Memo: 2021 Performance-Based Merit Pay Program

About the UBC Merit Pay Program

The university’s Performance-based Merit Pay program recognizes and rewards meritorious performance. It provides a means of moving employees who have demonstrated above average performance from the midpoint toward the maximum of their salary ranges. The following employee groups are eligible for this program:

  • Management & Professional (AAPS), UBC Vancouver and UBC Okanagan
  • Executive Administrative staff (i.e., excluded clerical), UBC Vancouver and UBC Okanagan
  • Farmworkers, UBC Vancouver
  • Non-union Technicians and Research Assistants, UBC Vancouver

Important Considerations

  • Faculty/department participation in the merit program is a requirement. Consistent commitment to the program helps ensure its integrity, as well as the university’s ability to retain and recruit outstanding staff.
  • Staff members should be evaluated based on their meritorious performance and not other factors such as equity, market pressures, and funding. This focus on performance helps reinforce the program’s purpose – recognition and reinforcement of outstanding performance.  
  • It's important that managers communicate with staff who are eligible for merit increases, whether they are awarded 0%, 3%, or something in between. This is an excellent opportunity to discuss the staff member’s performance and development and is a key element of the Merit Pay program.
  • Staff in job exchange and secondment situations or leave (e.g., maternity leave) during part of the evaluation period are generally eligible for the merit program. HR will review the situation on a case by case basis with faculties and departments to determine eligibility.

Eligibility Criteria

For M&P staff, in accordance with the new language in the AAPS agreement, employees who are at or above the midpoint of their salary grade will receive their first merit pay on their anniversary date (based on the start date in their current position), provided that they are off probation and at or above the midpoint in 2020.  

  • If an employee’s anniversary date falls between January 1 and June 30, they will receive any merit pay retroactive to the anniversary date within the first year of merit assessment. In subsequent years, the employee will be considered eligible for an increase on the standard university merit effective date (typically July 1) of each year. E.g., Employee was off probation and at the midpoint on May 31, 2020. The employee will be assessed for merit eligibility on July 1, 2021. If the employee is deemed eligible, they will receive the 2021 merit retroactive to May 31, 2021. In 2022, the employee will be considered for merit on July 1, 2022.
  • If an employee’s anniversary date falls between July 1 and December 31, any merit payment shall be deferred until the employee reaches their anniversary date within the first year of merit assessment. In subsequent years, the employee will be considered eligible for an increase on the standard university merit effective date (typically July 1) of each year. E.g., Employee was off probation and at the midpoint on August 1, 2020. The employee will be assessed for merit eligibility on August 1, 2021. If the employee is deemed eligible, they will receive the 2021 Merit on August 1, 2021. In 2022, the employee will be considered eligible for merit on July 1, 2022.
  • Employees receiving their merit on July 1 will continue to do so if they are eligible.

For Executive Administrative staff, Farm Workers, and Non-union Technicians and Research Assistants, staff members are eligible for merit increases, effective July 1, 2021, if, as of June 30, 2020:

  • They were at the midpoint of their salary range or above, and
  • They had completed their probationary period.

Staff members currently at the maximum of their salary ranges are not eligible for ongoing salary increases. However, these employees can still be rewarded within the merit scale for meritorious performance through a one-time honorarium payment, extra vacation time, or professional development opportunities.
 
Performance reviews should be conducted for staff members annually and are required to support performance-based Merit Pay decisions. The Workplace Learning & Engagement unit of Human Resources offers a performance evaluation tool that may assist in conducting performance reviews.

Excluded Management and Professional (XMP) staff, Service Unit Directors (SUDs), and Associate Vice Presidents (AVPs) are not included, as their compensation is governed by a separate process.

Funding

Faculties/departments at the Vancouver campus are required to self-fund the implementation of the 2021 Merit Pay program from existing budgets regardless of funding source. At the Okanagan campus, faculties and ancillary units are required to fund the implementation of the 2021 Merit Pay program from existing budgets; however, administrative units within the general purpose operating fund will be funded at an average of 2% of eligible salaries.  

Points to Remember

  • The midpoint of a job range signifies that the staff member is performing fully in the job. Merit is for salary increases above the midpoint, so “meeting the job requirements” is 0% on the merit rating scale. Staff members must demonstrate above average, excellent, or extraordinary (role model) performance (respectively) in order to receive 1%, 2%, or 3% merit increases:
    • 0% - meets job requirements
    • Up to 1% - demonstrates above average performance
    • Over 1% and up to 2% - demonstrates excellent performance
    • Over 2% and up to 3% - demonstrates extraordinary performance (role model)

Additional information can be found on the Staff salary administration page.

  • The departmental merit spreadsheet, once completed, should be returned to Dina Wang (dina.wang@ubc.ca) no later than October 15, 2021
  • In some cases, staff members have dual departmental reporting relationships. While this complicates the performance evaluation, consultation across the departments is important to ensure a common understanding of performance criteria and that a consistent framework is used to evaluate performance.
  • It is most common to award merit increases through an increase to staff members’ base salary. However, another option is to offer an alternative, such as a one-time bonus, extra vacation, or professional development. If you are providing a one-time bonus, you can process it in Workday via One-Time Payment with the Reason “One-Time Payment>Staff Honorarium – Merit,” after completing and returning the spreadsheet to Human Resources.
  • It is good practice to keep your staff notified. The Integrated Service Centre (ISC) and Payroll are often contacted directly with inquiries about merit increases when Administrators are a better source of information about merit results and the reasons for them.

Instructions and Attachments

The spreadsheet(s) of staff members in your faculty/department who are eligible for the 2021 Merit Pay program will be distributed to faculty/department contacts through OneDrive. A number of factors may result in a staff member being excluded from your department spreadsheet. For any inquiries around eligibility or difficulties accessing the spreadsheets, please contact Dina Wang (604-822-9026 or dina.wang@ubc.ca).

Please visit the Merit web page for information and resources, including instructions for completing your department spreadsheet and FAQs.

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