals from across campus and ensuring that we did the necessary research to review each position and gather comparative analysis was of the utmost importance. I have every faith that our project team did just that and that what we roll out later this fiscal year will put our university in a better standing to attract top employees and compete in the job market for those employees ― while keeping the top-performers who already are here. And with the input of supervisors and managers across campus, the project team has evaluated every staff job, including the duties and level of responsibility associated with each job. The team is now comparing the jobs with market salary data to recommend new job titles, job grades and a new salary structure, if needed. We anticipate all position changes and any salary adjustments will take effect March 1 and any salary changes will be reflected on April 2017 paychecks. We have promised from the beginning that no employees will lose their jobs or see their salaries reduced because of this project, and we remain committed to this promise. These changes are complex, but when we finish, we will have a more fair compensation plan that better reflects today’s job market.

If you have any questions about any of these changes, please contact Campus HR at AskHR@unt.edu or call Ext. 2281.

Our faculty and staff are the backbone of our university and ensuring that we take care of you is an important priority at UNT. I remain committed to this and look forward to seeing these projects completed as we work together to build a culture of innovation at UNT.

UNT Proud,
Neal Smatresk
President