New pay plan adds
flexibility in negotiating salaries
proposed overhaul of the state classified employee compensation
system will reward performance and provide greater flexibility
for employees and employers, one of its chief architects said
the plan's major recommendations: the collapsing of the current
23 pay grades into eight broad, stepless pay bands; the overhaul
of 1,650 job classifications into 275 "job roles"; and
a strong recommendation in favor of performance-based bonuses
and increases instead of across-the-board pay raises.
will be asked to assess their own performances as well as that
of their supervisors. The rating scale itself will offer three
options -- "extraordinary contributor," "contributor"
and "below contributor" -- rather than the current five,
and raises and bonuses will be allocated using a formula based
upon those ratings.
The state Commission on Reform of the Classified Compensation
Plan endorsed the proposal Jan. 14 and forwarded it to the governor
and General Assembly, where it is expected to draw substantial
changes to the pay scale
Pay Grades --------------------- Recommended New Pay Bands
1, 2 & 3
1: $12, 689 -- $25,378
2: $16,577 -- $33,154
6, 7 & 8
3: $19,811 -- $39,622
9, 10 & 11
4: $25,881 -- $51,762
12, 13 & 14
5: $33,811 -- $67,622
15, 16 & 17
6: $44,171 -- $88,342
18, 19 & 20
7: $57,706 -- $115,412
21, 22 & 23
8: $75,387 -- $150,774
reflect Nov. 25, 1999 rates
the new plan will drastically change the way in which classified
employees' pay is determined, implementing it will not change
the amount they are paid right away, said Thomas E. Gausvik, the
University's chief human
resource officer, who had a major role in shaping the new
plan as chair of the commission's technical advisory committee.
The new performance measures, if implemented, would first affect
pay in November 2001. For this year, Gov. James S. Gilmore has
proposed a 2.4 percent across-the-board pay increase, effective
in November. That proposal will be taken up by the current session
of the General Assembly.
Among the goals laid out for the commission, formed by the 1998
General Assembly, were to reward outstanding performance, institute
modern compensation practices and provide flexibility to meet
the needs of a variety of agencies. "I think this plan achieves
what was set out for the commission, and more," Gausvik said.
current classified plan dates back to around 1960, Gausvik said.
It has been tweaked many times since then, but the commission's
report makes it clear that it is no longer viable.
workplace is very different than it was 40 years ago," he
said. "The old-style civil service-type plans are no longer
supportive of today's environment."
stepless pay bands -- which were piloted at U.Va. in February
1998 -- are the centerpiece of the new system. Under current practice,
the only ways to reward an employee for performance are through
rigid, state-determined "step" increases, or through
promotion or job reclassification. The new plan allows greater
flexibility in rewarding performance both at the time of annual
reviews and during interim periods, in recognition of new skills
and responsibilities, additional training, market competitiveness
and to correct "salary compression˛ issues within a unit.
pay bands themselves are wider. The maximum salary in each band
is twice the minimum; under the current system, the maximum is
only 56 percent higher than the minimum.
some ways, it gets rid of 'I've got to job-hop, I've got to move
up the ladder" feeling," Gausvik said.
who are promoted will now be able to negotiate their salary increase,
up to a ceiling of 15 percent. Under the current plan, raises
attached to promotions were fixed at 9.3 percent, although those
hired from outside the state system were allowed to negotiate
a larger raise.
Gausvik expects the pay-for-performance plan to be met with some
skepticism. The commission's report notes that the state introduced
a plan with similar goals in 1989 which, it said, "received wide
criticism, especially since it has been funded fully or partially
only three times in nine years.
"Š A major challenge was to develop a new system that would
restore manager and employee perceptions of fairness, trust and
consistency in pay for performance."
new plan also mandates training for both employees and supervisors,
beginning as soon as this summer and fall.
plan proposes that the governor and legislature set the amount
of money available for annual salary increases, which would then
be allocated to employees based upon a state-determined formula.
"Extraordinary contributors" would receive a one-time
bonus and a base salary increase, while "contributors"
would get a smaller base salary increase. "Below contributors"
would receive nothing.
important thing for employees to know is that no matter the cost
of the increase, the state will be able to fund performance,"
the first time, employees will be asked to rate their own performances,
while employers will have the option of reviewing employees as
part of a team. The plan also provides employees the chance to
offer feedback on their supervisor's performance, although at
least initially such information will be used only for developmental
purposes and not for setting their salaries.
not meant to be threatening to the supervisor," Gausvik said.
"It is to provide information to the supervisor so the supervisor
can do a better job."
as a whole, the new plan should reduce the culture of entitlement
and remove the sense that performance is a dirty word, Gausvik
said. "The idea is not to give the most money to employees.
The idea is to identify the best employees and reward them."
new plan must be ratified by the General Assembly and signed into
law by Gov. Gilmore. It has the support of the Virginia Governmental
Employees Association, and received input from an 18-member Employee