Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA)
Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) are set by Maryland State Law and USM budget action and salary directives. All regular employees receive COLA as allocated by the State. In cases where an employee’s salary is at or above the maximum of salary range, the employee will still receive a COLA increase.
- Each year the University agrees to provide bargaining unit employees with merit increase funds, when available, that are equal and consistent with the merit increases granted to bargaining unit employees in the University System of Maryland Coalition Institutions as authorized by the General Assembly for such purposes and/or such increases as specifically directed by the Board of Regents through their annual Salary Guidelines.
- The merit increase percentage amount directed by the Board of Regents is consistently applied to eligible individual Nonexempt employees.
- When an employee’s salary is at, or above, the maximum of salary range, the employee may be eligible for a lump sum merit payment. This amount is not attached to base pay.
- An off cycle merit adjustment is available to those employees hired after January 1 and upon completion of at least six months of employment. Salary adjustments must follow merit pay guidelines of the current fiscal year.
- A retention increase may be approved for a staff employee in a department or unit where the salaries of newly hired individuals, or prior retention increases to others. have created serious compensation disparities among similarly situated employees. If the institution wishes to provide such increase to operationally critical staff members who are part of a collective bargaining unit, the appropriate bargaining unit representative should be notified in advance.
- All proposed retention and equity increases must be approved by the appropriate Vice President. Certain salary requests also may require approval by the President or the USM Chancellor.
- A counter-offer may be considered on an exception basis if a key staff employee, in a position that has been deemed both critical to business needs and difficult to refill, can produce a written employment offer from a hiring agency that is external to University of Maryland College Park.
- All proposed counter-offers must be discussed on a case-by-case with the office of Compensation and Classification before an the offer is made to the employee. A counter-offer should be approved if the original employment offer comes from another University of Maryland College Park department.
- The staff person must have a written offer employment offer from an external employer, or the department head must attest to having reasonable certainty that the staff person is being actively recruited and a preemptive action is necessary in order to avert the employee’s imminent departure. Written evidence, including email or other correspondence from another employer,or search firm for an employer, with a compensation level that is likely to exceed the employee’s current compensation; or other strong evidence that the institution is at imminent risk of losing an operationally critical staff member in the absence of a retention adjustment, may be necessary.
The staff person and/or position must be deemed “operationally critical,” defined as:
- Having specialized and/or unique skills or experience that cannot be replicated without hiring a replacement at a higher salary (i.e., greater than the target hiring range); or
- The vacating of the position would cause significant disruption to the critical operations of the unit, or cause a loss of federal or other external funds, or compromise the institution’s ability to compete for sponsored research grants or contracts; or
- The position has experienced demonstrable retention challenges in recent years.
Process and Approvals
- To request approval for a staff retention increase, the chair or director must complete the Salary Increase Form and route it through the college and on to the Assistant Vice President of University Human Resources. If approved, the Assistant Vice President of UHR will forward the request on to the appropriate Vice President for final approval.
Adjustments to Salary Range Structures
- Salary range structures are reviewed periodically for market competitiveness. As a result of these reviews the ranges may be adjusted. Employees do not receive individual pay increases as a result of salary range adjustments unless their salaries fall below the new range minimum for their respective pay grade.
Temporary Pay Additions
It is expected that an employee will occasionally perform duties above and below his or her grade or classification with increase/decrease in pay.
- With more frequency, and with an anticipated end date, a temporary assignment may be appropriate. A temporary assignment of additional duties or removal of duties is at the discretion of the supervisor and may not result in a change in title or compensation.
- If it is determined that adding or replacing job duties to an employee’s existing position on a temporary basis should be reviewed by the office of Compensation and Classification, an authorized requestor may submit the appropriate request, as outlined below. Job class reviews may be conducted for all temporary assignments/acting appointments that are expected to last more than thirty (30) consecutive calendar days.
- A regular Nonexempt employee who has been placed on temporary assignment/reassignment does not serve a probationary period.
Acting capacity is a temporary status whereby an employee is placed in a higher-level regular position in the same department for a period of up to 6 months, when a vacancy at the higher level exists, and/or when time or circumstances do not permit the immediate selection of a permanent appointment under established selection procedures.
- An acting appointment is used when an employee is appointed to a different position on a temporary basis where there is a vacancy that is anticipated to exceed thirty (30) consecutive calendar days.
- Nonexempt and Exempt regular employees are eligible to serve in an acting capacity (Contingent category II employees may be appointed to a regular position in an acting capacity if unusual or extenuating circumstances exist).
An employee performing in an acting capacity must meet the minimum qualifications of the higher-level position.
- The period of the acting capacity may be extended beyond six months and up to twelve (12) months with the approval of the appropriate Vice President, in conjunction with the Assistant Vice President of University Human Resources.
- At the end of an acting appointment employees may be returned to their former position with the same salary and status as they would have had if they had not been temporarily reassigned.
- All base salary adjustments, such as COLA and merit, are applied to the regular base salary of the employee and do NOT include the acting stipend.
- If the acting appointment results in a temporary title change and salary adjustment, it is consistent with the policy on re-class promotion. For Nonexempt employees, the acting capacity appointment carries a temporary salary increase equivalent to the amount the employee would be entitled to if promoted/reclassified on a permanent basis, this is typically 6%. If the acting appointment is a pay range, that is two (2) or more pay ranges higher than the pay range of the employee’s normal appointment, the employee will receive a twelve (12) % increase or the minimum of the pay range, whichever is higher.
- An Acting appointment requests is submitted via hard copy forms. Detailed instructions and approvals required are found on the form.
- All Exempt and Nonexempt temporary salary additions require a central UHR approval in the PHR system following the standard unit/department approval. Prior to final approval in PHR, the actual request must have pre-approval from the Compensation Unit. This means electronic forms or e-mail messages must be routed through the appropriate approval levels, outside of PHR prior to the transaction receiving a final UHR approval in PHR.
- These types of transactions require approval from the appropriate Vice President or Dean.
- Questions concerning salary additions in the PHR system should be directed to the PHR Service Center at 301-405-7575.
Last updated: January 22, 2018