Academic Professional Salary Equity Review Process

Petition and review process for academic professionals who believe their salaries are too low by reason of sex, race, color, national origin, or religion.

This procedure is similar to the one established for the review of salaries of faculty members who believe their salaries are too low by reason of one of the aforementioned factors. The development of a process for the review of salaries for academic professionals was prompted by the 1978 Conciliation Agreement between Urbana-Champaign and the Department of Labor, which specifies that in cases where discrimination may be an issue:

"UIUC agrees to institute a campus-wide salary review system that includes . . . a system of salary reviews available to individuals who petition for formal reconsideration of salary, particularly as judged against the salaries of mutually acceptable counterparts. Reviews are conducted by department/unit executive officers following campus guidelines and in consultation with a standing or ad hoc committee and with due regard for providing petitioners with ample opportunity to be heard on the issues of selection of proper counterparts and the bases for salary allocations. Such reviews are subject to the scrutiny and recommendation of officers at the next higher level of administration.

"The primary consideration in salary determination at UIUC is merit . . .academic-professional employees assignments vary considerably, but salary increase policy clearly relates salary increments to the extent to which performance matches job specifications. The objective of salary policies at UIUC and the reviews described . . . above is that of assuring a substantial relationship between performance and salary . . ."

The purpose of this communication is to set forth a salary review system for academic professionals analogous to that which has recently been established for faculty members. The system, as described herein, is available to any academic professional employee who believes his/her salary is too low because of his/her sex, race, color, national origin, or religion. This review process, in fairness to the petitioner, should take no longer than six (6) months. It should be recognized that shorter review periods are preferable and that longer ones may be necessary.

Section I. The Equity Review Process

  1. The Petition, the Determination of Counterparts, and the Identification of a Potential Inequity

    A review of a complainant's salary will be undertaken upon receipt of a written petition for review which will involve a comparison of the petitioner's record with the records of appropriate counterparts (e.g., a member of a racial minority group would be compared with counterparts who are members of a different race; a female with counterparts who are male, etc.).

    Each department/unit will make available for inspection by any academic professional member of its staff (a) information showing, by years of pertinent experience, current salaries for all of its academic professionals in the same job category, and (b) a file of job classifications, descriptions and individual resumes of all of its academic professionals within each job category.

    The establishment of these files is intended to allow a staff member to compare his or her salary with those of others in comparable jobs and with comparable qualifications and experience. Then if it is felt that a salary inequity exists, the files are intended to make it possible for the staff member to identify a specific group of peers (preferably two or more). The salaries of this group will be used as the support for the petition.

    For the purpose of comparison, the individual should present information which delineates job responsibilities and salary differentials for himself/herself and the counterparts selected for comparison. In many cases the job titles will not be exactly the same, since individual academic professional positions are frequently unique. However, the ranges and levels of responsibilities between various positions can be compared. For example, the number of persons supervised, critical nature of responsibilities, and requirement for individual decision making would constitute some bases for making comparisons. After determining the comparability of responsibilities and the differential in salary between himself/herself and the counterparts of another group (e.g., race, sex), the individual academic professional may file a petition with the executive officer of his/her unit. The petition, in the form of a letter, must:

    • Describe the peers (counterparts) with whom comparison of salary and accomplishments was made and with whom comparisons should be made, in the judgment of the petitioner. These persons may be in the same or different units (see page 3 of the Appendix for additional comments on obtaining information on counterparts who are external to the home unit).
    • State the amounts, in dollars, of the perceived salary discrepancies. All salaries should be stated for a twelve-month period. (To convert a nine-month salary to a twelve-month equivalent, add 2/9's of the nine-month salary to that salary.) To be acceptable for review, the petition must describe a discrepancy that exceeds 10% of the salary of the petitioner.

    After receipt of the petition by the departmental/unit executive officer, a meeting will be arranged between the petitioner and his/her supervisor. At this point the matter will be resolved if a proposed solution is acceptable to both parties.

    If it is not possible to resolve the issue at the supervisor level, it will be returned to the departmental/unit executive officer who will proceed to consider the appropriateness of the proposed counterparts. In cases where the supervisor responsible for determining the individual's salary is the same as the departmental/unit executive officer, this individual must consider the matter of appropriate counterparts with the petitioner, informally, then

    formally with the standing or ad hoc committee referred to on page one. The members of this committee will be appointed by the executive officer.3 The petitioner must have the opportunity to offer substantive objections to the service of any committee member, and such objections must be considered by the executive officer in the final determination of the committee's composition. The petitioner has the right to be heard by this committee. If the peer group chosen is found to be appropriate, and if a discrepancy in salary exists between that of the petitioner and the counterparts that is larger than 10%, further review is warranted.

  2. The Review

    When a set of counterparts has been identified and it appears that a salary inequity may exist, the petition is referred to the standing or ad hoc committee appointed by the executive officer for the purpose of advising the executive officer as to the appropriateness of proposed counterparts and whether in their judgment a salary inequity does or does not exist. The committee may need to meet with the executive officer to collect information, but should operate independently otherwise.

    It is important that the departmental executive officer consult with a committee that is credible to all affected parties. An ad hoc committee should be used if a standing committee, which otherwise would be consulted, has been significantly involved in the previous determination of the petitioner's salary. Similarly, if an ad hoc committee is appointed for the purpose of a review, care should be taken to select persons who were not involved in the petitioner's previous salary determination.

    The review should focus upon those factors that are important determiners of salary in the unit of the petitioner (some general comments on such factors may be found in the Appendix), but it is expected that the weighting of various factors will vary from unit to unit. When the committee has completed its review, its recommendations are communicated in writing to the executive officer, who is charged with making a decision in the matter.

    In ascertaining whether salaries are or are not equitable, due consideration should be given to overall plans or special circumstances that may be in effect with respect to salary structures within the department. There may be temporary salary discrepancies that are to be remedied within a reasonable time, for example two years, and the decision should take into account such definite plans.

    In addition, market factors, when these are appropriate, should be taken into account by the review committee, as it seeks to make a determination concerning the existence and size of an inequity. Additional comments relating to such factors are set forth in the Appendix.

    The decision of the unit executive officer is communicated in writing to the petitioner and for the purpose of information to the administrator to whom the unit executive officer reports (hereafter referred to as "the reviewer"). If the petitioner is not satisfied with the decision of the unit executive officer, he/she may appeal to the reviewer. In such cases, the reviewer will consider the merits of the petition in view of all materials examined at the departmental level. The reviewer also will assess whether fair and proper procedures were followed and whether the decision at the departmental level was sound. The review finding, sent as a letter to the unit executive officer with a copy to the petitioner, will either confirm or reverse the decision of the executive officer.

    The reviewer's decision will be final. The petitioner and the committee have the right to discuss the reviewer's decision with him or her, but higher administrative appeal will occur.

Section II. Correction of an Established Inequity

  • When a salary inequity has been found to exist, the unit executive officer will make a salary increase recommendation through administrative channels. Upon receiving final approval, the adjustment will be made in the next pay period. Retroactive salary increases will not be allowed.
  • If the petitioner is not satisfied with the outcome of the Salary Equity Review Process, he or she may file a grievance on the basis of discrimination under the Urbana-Champaign Campus Administrative Procedures for Complaints of Discrimination Faculty-Academic/Professional Staff. It is not necessary to use the salary equity procedure before filing such a grievance.

See Attachment I, Appendix, Academic Professional Salary Equity Review Process (PDF).