Pay: Everything You Want to Know

Category: Features

By Alyssa Janssen

Pay can be a difficult topic to discuss, especially with your supervisor. To help, we’ve asked employees from different UT campuses and institutes what questions they have about pay.

Our participants are representatives of faculty senates and exempt and non-exempt councils, and they gathered input from employees they serve.

Julie Hunt, executive director of compensation, and Jon Gushen, director of benefits and retirement for UT System Administration, provided answers.

If you have more specific questions about pay, start with your direct supervisor or contact human resources at your campus/institute.

“How is base pay calculated for new hires?” — UT Knoxville Exempt Staff Council Representative
Hiring managers should be working with their human resources offices to determine appropriate starting pay for new employees. Several factors may have an impact on the starting pay for a new employee:

  • Candidate’s qualifications and previous experience in relation to the
    minimum and preferred requirements of the position
  • Competitiveness of the market
  • Internal equity
  • Available funding
“What factors determine compensation?”UT Foundation Representative
Compensation depends on an employee’s skills, the need for the department to attract and retain quality staff and available funding. Refer to HR Policy HR0455 for more information.
“How are merit increases calculated?”UT System Representative
“Salary increase guidelines are developed at the campus level,” Hunt said. “Percentage increases are calculated on base pay.”
“When an increase in compensation is not possible, what can be done to reward a worker who deserves a raise and recognition?”UT Martin Employee Relations Council
Human resources has partnered with departments to come up with creative ways to recognize hard work when a raise isn’t possible. Examples include Employee of the Month programs and certificates of recognition. Department heads could also consider bringing in doughnuts or hosting a lunch to show appreciation for the department members.
“How can I move within my paygrade without changing jobs?”UT Chattanooga Employee Relations Committee
Pay increases within the current pay range are typically done through merit, market and/or equity adjustments.
“How can you have the paygrade for a job re-evaluated?”UT Martin Employee Relations Council
Paygrades are closely tied to position description questionnaires (PDQs). PDQs reflect the duties and responsibilities assigned to a position, and supervisors should regularly evaluate PDQs for each member of their teams. When employees take on additional responsibilities, their PDQs should be updated and re-evaluated for a potential change in pay grade by human resources. For a copy of your PDQ or answers to additional questions, contact your direct supervisor or human resources at your campus/institute.
“When someone transfers departments, is there a limit to the increase in pay they can be offered?”UT System Representative
Hiring managers should work with their human resources offices to determine pay. Increases greater than 10 percent above the reference point require approval from the campus/unit head or designee. See policy HR0455.

Who to Contact:

Specific questions about pay can be directed to the following campus contacts:

UT System Office of Payroll

Statewide Compensation Office
Julie Hunt

UT Chattanooga
Laure Pou

UT Health Science Center
Chandra Alston

UT Space Institute
Patricia Burks-Jelks

UT Martin
Phil Bright