The University of Memphis



Issued: July 24, 2014
Responsible Official: Vice President for Business & Finance
Responsible Office: Human Resources

Policy Statement

Policy Statement

The University of Memphis administers compensation in accordance with federal laws, state laws and regulations, and Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) policies and guidelines.  Compensation practices are also subject to limitations imposed by TBR or the General Assembly.  The university does not discriminate in the area of compensation on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability status, or veteran status.

It is the university's intent to pay salaries and wages that are equitable and, to the extent that funding permits, competitive with the applicable labor markets.



The purpose of this policy is to provide information and administrative guidance regarding the university's compensation plans and practices.




Pay Grade

The number assignment that designates a pay range within the salary structure.

Pay RangeThe range of pay rates, from minimum to maximum, established for a pay grade or class. Typically used to set individual employee pay rates. 

Internal Equity

The relative worth of each job when comparing the required level of job competencies, formal training and experience, responsibility and accountability of one job to another.

External Equity

The relative marketplace job worth directly comparable to similar jobs in like institutions, factored for general economic variances and adjusted to reflect the local economic marketplace.


A job change where an employee applies for and is selected for a job where the new job has at least one higher pay grade than the old job.

DemotionA job change from one job to another where the new job has at least one lower pay grade than the old job. 

Lateral Transfer

A job change from one job to another where the new job has the same pay grade as the old job.

Standard Hiring Range

The standard hiring range of each pay grade will be from the minimum salary to the control point in the salary range for the assigned grade.

Control Point

An amount that represents the top of the standard hiring range and is 95% of market value.


General Compensation


Applicable TBR and university policies and procedures that govern specific actions relating to compensation will be followed.  Interpretation for specific compensation aspects affecting different categories of employees may be obtained from the offices listed below:

  • Administrative/Professional and Clerical/Support Staff - Department of Human Resources
  • Faculty - Academic Affairs
  • Students - Student Financial Aid Office
  • Graduate Assistants - Graduate School Office

Employees not covered by the University of Memphis pay plan include:

  • Faculty
  • High-level Administrators
  • Key support to the President
  • Key support to the Provost and Vice Presidents
  • Academic positions with primary duties academic in nature
  • Students / Graduate Assistants
  • Temporary Instructors
  • Temporary employees

General Information

Hiring departments are responsible for setting up positions and ensuring that adequate funding exists before employees are hired.  Contact Financial Planning or Grants and Contracts Accounting.

Each regular University employee will be advised of any adjusted salary rate soon after receipt of the approved annual budget from State officials.

There are six basic categories of University employees:  faculty, executive/administrative/professional, clerical/support, graduate assistants, students and temporary.  See General Personnel Policy for definitions.

The categories of non-student employees and student employees are mutually exclusive.  That is, persons classified as full-time students will normally be employed only as Student Assistants or as Graduate Assistants.

Annually, eight days are designated as holidays and five days are designated as paid administrative closing days

Special Rules

Fiscal Year Appointments

  • A partial month's compensation upon initial employment, termination, and leave without pay will be based on the ratio of the number of paid days in the month compared to the number of days the employee worked or was to be paid.
  • Lump-sum payment of accrued annual leave will always be calculated on the basis of 1950 hours per year.  The calculation begins with the day following the employee's last physical day at work.
  • If an hourly rate is needed for comparison to hourly employee rates, (e.g., comparison to salaries reported in a survey, etc.), the calculation will be based on the annual salary divided by 1950.

The Vice President for Business and Finance may approve exceptions to the above in instances when an exception or alternate calculation would, in his or her judgment, be more equitable.

Use of Titles

To ensure uniformity, consistency, and meaning to titles, the Human Resource Compensation Department will use the following guidelines when recommending titles for position descriptions:

Director - Has primary responsibility for a major University operational function.

Associate/Assistant - Has primary responsibility for a significant function, a significant section of a major function, or is the second in charge of a function.

Manager - Has primary responsibility for a significant section of a major function.


Salary Increase Approvals

Approvals for Salary Increases

Most salary increases are subject to approval by the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR):  When an employee receives a salary increase, he or she must be informed that the increase is subject to review and approval by TBR administration.  Salary increases are not considered final until approved by TBR.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) uses numbers to define "Occupational Classifications."  TBR policy uses the EEOC classification system to identify jobs that require Chancellor approval for reclassification increases.  Categories are defined as follows:  Category 1-Executive/Admin and Managerial; Category 2-Faculty; Category 3-Other Professionals; Category 4-Clerical and Secretarial; Category 5-Technical and Paraprofessional; Category 6-Skilled Crafts; and Category 7-Service/Maintenance. (Other classifications are:  Category 8-Instruction/Research Assistant; Category 9-Other; and Category A0-Other Administrative.)

