Pay Practices

A number of events affect employee salaries; the most common events and related pay practices are described below. It should be noted that the determination of most pay changes involves an internal equity check by Human Resources. An internal equity check requires: consideration of the salaries of employees in similar/related jobs with the organization as well as the salary of the supervisor/manager, the salaries of any subordinate employees, and the salaries of employees in related career paths, and finally the appropriateness of the proposed salary within the assigned salary range based on the employee’s specific skills, competencies, education, experience, and performance.

This page contains information on the following topics:

Starting Pay

Starting pay is the rate initially offered to an individual not currently employed by the College or the Institute. Starting salaries are set by Human Resources and are established after consulting with the hiring manager on any department concerns, special circumstances (highly competitive labor market, unusual skills), etc. Human Resources will review the applicant’s work and educational/training history and calculate appropriate experience and education credit. This credit is used to establish a preliminary offer rate, which will be at least the grade minimum but not generally higher than the grade midpoint. Before finalizing an offer rate Human Resources will conduct an internal equity review which may affect the final rate offered.

Annual Merit Increases

Merit Increases are generally awarded annually (on July 1) and are based on each employee’s overall performance during the past year (as documented in the employee’s Annual Performance Summary), as well as the College’s/Institute’s budgets, as approved by the Boards. The Annual Performance Summary (performance evaluation) and Merit Increase processes are described in the Employee Handbook.
Generally all regular employees are eligible for consideration for an annual increase, except that:

  • Employees who have given notice of resignation, and whose termination date will be one month or less from the effective date of the annual increase (that is, those terminating prior to August 1st for a July 1st increase cycle) will not be eligible for an increase.
  • Part-time or on-call employees must have worked a minimum of 200 hours (pro-rated for new hires) within the 12 months preceding the Annual Performance Summary in order to be considered for an annual increase.
  • Employees hired in the first quarter of the current year may be eligible for one half the regular increase amount.
  • Employees hired in the second quarter will not be eligible for an increase in the first increase cycle after date of hire.
  • Employees with current documented unsatisfactory performance will not receive an increase.
  • Raises for any managers who have not submitted Annual Performance Summaries for all direct reports who are due for evaluations will be delayed until such time as all required APS forms have been submitted. Delayed raises will not be made retroactive.

It is expected that as a result of solid performance, employees will progress through the pay grade over time.


A promotion is the movement of an employee to a different position in a higher pay grade (Band/Level). This movement is usually the result of the employee applying for and being selected for a position through the recruitment and selection process.

  • Human Resources will work with the hiring supervisor/manager to determine the appropriate promotional increase before the offer is made and before potential pay is discussed with the employee.
  • The new salary will not be less than the minimum (unless the employee is temporarily classified as a Trainee) or more than the maximum of the range assigned for the position.
  • Promotions of one Band/Level will generally result in an increase of 5% - 10%*.
  • Promotions of two or more Bands/Levels will generally result in an increase of 8% - 15%*.
  • In all cases an internal equity review will be conducted by Human Resources before a promotional increase amount is finalized.

*promotional rates effective as of July 1, 2012


Reclassification occurs when the duties and responsibilities of a job change significantly enough to change the Band/Level to which a job is assigned (see Job Evaluation section for details).

Job description updates are reviewed for proper Band/Level placement on a monthly cycle. A revised job description must be submitted to Human Resources by the 15th of the month, to be included in the current month’s review cycle. Human Resources will review the manager’s written justification and the revised description by the end of the month and will follow up with the manager, as needed, for additional information. If no reclassification is warranted the updated description will be posted on the HR website. If the changes are significant and result in a change of the Band and/or Level then the new description will be posted and the appropriate salary change guidelines (promotion, lateral, demotion) will be followed to adjust incumbents’ salaries; pay changes will be effective the start of the first full pay period in the month following the review.

Reclassification reviews are not be conducted in June because of the merit increase process. Review requests received in June will be reviewed in the July cycle, with any changes made retroactively to the first full pay period in July.

In-Grade Adjustments

An in-grade adjustment is a change to an employee's base salary as a result of:

  • A permanent change in job duties and responsibilities which are significant but do not change the pay grade of the job.
  • Market equity (this is most common when labor market pressures force pay rates for new hires up, resulting in inequitable pay between new and current incumbents when comparing skills, competencies, and experience).
  • Internal equity (this may be the result of internal realignment, salary compression or other internal inequities).
  • Supervisors may request consideration for in-grade adjustments by submitting documentation supporting the request. Human Resource may also identify the need for equity adjustments based on market or internal salary studies.

It should be noted that in-range salary adjustments are not routine and will need to be fully justified. Requests for in-range adjustments must be made to, and approved by, the Benefits and Compensation Manager.

Lateral Transfers

A lateral transfer occurs when an employee moves to different job within the same Band/Level. Such transfers may occur through department reorganizations or when an employee seeks a transfer through the recruitment and selection process. Jobs within the same Band/Level are considered to be equivalent in terms of responsibility and so typically employees who transfer laterally receive no increase in base pay.


Demotions or Band/Level downgrades are moves to a lower job classification and may occur as a result of:

  • An employee’s personal request (voluntary downgrade);
  • Documented inadequate job performance (demotion); or
  • Other reasons (for example when a function has become obsolete and an employee is being moved to an available job at a lower level job).

