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Employee Compensation

[Procedure] Last Updated: April, 2017

General Policies

The purpose of these policies is to ensure that the Human Resource Services fulfills its primary responsibility to the University by attracting, motivating, and retaining well qualified civil service staff.

Publication of these policies presupposes that all members of the University having responsibility for the job performance of civil service employees will familiarize themselves with its content, and that it will be utilized as a reference tool in answering employee inquiries.  It is the responsibility of Human Resource Services to implement interpretations of, and changes in, compensation policy when it becomes evident that current practice is no longer reflective of similar activities in public and private employment.

Status (Civil Service) Employees

The purpose of the following policies is to establish consistent treatment of similar compensation transactions for all affected employees. They are applicable to all permanent employees except for those whose compensation is the result of  collective bargaining contracts.

Starting Salaries

The starting rate of new university employees is referred to as the range minimum. University policy provides that each new employee begin at the minimum of the respective salary range and progress toward the range maximum. Exceptions to the standard starting rate policy will require written justification and review by Human Resource Services.  After the review by Human Resource Services, HRS will confirm budget approval and ultimate approval by the Sr. Associate Vice President for Human Resources (or his/her designee). Human Resource Services’ review of salary exceptions will take into account the experience of the prospective employee, union contract provisions, fair labor standards, equity, and any other relevant laws and NIU policies.  

Merit Increases

Merit increases are monetary rewards for conscientious and competent performance of assigned duties and responsibilities. They are discretionary and not automatic. Employees are entitled to merit increases only on the basis of work performance and not merely upon continued employment. It is anticipated that the rationale for the employer's decision to grant or withhold an increase will be reflected in the employee's performance report.

Prevailing Rate Employees

  1. In accordance with Section 36d3 of the Universities Civil Service System Statute, the University recognizes the prevailing rate concept wherein the wages paid generally in the locality in which the work is being performed to employees engaged in work of a similar character shall also be paid to university employees similarly employed.
  2. Employees in university determined prevailing rate classifications will receive the rate paid locally for the work described by the classification, exclusive of any and all other amounts such as vacation, pension, health and welfare, etc.
  3. The local prevailing rate shall be the rate as approved by the Illinois Department of Labor and will be paid effective on the date local contractor agreements are placed into effect. (This provision shall be retroactive to June 1, 1973.)
  4. Benefits for prevailing rate employees shall be in accordance with the Board of Trustee Regulations.

Policies Governing Increases

Promotion: A promotion is the appointment of a current employee to a position in a different classification having a higher maximum rate of pay. The salary increase shall be 8 to 10% based on the employers discretion or the base of the range, whichever is greater.    Exceptions to the standard promotion rate policy will require written approval from the President or appropriate Vice President to Human Resource Services.

Demotion: The appointment of a current employee to a lower classification as a disciplinary measure shall result in a reduction in salary to the appropriate lower rate in the new salary range.

Voluntary Demotion: An employee requesting appointment to a lower classification in which they have previously held a status appointment will be returned to their former rate of pay in the lower classification, plus any increases for which they would have been eligible during their absence from the class, subject to the maximum of the salary range.   A reduction in FTE or staff year is also considered a voluntary demotion. 

An employee requesting a new appointment to a lower classification in which they have not previously held a status appointment, shall receive the range minimum. 

Changes in Salary Range:  When it is necessary to move a classification to a higher pay grade in order to maintain equity with the appropriate labor market, consideration will be given to providing salary adjustments to current employees in order to maintain their relative position in the new salary range. Such adjustments are limited to available funding and are determined on a case-by-case basis. However, under no circumstances will a current status employee be paid a rate which is less than the new salary range minimum nor greater than the new salary range maximum.

Additional Pay

Extra compensation is the payment for work effort that is clearly outside the scope of an employee’s job description and is performed outside of normal duties.  Arrangements for extra compensation should be under extraordinary circumstances and must be approved prior to the assignment of work to an employee.  

Departments who are seeking to have an employee receive extra compensation for work performed outside of the scope of their job description, should follow the process outlined below.  This process does not apply to faculty overload teaching assignments and grant work covered under other provisions of HR policy.

  1. Consult with Human Resource Services before establishing additional compensation for additional duties and prior to communicating such duties and pay arrangement to the employee.  Supervisors recommending the extra compensation should complete the Additional Pay Form and submit it to Human Resource Services, along with an updated job description outlining the additional duties.
  2. Human Resource Services will review the form and the amount requested to determine if extra compensation is appropriate under the noted circumstances. HR will inform the supervisor in writing, via e-mail or memorandum.
  3. If the request for extra compensation is found appropriate, the supervisor processes the Additional Pay Form through the appropriate approval process.  Once that has been completed the supervisor should communicate the work and the compensation to the employee. Please note that it is the responsibility of supervisors to ensure that appropriate funds are available for compensating the employee for the proposed additional work, and that the employee has accepted the terms of the additional compensation.

An updated job description reflecting the change in duties should be submitted to Human Resource Services along with the request for additional pay.  Human Resource Services will work with the department to determine if additional compensation is appropriate.  Some general principles considered in HR’s analysis when reviewing proposals for additional compensation are: 

  1. Internal salary equity analysis of revised job description against those of other NIU employees in comparable positions.
  2. External (market) salary equity analysis of revised job description against appropriate job comparator data at peer institutions.
  3. Employee’s level of work experience, education, unique skills and abilities as relevant to the position.

NIU Rule: Night Differential

The purpose of establishing a night differential is to aid in the recruitment, motivation, and retention of civil service personnel who are regularly required to work undesirable hours. The University intends, through the establishment of this policy, to facilitate payment of a night differential. This policy does not apply to employees working in classifications where all such employees work outside the normal workday schedule.

Non-exempt Civil Service employees in status positions who work outside the normal workday schedule will receive an additional twenty cents ($.20) per hour for all hours in pay status on a given day when the employee begins work between 3:00 p.m and 4:59 a.m. This differential pay is not applicable to hours in pay status in this time period if the particular workday begins between 5:00 a.m. and 2:59 p.m.

Non-exempt employees covered by collective bargaining agreements are paid night differentials only as specified within such agreements.

NIU Procedure: Night Differential

In order for an eligible employee to be paid the night differential, it is necessary for the supervisor to indicate the hours worked on the applicable day or days and to write in the comments section of the Time Sheet "night differential/$0.20 per hour". This is the only procedure necessary. In the absence of such notation, the employee will not be paid the differential rate.

When an employee who is eligible for one or more forms of pay differential becomes eligible for overtime pay, the computation of the correct hourly rate is one and one half times the base hourly rate (less the pay differential), to which is then added the applicable differential(s) at their normal hourly rate.  That is, the added differentials themselves are not paid at other than the straight time rate.