The following reportable pay increases will require TBR's approval:

  • All equity adjustments, merit adjustments, special adjustments, critical adjustments and market adjustments.
  • All reclassifications and degree certification adjustments for EEO categories 4-7 more than $3,500 - job audits from the HR office are required for these reclassifications.
  • All reclassifications and degree certification adjustments for EEO categories 1-3 more than $4,500 and an annual salary of $100,000 or above.
  • All increases, regardless of amount, for exempt employees whose resulting base salary is $100,000 or above.
  • All faculty promotions and counteroffers, regardless of amount.

The following non-reportable pay increases will not require TBR's approval:

  • All reclassifications and academic degree certification adjustments for EEO categories 4-7 less than $3,500.
  • All reclassifications and academic degree certification adjustments for EEO categories 1-3 less than $4,500 and an annual salary of less than $100,000.

Staff Compensation (Administrative/Professional and Clerical Support)


Positions covered by the staff pay plans include regular administrativeprofessional positions and clerical / supporting positions, both full-time and part-time.  Other types of pay for Staff employees are also included in this policy.

Each job title is assigned a pay grade with a pay range from minimum pay to maximum pay.  A job description is written for regular positions.  The staff compensation plans are market-linked, and market data is reviewed on a regular basis.

Establishing Pay Rates for New Hires

New Hire Rate of Pay - Normally, the starting salary for new hires and transfers for current employees will be within the Standard Hiring Range established for the position.  Internal equity with existing employees' salaries, level of education and experience and other factors should be considered in determining offers within the hiring range.  The President must approve exceptions to the Standard Hiring Range.

Exceptions to the Standard Hiring Range - Some positions may be extremely difficult to recruit due to current labor market conditions.  Occasionally, an extremely well-qualified candidate will command a hiring rate higher than control point.  In these cases, the Department of Human Resources, in conjunction with the hiring department, will determine a reasonable hiring rate that is subject to final approval by the President.

Funding - The hiring department must provide the necessary funds—both current year and base budget—for any increased budget requirement.

Temporary employees should be paid an amount commensurate with the duties of the job.  The appointment of a temporary employee may not exceed one (1) year.

Interim (Temporary) Assignment to Higher Position

An employee assigned on a temporary or interim basis to perform in a vacant higher graded position; assigned to a position which is out of the pay plan; or assigned to perform higher level responsibilities may be eligible to receive additional pay over and above the base rate.  Additional pay is limited to a maximum of ten (10) per cent of the interim appointee's current pay rate, unless an exception is approved by AVP Human Resources and Vice President for Business and Finance. 

  1. To be eligible, the employee must be officially assigned to perform higher level duties demonstrated by written documentation of the assignment approved by the appropriate Vice President or the Provost and forwarded to the Human Resources Compensation office.
  2. The assignment must be expected to last longer than three (3) consecutive calendar months for administrative/professional positions and longer than six (6) consecutive weeks for clerical/support positions.
  3. An employee will not remain in an interim position longer than twelve (12) months without approval of an exception by the President for administrative/professional positions or the Assistant Vice President of Human Resources for clerical/support positions.

Staff Positions



Staff Positions, Job Descriptions, Pay Grades, and Job Titles

No position in the pay plans will be advertised or filled prior to the development of a job description, an evaluation of the job, the establishment of a pay grade and the creation of a budgeted position.  

To ensure uniformity, consistency, meaning, and equity when establishing job titles, positions, job descriptions and pay grades, the Compensation Analyst will refer to the following Department of Human Resources' guidelines: 

  • The Compensation Analyst will fully understand the duties of the position in order to determine the appropriate title and pay grade.
  • The analyst will review other similar or related positions on campus to see if an existing title is appropriate. For example, a position might be classified as an Office Associate, since it performs duties similar to the duties in the general job description.
  • If no existing title is appropriate, a new title will be established.
  • The analyst may determine that a relationship exists between this position and another position on campus and that the other position is either higher or lower than the position being considered. The difference between the two positions is determined, an equity analysis is performed, and a pay grade is assigned.
  • If the position performs duties that are common among other employers, salary survey information may be available. The analyst searches through published surveys to see if a match can be made. 

