PPM Section 4 - Direct Compensation: Establishing Grade and Pay
Human Resources is responsible for direct compensation for all non-bargaining employees.
Guiding principles of our compensation program
- Compensation programs must reflect and support the mission of WMU.
- Compensation must be competitive with the relevant external labor market.
- Compensation programs must be results-based.
- Compensation must equitably reflect contribution/accountability.
- Programs must be simple to administer and to understand.
- Information about compensation systems and processes must be openly communicated to all
- Compensation programs must reward expanded skill sets within the context of the job's requirements.
- Compensation programs must be flexible enough to meet the unique needs that may exist within
the University, now and in the future.
Direct compensation determination
All regular (continuing and terminal) positions are assigned a pay grade and appropriate pay
range. The grade is determined based on the job's content, not the capabilities of individual
All regular (continuing and terminal), non-bargaining staff positions must be assigned a pay
grade. This classification process does not govern research staff ("R" grade positions).
- Review of grade assignment/placement.
Significant changes in the duties and responsibilities of a position may result in the
need to review the grade. An incumbent employee or supervisor who feels such changes have
occurred should contact Human Resources to discuss the appropriate procedure to request
A Human Resource representative will discuss with the supervisor and the employee (if applicable)
the changes. The employee and supervisor will then be asked to complete a job profile questionnaire
(JPQ) and a position authorization. Based on the information in the questionnaire, the position will
either be benchmarked to a comparable position in market survey(s) (market priced) or the
position will be slotted based on a comparison of all aspects of the position to other comparable
positions at the University. Human Resources staff will notify the appropriate vice
president and immediate supervisor of the job's grade placement.
If the grade of a position increases as the result of such a review, and a subsequent increase
in pay occurs, the resulting Fund 11 increases are funded by the University for the current
- Appeal procedure.
The staff compensation system contains an appeal procedure to resolve disagreements regarding
the grade placement of positions. Information on this process is available at Staff Compensation System: Grade Placement Appeal Process.
The staff compensation system covers all professional, administrative, clerical and technical
staff members. It does not include bargaining-unit employees, employees hired by contract, researchers,
executive officials, senior administrative officers, or students.
The current pay structure contains 13 pay grades, numbered 10 through 22. Each grade has a
minimum and maximum pay rate, and is divided into three pay ranges:
- Lower range pay is between the minimum pay and the mid-range and is appropriate for
employees in the learning and development phase of their jobs; this range is typically for
employees new to a position and whose competencies are not yet fully developed. Entry level
pay falls in this range.
- Mid-range pay is appropriate for employees who are fully proficient in their jobs.
This is the target market-based pay for employees who are fully competent, possess the full
skill set necessary to perform their job well, meet job expectations, and consistently demonstrate
skills needed and fulfill responsibilities and duties.
- Upper range pay is appropriate for employees who serve as role models, exhibiting
an exceptional skill set and consistently exceeding all job expectations. These employees
exemplify the best way of doing their job, go the "extra mile," share their knowledge,
and leverage their strengths to benefit the University.
The current pay structure (PDF) can be found
on the Human Resources website.
New hire starting pay rates
New employees should be hired at a pay rate between the grade minimum and the lower end of
the pay grade's midrange. Starting rates in the mid-range or upper third of the range must be
reviewed by Human Resources before the department makes an offer to the applicant. Prior
approval of the appropriate vice president is required for starting rates in the upper third of
Pay adjustments - job changes
An employee's current rate of pay should not preclude them from consideration for transfer
opportunities, including promotions, lateral moves, and demotions. Should an employee be promoted,
laterally transferred, or demoted to a new position, the employee's pay rate will be adjusted
Procedural note: The hiring department must receive approval for any exceptions
to the following guidelines prior to making an offer to the employee. The hiring department
will prepare written justification for a proposed exception, and the appropriate vice-president,
in consultation with Human Resources, will approve or deny the exception. Justification
for all approved exceptions must be in writing.
Pay changes that result from job transfers will be processed through
completion of the staff appointment form.
- Promotions. The following guidelines apply regardless of the number of grades
the employee is promoted.
When the employee's current pay rate (prior to promotion) is within the new pay grade's lower
range or below the new pay grade's minimum, the employee should receive a 7 to 10 percent
increase. If the adjusted pay still falls below the new pay grade's minimum, the employee's
pay rate will be the new pay grade's minimum.
When the employee's current pay rate (prior to promotion) is within the new pay grade's mid-range,
the employee should receive a 5 to 7 percent increase.
When the employee's current pay rate (prior to promotion) is within the new pay grade's upper
range, the employee should receive a 3 percent increase.
- Lateral transfers. Generally, employees should not receive a pay adjustment
when transferring to another position in the same pay grade. Departments may discuss with
Human Resources possible exceptions based on unique job or employee qualifications, prior to making
an offer to the employee.
- Demotions. Should an employee transfer to another position with a lower pay
grade, the employee's pay rate should be governed by the new pay range. Departments should
contact Human Resources to determine the appropriate pay prior to making an offer to the employee.
Adjustments to base pay
Adjustments to base pay should only occur through the annual pay adjustment process, at the
time of promotion, or when an employee's current position increases in grade. Pay increases are
never considered automatic. Each year, the University's president and Board of Trustees consider
allocating funds for pay increases, taking many budget and economic factors into consideration.
If pay increases are budgeted, raises are granted with the approval of each employee's supervisor,
and employees with documented satisfactory performance will normally receive pay increases effective
with the start of the fiscal year.