Compensation and counseling discussed at Staff Council meeting
The University is ahead of schedule in increasing minimum wage for employees to $15 per hour, leaders with the Division of Human Resources told members of the Staff Council during its meeting last week.
"On Jan. 1, we had our minimum wage go to $14.35, and on July 1 we will have it go to $15," said Chante Martin, assistant vice president for human resources. "What we're actually doing is accomplishing a goal two years early. We had a five-year plan already laid out last year that would show us reaching $15 an hour minimum wage by fiscal year 2025."
Information about the minimum wage increase, an updated staff pay structure and a fiscal year 2024 salary increase program for eligible employees were shared in a message University President Robert C. Robbins sent to faculty and staff on Jan. 19. The salary increase program includes an across-the-board 2.5% increase for faculty and staff plus merit increases to recognize exceptional employees. Program guidelines suggest the merit increases be given to about 33% of a unit's employees.
"This is a complex thing that we're doing with all the ways that we're trying to ensure that we maintain a competitive salary structure," Martin said during the meeting, held Jan. 31.
Among the questions that Martin and others from HR fielded from council members was an inquiry about how the University will address salary compression resulting from the minimum wage increase.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer, said Leah Marisa Rodriguez, lead compensation analyst with HR.
"When we see there are inequities that have come about from these changes, we are asking that departments work with their senior HR partners and their comp analysts to figure out what's the best approach for that particular unit and how to address compression issues," she said.
Martin says yearly market data review will continue to play a role in maintaining a compensation structure that is competitive with peer institutions and private industry.
Martin noted that information about compensation can be found on the HR compensation webpage and that the page will be updated as more information become available.
Mental health support for employees and their families
Josephine Corder, director of Life & Work Connections, reminded council members about the mental health resources available to employees and their families through employee assistance counseling. The service, offered through a partnership with ComPsych, a global provider of employee assistance programs, provides 12 free sessions per person per year per topic.
"It's available not only to employees, but to members of their household. That's a huge expansion," Corder said. "Whoever you consider part of your household, they are eligible for this as well, and they also get 12 sessions."
(Read more about Corder's vision for employee wellness in this Lo Que Pasa story.)
Other topics discussed at the meeting:
- Members of the Staff Council's Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee said they are looking at the makeup of the Staff Council in comparison with the makeup of the University's employee base to inform efforts to recruit new members from diverse backgrounds and help ensure the council reflects the campus community.
- Council members were updated on plans for the 2023 Crossroads Conference. The daylong professional development and networking event is planned for Friday, June 2, at the JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort and Spa.
The Staff Council meets via Zoom the last Tuesday of each month throughout the year. The next meeting is set for Feb. 28. Meetings are open to all employees. Anyone who wants more information can find updates on the Staff Council website or email Jeffrey Jones, information technology business analyst for University Information Technology Services and Staff Council chair, at email@example.com.