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UW–Madison prepares to implement 2022–23 compensation strategy

June 20, 2022

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University of Wisconsin–Madison leadership has approved a fiscal year 2022–2023 compensation strategy. This strategy will support the university’s Total Compensation Philosophy, which is to be a market-competitive employer that supports our staff and faculty.

This compensation strategy includes an allocation of more than $28 million to support schools, colleges and divisions in rewarding and retaining faculty and staff, as well as assisting in addressing compensation issues uncovered by the Title and Total Compensation (TTC) Project. As with previous compensation plans, units are encouraged to review their budgets and allocate funds to address salaries for positions that are not centrally funded.

“The 2022–2023 compensation strategy for UW–Madison defines where we will focus our efforts and our budgetary resources,” says Rob Cramer, vice chancellor for finance and administration. “The compensation strategy reflected in the new title and salary structure — along with our ongoing commitment to recognizing exceptional performance through bonuses and base salary adjustments —positions us to recruit and retain the best talent.”

“This comprehensive look at compensation through a market-informed lens represents an important step for UW–Madison and reflects our commitment to invest in our employees,” adds Interim Chancellor John Karl Scholz. “We recognize the evolving and highly competitive employment environment in which UW–Madison operates and this compensation strategy will help us keep and attract the best employees.”

Market-informed compensation adjustments

Following are the key issues that UW–Madison will address in order to support competitiveness through market-informed compensation practices.

Raising the campus minimum wage for University Staff. The minimum wage for current UW–Madison University Staff will increase from $15 per hour to $17 per hour. This will affect more than 600 of the university’s lowest-paid employees.

Addressing compression for the lowest paid employees. Pay compression occurs when employees in similar jobs but with different experience levels are paid similar amounts.

Retention adjustments. Retention adjustments reward specific employees based on performance, experience and knowledge. These adjustments are intended to keep UW–Madison competitive as an employer and retain top talent.

Market adjustments. These adjustments will be provided to select academic staff, University Staff and limited appointees  based on a review of their TTC salary range assignments, market changes and external recruitment considerations. Market adjustments may be necessary to retain high-performing employees.

The timing of these various compensation programs will be staged, with the implementation of the $17 per hour minimum wage for University Staff taking priority. Current University Staff will see their wages increase to the $17 per hour minimum in July 2022.

Implementation of all programs should be completed prior to the end of calendar year 2022. Additional details will be announced to the university community as soon as they become available. The rollout of these programs will require a collective effort by UW–Madison’s Office of Human Resources, UW System, colleges, schools, divisions, managers and supervisors.

The 2022–2023 adjustments further the university’s commitment to remaining a competitive employer. The university will continue to evaluate new local, state and national market data regarding compensation as it becomes available. UW–Madison plans to revisit its compensation strategies on an ongoing basis and make compensation decisions that are informed by the market.

Performance and Retention Compensation for 2022–2023

As it did in 2021–2022, the university will also offer compensation programs to recognize exceptional performance among staff and faculty to remain competitive in 2022–2023. The compensation programs will include a bonus program for staff and faculty, a discretionary compensation fund and faculty block grants.

While these programs are not new to UW–Madison’s compensation strategy, they support UW–Madison’s goals of the new Total Compensation Philosophy, helping to ensure the university’s market competitiveness as an employer.

Performance bonuses: One-time, lump sum performance bonuses will be awarded to recognize faculty, academic staff, university staff and limited appointees whose work went above and beyond expectations.

Each college, school or division will develop a process for administering performance bonuses, using central funds that are allocated to them. It is anticipated that the one-time bonuses will be awarded by December 2022 at the discretion of the schools, colleges and divisions.

Base salary adjustments: Base salary adjustments will be provided to select faculty, academic staff,  University Staff and limited appointees in the fall of 2022 for performance, market, and/or retention. Faculty block grants will provide additional funding for base salary adjustments for faculty. These adjustments, which address merit and retention, will also be completed by the fall of 2022.

To be eligible to receive the lump sum bonuses or base salary adjustments, employees must have completed UW–Madison’s sexual harassment prevention training and cybersecurity awareness training. Staff must also have met performance expectations as identified in their last performance evaluation. Supervisors are required to complete performance evaluations for the employees they supervise. Additional criteria may apply at the college, school or divisional level.