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Salary Administration

Subject: Wages and Salaries
Number: 6.7.6
Issued: 3/1/82
Revised: 6/30/98

The Cornell Salary Administration Program includes the possibility of several types of salary adjustments: increases based on the salary improvement pool; selection adjustments; and special adjustments.

Salary Improvement Pool

Based on the approval and designation by the executive officers of an annual salary improvement pool, if any, each regular staff employee is eligible for an annual salary increase. The particular salary improvement pool guidelines shall be formulated during the executive budgeting process and disseminated along with the salary structure by the Division of Human Resources. The percentage of a salary increase shall depend principally on the employee's performance, and on the percentage available in the pool, but shall also consider the employee's rate of salary increases within recent years, and the relationship of his/her current salary within the pay range.

Employees who, due to short length of employment, are not eligible for that performance increase shall receive a salary increase equal to the salary structure adjustment only. This increase shall maintain the employee's relative salary location in the band.

Career Movement

Career movement occurs when an employees moves from one university job title to another. To provide appropriate incentive for career movement and skills development, the dean/vice president shall establish the employee's new salary considering the following factors:

  • the candidate's qualifications, skills and related experience;
  • location of the new salary in the new band; and
  • salaries, qualifications, skills, related experience, and performance levels of other employees whose positions are classified in similar job titles within the college/division and throughout the university.

Generally, the employee's new salary shall be established within the appropriate pay band's recruitment range. In unusual and documented circumstances, local hr representative or designee may grant approval to hire a selected candidate above the recruitment range. For contract college positions, such exceptions should be processed through the central office responsible for processing contract college transactions, for review against SUNY and State criteria.

Special Adjustment Increases

Special adjustment increases address pay increases based on position enhancement and/or equity considerations.

Position Enhancement

Position enhancement occurs when a dean/vice-president or designee has authorized a significant ongoing and substantive increase in responsibilities requiring the incumbent to exercise greater judgment, discretion, ingenuity, and skill within the context of the current university job title.

Deans/vice-presidents or designees may approve a base-pay increase adjustment of up to 10% of base pay to recognize such position enhancement. Increases must be justified by internal equity considerations based on like-position incumbent parameters of service, qualifications, performance, and pay levels.

Equity Special Adjustments

When management believes that circumstances outside the salary administration program have adversely affected the relative position of the employee's salary, and when these situations cannot be handled by a performance or promotional increase, an equity special adjustment may be authorized.

Equity special adjustment increases may be necessary when external or internal considerations affect the salaries of an individual, a department or a group of jobs. For example, supply/demand relationships in the market may become unbalanced and the demand for certain skills may far exceed supply. In these situations, special adjustments may be needed to retain employees with the essential skills.

Additionally, it may be necessary to provide an equity special adjustment increase to an employee or group of employees to resolve a pay equity variance which has surfaced.

Documentation justifying these increases must be on file with the local hr representative or designee and/or appropriate dean/vice president, and quarterly reports listing the individuals receiving these adjustments and the amounts must be submitted to the Division of Human Resources. For contract college increases, a copy of the report should be sent to the central office responsible for contract college processing.

Special Payments

Special payments consist of three primary types:

  1. recognition of extraordinary accomplishments,
  2. recognition of acting appointments, and
  3. location-based pay differentials. Special payments do not affect base pay.

Extraordinary Accomplishment

For circumstances in which a dean/vice president documents that an employee has been expected to and has performed for a major period of time remarkably above the usual position expectations under extraordinary circumstances, a special payment or temporary adjustment of base pay may be authorized by the dean/vice president or designee. This payment does not affect the individual's base pay. This is intended to address infrequent, unusual, and highly select cases when the usual performance increase does not adequately reward the performance and circumstance. These extraordinary circumstances must have a definite commencement and conclusion, and any exceptions must be approved by the local hr representative or designee. This is not intended to address changes in workload arising from usual cyclical fluctuations. Documentation justifying these increases must be on file with the local hr representative or designee. For contract college increases, a copy of the roster should be sent to the central office responsible for contract college processing.

Acting Appointments

For an employee assigned to a higher level position on a temporary basis of one to six months, an acting appointment temporary pay increase may be available. This adjustment does not affect the individual's base pay. The recommended salary adjustment should approximate, but not exceed, the increase amount the employee would receive if promoted to that position. Acting appointments of greater than six months must be reviewed and/or approved by the dean/vice president. The amount available to be paid for all special payments shall be determined in relation to the salary structure and internal equity considerations.

Location-Based Pay Differential Adjustments Staff employed by Cornell in non-Ithaca, New York locations shall be eligible for review of salary based on cost-of-living differentials. The employee's salary shall first be established equitably given Ithaca-based staff salaries. Next, if the cost-of-living differential review, based on established indexing references, indicates that the employee's salary should be augmented, the dean/vice president shall approve such arrangement. Where employees of more than one dean/vice president work in the same location, the deans/vice presidents shall jointly determine the appropriate cost-of-living differential. The differential payment shall be re-reviewed at least bi-annually. Should the employee subsequently return to Ithaca, New York-based employment, her/his salary shall be reestablished equitably in consideration of Ithaca-based staff salaries.