When a downgrade is voluntary Human Resources will determine the employee’s new salary based on an individual assessment of the facts and circumstances. HR will take into consideration the employee’s experience and education relative to the new job and will conduct an internal equity review. Generally salaries are decreased not less than 5% or more than 10% for one level downgrade, except that the new salary will not be lower than the minimum or exceed the maximum of the new (lower) Band/Level.

When a downgrade is involuntary Human Resources will determine the employee’s new salary based on an individual assessment of the facts and circumstances. A demotion will require the following: HR will take into consideration the employee’s experience and education relative to the new job and an interdepartmental and campus-wide equity review. Generally salaries are decreased not less than 5% or more than 20% for one level downgrade, except that the salary will not be lower than the minimum or exceed the maximum of the new (lower) Band/Level.

When a downgrade is due to a reassignment unrelated to the employee’s performance and not requested by the employee, Human Resources will determine the employee’s new salary based on an individual assessment of the facts and circumstances. Generally, the employee’s salary will be maintained except when this causes significant internal equity concerns or when the salary would greatly exceed the range maximum.

Trainee Status and Pay

Generally individuals who do not meet the minimum qualifications are not hired into an open job. Very occasionally, however, there are extenuating circumstances which result in an individual being offered a job without having the minimum required certifications, education, skills, or experience. This situation could arise as a result of a very tight labor market in which no fully qualified candidates have been identified, or when a departmental reorganization results in an existing employee being reassignment to an available job for which he or she not completely qualified at time of assignment. Such arrangements must be approved in advance by Human Resources and will require a formal plan, including a specific timeline, outlining how the new employee will acquire the required skills, training, education, or experience. In these situations employees may be temporarily paid below the Band/Level minimum; upon successful and documented attainment of the required qualifications the employee will be moved to the grade minimum.

Supplemental Pay

Supplemental pay is additional pay for temporarily assuming significant additional duties/ responsibilities that typically would be in a higher pay grade. Supplemental pay can be provided to an employee who is assigned different or additional duties and responsibilities on an interim basis for a limited period of time. Supplemental pay must be approved in advance by Human Resources.

It should be noted that nearly all employees are expected to periodically fill in for colleagues’ vacations (or other short-term absences) as well to perform special projects or temporary tasks; such work is considered a normal part of the job. It is when a temporary assignment (i.e. assignment to a special project, reassignment during organizational changes, filling a vacant job, extended leave of another employee, etc.) is expected to exceed 30 calendar days that additional temporary compensation may be warranted. Additional compensation is appropriate when an individual is assigned a major component of a job which is at a higher salary grade and the employee is held accountable for the scope of that component for greater than a 30-day period. The amount of additional compensation will typically range between 5% and 10% of the employee’s current base salary, based upon the percent of duties being assumed and the grade level of the job duties being covered.

Supplemental pay will generally not be less than the minimum for the Band/Level of the higher duties, if the employee is fully responsible for the job.

Supervisors/managers must receive approval from Human Resources for supplemental pay; supplemental pay should not be discussed with the employee until after appropriate approvals have been received.

Retroactive Adjustments

Generally, all salary increases will be made on a prospective basis, therefore managers are encouraged to be timely in any compensation change/job reevaluation requests. If a request for a job evaluation or compensation review takes Human Resources longer than three weeks to complete, any related salary increase will be retroactive to the beginning of the pay period three weeks from the date a formal request (including all required documentation) was submitted to Human Resources.

Career Progression

The Staff Compensation Program, together with our internal job posting practices, is designed to be flexible and to afford employees multiple opportunities to advance their careers and their compensation. It is up to each employee to work collaboratively with their manager and to take ownership of their own career and development plans to support their personal and departmental objectives, as well as the organization’s needs. Employees interested in advancement opportunities are encouraged to regularly monitor the internal job posting site to look for promotional or lateral opportunities. Employees are also strongly encouraged to build their employability by taking advantage of internal training offered by the organization (ex: computer classes from LIS) and/or by accessing professional development or tuition reimbursement funds to support outside training or educational options.

However, in recognition of the fact that many employees enjoy their current jobs and are not interested in seeking additional responsibility, as well as of the fact that there will not always be available jobs at a higher level, the Staff Compensation program has established both very broad pay ranges as well as a “no capping at grade maximum” policy; together these policies allow employees to remain in their current jobs while continuing to receive regular pay increases.

Career Ladders

Certain areas of the organization have established career ladders (jobs within career ladders usually have suffixes such as I, II, III indicating the relative levels). Many other functional areas do not have formal ladders, but do have related jobs at multiple levels and these may afford the opportunity for an employee to pursue career advancement as job vacancies occur. Employees are encouraged to discuss possible departmental career paths with their managers. Managers who are interested in establishing a career ladder(s) within their department should contact Human Resources for guidance.

Special Compensation Arrangements

Certain areas of the organization have worked with Human Resources to establish special compensation arrangements such as: trainee wage scales (which are described in more detail in other sections of this document), career ladders, automatic pay increases for obtaining desired technical certifications, and pay adjustments for additional demanding duties. Details about these arrangements are available from the authorized departments or Human Resources.


Exceptions to the standard compensation guidelines must be approved by the Compensation and Benefits Manager. Second level appeals may be made to the AVP of Human Resources, whose decision is final.


Human Resources
Marble Works
152 Maple St.
Suite 101
Suite 203 (Benefits)
Middlebury, VT 05753
Phone: 802-443-5465
Fax: 802-443-2920
Benefits Fax: 802-443-2058