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Compensation at the University of Virginia

At the University, our philosophy is to pay fairly and competitively in order to recruit, reward and retain high-performing employees. Employment at the University offers forms of compensation beyond base pay, including, but not limited to, health insurance, tuition remission and assistance, annual leave, training and retirement programs.

Employer of Choice

The University is the employer of choice in the region and a leading employer in the state. Local interest in working at the University is high. The University's current minimum hiring rate is $11.76 an hour, $4.51 more per hour than the federal minimum wage. The actual current minimum starting pay for an entry-level employee including the average level of health benefits is $20.38 an hour. Since December 2007, the University has demonstrated its commitment to U.Va.’s lowest paid employees by funding three increases to the minimum hiring rate, increasing it from $10.14 in 2007 to $11.30, from $11.30 to $11.53 in 2013, and then to $11.76 in 2015. 

Market analyses of all public colleges and universities in Virginia indicate that the University's minimum hiring rate is set at the second highest in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Only George Mason University in northern Virginia offers a higher minimum hiring rate.

The fringe benefit rate for fiscal year 2014-15 is 36.5 percent for full-time salaried staff. If all benefits are included, the current minimum starting pay ranges from $20.38 an hour to $24.62 per hour, depending upon the health plan chosen. Those benefits are outlined in more detail on the salary snapshot on these pages.

Pay Improvement Opportunities

The University provides many opportunities for employees to improve their pay, including: annual increases, change in job duties, market adjustments, internal alignment, using new skills on the job and more.

University total compensation/targeted employee development programs for our lowest-paid employees include:

1.“Learning wage” program adopted in 2007, known as “Essential WorkSkills”, providing entry-level employees opportunities to increase their work skills and advance their careers beyond minimum hiring rate positions.   Employees who complete the program receive a $600 per year salary increase, which equates to $.28 per hour or a salary of $12.04 per hour.   For employees who have advanced to the learning wage of $12.04 per hour, the equivalent value of total compensation is between $20.76 per hour to $25.00 per hour.  Since the program launched in the spring of 2007, nearly 300 employees have completed the program.

2. Educational benefit adopted in 2008, providing a benefit account of $2,000 per year to be used to advance employee education.  The benefit can be used at any accredited educational institution; over 4,201 employees have utilized the benefit for a total value of $9.7m. 

3. Career paths adopted in 2011, providing “promotions in place” for staff in entry level occupations such as housekeeping, grounds/landscaping, and recycling techs, advancing employee salaries beyond the minimum hiring rate. 

In 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014, the University allocated $250,000 a year for strategic base salary adjustments. These funds have benefited employees whose salaries lag behind market rates, require advancement to meet adjusted minimum hiring rates, and are experiencing significant pay compression as compared to similarly situated employees.

The University also provides $200,000 annually to fund bonuses under the state Reward and Recognition Plan. In addition, individual departments have funded rewards and recognition bonuses (including both monetary bonuses and paid days off) for superior performers.

Finally, employees are using career ladder opportunities provided by the University, filling openings at an increasing rate. In February 2009, the University instituted an internal posting policy for all staff positions, and 55 percent of U.Va.'s openings were filled by internal candidates in Fiscal Year 2013-14.

Training and Development Opportunities

The University administers an education benefit that provides $2,000 per calendar year to benefits-eligible employees to use toward furthering their education. More than 4,201 employees have taken advantage of the program since it was introduced in July 2008, at a value of $9.7 million. U.Va. provides informal and formal training to help our employees develop their skills and advance in job responsibilities and pay. Classroom and significant on-line training opportunities include: GED classes, Essential WorkSkills, English as a second language, customer service, IT systems, supervision and leadership, writing for business, cultivating career happiness, Respect@UVa, balancing work and home, assertiveness training, and many more. In addition, University Human Resources offers three levels of leadership programs: Leading Others (supervisory training), Leading Teams (management training), and Leading Strategically (director-level training).


The University offers employees extensive benefits, including health insurance, retirement programs, life insurance, disability insurance, accidental death and dismemberment insurance, back-up child and elder care, a comprehensive wellness program, flexible reimbursement accounts, long-term care insurance, a tax-deferred savings program, a matching contribution retirement plan, the education benefit described above and more. Employees receive generous paid leave. Academic Division employees earn 12 or more paid holidays and at least 22 days of leave a year. Leave increases with tenure.

The University also offers a supplemental benefit credit, specifically targeted at our lowest-paid employees. Currently those earning less than $42,000 are eligible for a credit of $450, which they can apply to programs and deductions such as parking or health insurance premiums.