Actions to create, fill or reclassify a position are initiated via the internal workForum channel in the myMemphis portal.  Select the appropriate action in workForum.

Human Resources will place all positions to be filled, except temporary group positions, in workForum.


Professional Certifications

Certified Professional Secretary or Certified Administrative Professional Certification

An employee who works in a clerical support non-exempt position who passes all parts of the (CPS) Certified Professional Secretary Examination or (CAP) Certified Administrative Professional Examination shall be granted a nine percent (9%) increase in salary according to Tennessee state law.  Exempt employees are not eligible for the increase.  An individual cannot receive more than one such salary increase from the University.  The pay increase will become effective with the next pay period beginning after the employee's passing grades on all parts of the examination are certified by the International Association of Administrative Professionals.  The certification date is located in the upper left-hand corner of the Candidate Performance Report generated by the IAAP.  (It is not the date that the test is administered or the date that the report from IAAP is received.)  It is the employee's responsibility to provide the appropriate verification to Human Resources.  Documentation of successful examination results should be submitted to the Human Resource Compensation Department upon receipt.  Employees may contact the Human Resource Workforce Management Office with questions regarding eligibility for the increase. 

Professional Certifications/Licenses

Upon the receipt of a nationally recognized professional certification or a state license to practice in their field, administrative/ professional and clerical/supporting employees may be eligible for an increase of five percent (5%) of their salary in effect at the time of certification or licensure. This increase is contingent upon Tennessee Board of Regents regulations and an individual cannot receive more than one such salary increase from the University.

  • The certification must come from a nationally recognized professional organization generally acknowledged by professionals in the field as the primary professional organization for that field. After January 1, 1995, a license from the state of Tennessee also qualified under this guideline.
  • The employee must receive the actual certification or license while in the employ of the University.
  • Appropriate documentation from the licensing/certifying body must be presented for inclusion in the employee's personnel file.
  • The certificate or license must apply directly to the duties and responsibilities of the position currently held by the employee and must indicate a significantly increased capability for discharging these duties and responsibilities.
  • Certification/licensure must include the passing of a comprehensive test demonstrating knowledge of the particular field.
  • The department or activity head must recommend the additional compensation.

To make a recommendation for a salary increase under this guideline, the administrative head of the department should make the request by memo, and obtain the provost/vice president's signature.  Appropriately signed memos should be sent to the Department of Human Resources' Compensation Office for review and implementation. The increase will be effective on the date the certificate is issued if the documentation is provided within the same fiscal year the certificate is earned.  Pay increases may be limited and/or suspended due to budget constraints.  An individual cannot receive more than one such salary increase from the University.



Requests for Exceptions

Requests for exceptions to any of these guidelines must be in writing and should contain suitable justification for the exception.  Such requests should originate with the hiring department and contain space for the Department of Human Resources' comments prior to the review by the appropriate Provost/Vice President and the President's review for final approval/disapproval.

Policy Exceptions

Please note that any compensation pay increase, incentive, and/or reward may be limited or suspended due to Budget constraints.

Faculty CompensationFor information regarding Faculty compensation contact the Office of the Provost website. 

Student / Graduate Assistants Compensation

For information regarding compensation for student employment contact the Student Employment website.  For information regarding compensation for Graduate Assistants contact the Vice Provost for Graduate Programs.

Other Compensation Topics

Employee Recognition Program:

Staff employees are eligible for nomination in the quarterly Outstanding Employee category and the annual Distinguished Employee category.  Each winner receives a monetary award and a plaque.  Contact the Employee Relations Office for more details.

Extra Compensation:

See policy UM1490, Extra Compensation and Outside Employment, for details.

Staff Degree Incentive Program:

See policy UM1586, Staff Degree Incentive Program, for details.



Extra Compensation and Outside Employment Policy   

General Personnel Policy  

Graduate Student Employment

Office of the Provost

Student Employment

Summer School Compensation Policy  

Tennessee Board of Regents

Revision Dates

  UM1515 Rev.3 -- updated July 24, 2014
UM1515 Rev.2 -- updated August 19, 2010
UM1515 Rev.1 -- updated December 18, 2009
UM1515 - Issued: December 7, 2006 - supercedes policy number 2D:05:12C

Subject Areas:

AcademicFinanceGeneralHuman ResourcesInformation TechnologyResearchStudent Affairs