July 2022

Merit-based Salary Program

While I’ve shared most of this information in library-wide discussions such as the “hangouts,” I wanted to put the information in writing to bring the various pieces of the 2022 budget and salary program together in one place. 

Each year, the University strives to implement a salary program and, in all but the most austere years, the Library’s salary program is centrally-funded by the Provost. Although the salary increases for our union employees are guided by negotiated agreements, the University requires our salary program for other employees to be merit-based, recognizing performance. 

Two things were notable about last year’s program. First, for the first time in my tenure at the University, we were required to fund the salary program with Library funds. While we were pleased to be able to support a salary program, doing so required us to reallocate funds from hiring priorities, resulting in an effective budget reduction. Second, we tried something new for our merit-based program—a two-part approach that provided all employees in the salary program the same percentage increase (e.g., 1%) along with tiered dollar increases (e.g., $250, $500, $750, etc.) to reflect merit. This approach ensured that we complied with campus requirements for a merit-based salary program, and with the result that those with lower salaries saw a greater percentage increase to their compensation. This approach was well-received across all salary ranges. For example, we received feedback from employees with higher compensation expressing gratitude for the empathy and support given to employees with lower salaries.  

This year, the University System Office announced a 3.5% salary program, and UIUC fully funded the Library for the program. I am extremely grateful for the University’s support. In preparation for this year’s program, we reviewed last year’s approach with the Executive Committee (EC), the Library Committee of Academic and Civil Service Professionals (LCP), and the Library Staff Support Committee (LSSC), and there was broad support for mounting a similar program. As was the case last year, the two-part methodology explained a moment ago ensures that employees are recognized for performance; moreover, those at lower salary levels, who are feeling the impact of inflation more right now, are benefited proportionally more. This year, all employees in the salary program will receive a 1.5% increase, along with flat dollar amounts (e.g., $1,000, $1,250, $1,500, etc.) added to their base salary to reflect merit. 

The Provost has also provided the Library with limited CMER funds. This modest addition to our budget will allow us to target a small percentage of our faculty and AP salaries that need adjustment due to Compression, Market, Equity, and Retention issues.

I want to express my appreciation to Susan Breakenridge and our BHRSC colleagues, who moved swiftly and effectively to take performance review information and the parameters we discussed to implement our FY23 program. They have a few loose ends to wrap up, and I anticipate receiving final approval from the Provost’s Office for our program by late summer. Employees will be notified soon thereafter.

In closing, I want to take a moment to thank all of you for your contributions to help our extraordinary library excel through the pandemic and in its aftermath. The effects of COVID-19 posed a great challenge, and you all responded with creativity and energy, and in ways that helped the Library and the University excel. 

John Wilkin
The Juanita J. and Robert E. Simpson Dean of Libraries and University Librarian