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UND to offer raises based on merit in addition to state compensation increase

GRAND FORKS — Employees across the University of North Dakota campus can expect a small pay increase this year, regardless if their position is funded through state appropriated money.

Last month, the North Dakota Legislature approved the North Dakota University System’s needs-based budget. In addition to funding for UND and other NDUS institutions, the budget also includes a mandated, minimum pay increase of $120 per month in the first year of the biennium.

The second year of the biennium includes a 2.5% compensation increase for positions funded by state-appropriated dollars. Historically, legislative guidelines for appropriated positions have been the guidelines for all positions, regardless of funding for UND. That is expected to continue, the university said.

UND has more than 2,000 full-time employees, more than half of whom — around 1,100 — are supported by appropriated funding. The remaining 900 or so employees are supported through their own revenues or grants.

However, in addition to those increases provided to state-appropriated employees, UND has also crafted a plan to allocate a 4% merit pool to all eligible employees regardless of funding source, said Jed Shivers, vice president for finance and operations at UND. This merit pool would apply to employees who do not already qualify for the state raise.

For example, dining services is not supported with state dollars, but those eligible employees will still see a bump in pay, Shivers said.

Because the Legislature gave funding for a 2.5% increase in the second year of the biennium, UND will likely support the same increase for all employees, regardless of the funding source.

Once each vice president receives their respective additional merit pool budget for the first year of the biennium, it will be their responsibility to review and approve merit pay recommendations for their employees.

Per NDUS guidelines, across-the-board salary increases will not be allowed, the university said in its UND Today blog. Pay increases for eligible employees will be based on documented performance and employees whose overall documented performance level does not meet standards are not eligible for any salary increase. Merit increases, by definition, tend not to be the same percentage increase for each employee.

The NDUS budget is slated to be finalized by NDUS Chancellor Mark Hagerott at the end of June. The first set of salary increases would take effect after July 1, and would roll into employees’ base salaries.

“One of the reasons we did this effort is because not only is it financially prudent, but the Legislature was quite clear that in order to provide these merit increases you had to take it from savings and reallocated dollars,” Shivers said.